- Personal Finance
How to plan for a vacation on a budget!
How do you plan for a vacation, when your already budgeting your life?
Believe it or not it's possible!
- First, plan your trip a year in advance. Use sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Trip advisor, etc.. Pick the place to go, figure out if your going to drive or fly. Find a hotel and get an estimated budget. If your going to fly you can check out the cost of plane tickets for your time of travel. Make sure to add in the cost of baggage. If your going drive use sites like MapQuest. Type in your destination, and you can get an est. fuel cost of your trip, by typing in your MPG. Make sure you calculate round trip. If you plan on driving, be sure to calculate any hotel your going to have to stop at to rest, along the way. If you are traveling with kids for more than 10 hours. Plan to stop at a hotel to rest. And calculate in food cost while your road tripping. Are you going to be stopping and eating. I like to pack a cooler full of sandwiches and snacks. Then if we stop somewhere to sleep, we usually pick up something from a restaurant by the hotel. Be prepared, plane tickets, hotel rooms, and gas prices change. So, make sure you keep regularly checking back on those website, to keep your budget current. Until you are able to reserve the room and purchase any tickets.
- Then decide how are you going to get around at the place you are staying. Cabs, Buses, Your own car, a rental car. Add in these prices. If you plan to use your own car, or a rental car make sure to budget in extra gas money. We like to road trip places. Then we have our own car and don't have to worry about cab or bus fair.
- How do you plan to eat? We like to get hotel rooms with a kitchen. We do eat out a couple nights. But for the most part if you have a kitchen you can cook most of the meals yourself. It's not only healthier it can save you hundreds. If you are staying at a hotel that does not have a kitchen, make sure it has a fridge. Pack a cooler. Bring your own drinks and food. You can have yogurt, fruit or cereal for breakfast. Or stay at a place with a free hot breakfast. Bring peanut butter and jelly, lunch meat, bread, fruit, crackers, for lunches. If you are going some place warm. Nothing is more awesome then a picnic at the beach. If you have breakfast and lunch at the hotel, you can plan to eat out. That way you only have to pay for one meal a day instead of 3. Figure out what restaurants your going to eat at, and find coupons online. Or buy gift cards ahead of time and stick to the limit on the gift card. Better yet, if your traveling with children find a restaurant where kids eat free. Also, don't overestimate a crock pot. Have all the ingredients prepared and ready to go in cooler. When you get there, just put the food in the crock pot, go about your vacation and it will be ready in time for dinner. Another great thing to look for, is when a hotel has grills on site. You can pack whatever you want to grill for dinner.
- If you invite another family member with you, you can split the cost. Travel in one big van together, and you can split the gas money. Rent a Suite that has more than one bedroom, instead of a hotel room.
- Plan where you are going to go before hand. Do your research and find coupons. Some tickets are actually cheaper if you buy it ahead of time online. Or some places are cheaper if you visit on a week day rather than a weekend.
- Save money on extra spending, and only bring cash. Set a budget for each day, and stick to it. Save on souvenirs by either not buying them at all or only buying a few. Take a ton of pictures. Collect things found in nature that you can take home for free for souvenirs. Like seashells, or rocks. (Just make sure there isn't a sign telling you not to take them)
- Find free attractions. I love to spend days at the beach, hiking, or site seeing. Which is usually free. Another great place to visit is Washington D.C. most of the monuments are free.
If you make sure to plan ahead, you will find it's easy to budget your vacation. You can have a ton of fun, no matter where you go, how much money you spend. As long as you are with the ones you love.