Summer is just around the corner and if you’re like many Americans, you are planning a vacation. Getaways give you a chance to step away from your job and spend some much needed time with your family.
However, according to a survey conducted by Alamo Rent a Car, over 45% of Americans taking a vacation worry about overspending, which will lead to stress.
So how do you avoid the stress? Create a budget for your vacation and stick to it.
Here’s 5 things you should know to create a budget for your vacation.
1. Plan Early
Deciding where you are going for your vacation is the obvious first step. Make sure you are reasonable. Everyone would love to take their dream vacation, but if you can’t afford it, find a more economical trip.
Once you decide, conduct research to see how much a flight will cost your family. Tools such as Google Flights and Travelocity can help you find the cheapest rate. if you are driving, use My Trip Calculator to see an approximate amount of gas you will need.
2. Avoid eating out as much as possible
This one is hard, after all a vacation is supposed to be relaxing, the last thing you want to do is cook and clean up after a meal. However, doing so can save you a big chunk of money. Start by finding a hotel that offers a free hot breakfast. The average cost to eat breakfast is $5 per person, so if you have a family of four, this would save you $100 on a five day vacation.
Lastly, if your lodging has a kitchen, use it to cook a meal or two instead of going out to eat. With the average sit down meal costing more than $12 per person, this could save you more than $50 a meal if you are a family of four.
3. Find budget friendly activities
Most likely, there will be several expensive activities you will want to participate in during your vacation. However, you should also find some budget friendly activities such as visiting a local museum. You can find cheaper or free activities just by using Google. So choose a few activities that are worth the “splurge” and several budget friendly ideas as well.
4. Create a budget
Use the previous two steps to determine exactly how much you will need for your vacation. Remember, there’s a good chance you will run into some unexpected costs at some point, so it’s also good to save an additional 10%.
Try to account for every expense. If you are flying, calculate airport parking fees and a rent-a-car. If you’re driving, determine how much you will spend on snacks along the way, or better yet, buy your snacks in advance at a grocery store. Don’t forget other expenditures such as souvenirs.
5. Start saving early
Ideally, you should start saving for next year’s vacation this year. This will allow plenty of time to put money back for your vacation without hurting your monthly budget. Make sure you open a special savings account at Communication Federal Credit Union that is solely for your vacation fund. This will keep you from being tempted to use the savings for something else.
To make things even easier, you can set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your vacation savings account each month.
Vacations should be a time that you can enjoy with your family without stressing over money. The key is to create a budget and save for the vacation in advance. Using credit cards will only ensure the vacation costs you more money than it should, which might keep you from taking more vacations in the future.
How do you save money on vacation? Let us know in the comments below.