Staying Within Your $5000 Vacation Budget

Vacation spending has a way of getting out of control quickly. Setting up a budget and sticking to it is probably the best way to ensure that your vacation spending doesn’t haunt you for the months that follow your trip.

There are several components to your vacation budget you should always take into account, such as transportation, lodging, food, and entertainment. Be sure to include other costs that are unique to your situation as well.

Create A Vacation Budget That Works For You

1. Transportation. Transportation costs include airfare, car rental, gas, and parking. Most of these items are pretty easy to plan for. This tends to be the easiest part of the budget to plan for and stick to. Simply add up all the known costs and then plan accordingly for the likely gas and parking expenses.

2. Food. You’ll probably do a pretty good job of sticking to your transportation budget, but food can quickly get out of hand. For example, you might plan on eating a bologna sandwich in your hotel room for lunch every day. But if you’re having a good time at the beach or amusement park, you’re probably just going to grab something there.

* Even though the amusement park, zoo, and other tourist attractions are expensive places to eat, consider where you’re really most likely to eat and plan your budget accordingly.

3. Entertainment. If you’re going to spend all your time at one location, like an amusement park, this category can also be easy to plan for. However, if you’re just heading to Miami, for instance, to wing it, entertainment costs can really mount up if they don’t figure into your budget.

* Be realistic about how you and your family plan to spend your time. Then, you can get an idea of what you’re likely to spend. You don’t have to actually follow your plan, but budgeting for the activities you enjoy will help even if you change your plans.

4. Shopping. Consider the costs of t-shirts, knick-knacks, and anything else you’re likely to buy and include an estimate in your budget.

Sticking to Your Vocation Budget

Try these techniques to stay within your budget while you’re on your trip:

* Keep all your receipts throughout the day and keep a rough running total in your mind. Having even a rough idea of what you’re spending will help you from straying too far.

* At the end of each day, check your spending against your budget. Total all your receipts each night and see how you’re doing in each of the categories. If you do this simple measurement each night, you dramatically increase the odds that you’ll stick to your budget.

* If you’re overspending, you’ll know that you need to tighten things up a bit. Maybe lunch will have to be at McDonald’s today. Or maybe a day of sightseeing instead of going to a baseball game is in order.

* By the same token, if you’re consistently under-spending relative to your plan, maybe you would enjoy a fancy dinner or more expensive entertainment on occasion.

A vacation budget of $5,000 may seem like a lot, but as anyone knows, spending money is easy. What seems like plenty of money can run out quickly without some planning and restraint. By making a budget and sticking to it, you’ll find your vacation is a lot more enjoyable. You’ll also find that the months after the vacation are a lot more enjoyable, too.

More Bang For Your Buck – Stretch Your Vacation Dollars

What if you could stretch your $5,000 budget into a $10,000 vacation? Imagine how much more you could do and enjoy: a nicer hotel, better food, or maybe you would change your plans all together. It can be done. With some research and planning, taking a nicer vacation than you think you can afford is well within your reach.

Try these ideas to turn your vacation funds into more fun:

1. Airline Tickets. You can save a lot of money on airline tickets if you’re flexible with your travel dates. A day or two earlier or later can make a huge difference in the cost. Tuesdays – Thursdays are usually the cheapest days to travel by air.

* Consider alternate airports, too. Sometimes, flying into a different airport can save hundreds of dollars if you have to purchase several airline tickets. Larger cities typically have multiple airports.

2. Hotels. If you’re going to a popular destination, you’re likely to find hotels that offer coupons or even free tickets to popular attractions.

* Search online for the lowest price hotel room that meets your needs. Also consider joining a hotel points program.

* You can save a lot of money on food by getting a hotel room with kitchen facilities. Food is usually a major expense when traveling. A kitchenette can save a ton of money, especially if you have kids and are staying for a week or more.

3. Consider a cruise. Cruises offer spectacular food and a lot of entertainment for a relatively small amount of money. There’s always the option to sign up for off-ship excursions, which aren’t free, but usually aren’t too expensive either.

* You’ll need to include the cost to get to the ship from your house and back again, but cruises can offer a tremendous value for the money.

4. Go in the off-season. Most travel locations have a peak and off-season. This is usually dependent on weather and when travelers are most available to travel there. By going in the off-season, there is much less demand and prices will be lower. This is true for air-travel, car rental, lodging, and most entertainment.

* You also have the benefit of fewer crowds to deal with.

5. Group travel. Traveling with a group can really cut down on expenses. Larger groups can get better rates on everything, from transportation to lodging, food, and entertainment.

6. Condos. Renting a condo for a week can be much less expensive than staying in a hotel. You’ll also have the benefit of kitchen facilities. Condos can be very cost effective if you’re traveling with several people. A basic hotel room fills up quickly if you have several people.

* Again, the off-season is when you’re going to find the best deals.

7. Pack carry-on luggage only. With nearly every airline charging for bags now, if you can limit yourself to carry on items, it’s an easy way to save a lot of money.

8. All-inclusive. All-inclusive resorts can be a great way to cut your expenses. As long as you stay at the location, all your food and entertainment are already paid for.

* Though they might seem expensive on the surface, if you really add up all the costs you’re likely to incur with other type of vacations, all-inclusive resorts can make a lot of sense.

Stretching your vacation dollars is easy if you do your homework. Consider that your major expenses are likely to be transportation, food, and lodging. If you can do something to minimize each of those, you’ll be well on your way to dramatically reducing your vacation expenses.

5 Budget-Friendly Vacation Destinations

Nothing refreshes the body and mind like a vacation. Whether you travel alone, with family or extended family and close friends, it’s good to get away from the daily routine!

According to the American Society of Travel Agents, the 5 most budget-friendly travel destinations are:
* Las Vegas, Nevada
* Orlando, Florida
* Branson, Missouri
* New Orleans, Louisiana
* Los Angeles, California.

Here’s why these locales are so budget-friendly

1. Las Vegas, Nevada. In Las Vegas, you can get away, explore tourist attractions and stay in one of the many awesome hotel resorts, all for very decent prices.

* Because of the vast number of hotel rooms, nearly 150,000, says the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, many package deals to Vegas are available. A common travel package to Las Vegas includes flights, hotel, food credits, and a discount on show tickets.

* Vegas casinos will clamor for your business. However, if you want your vacation to Las Vegas to be truly budget-friendly, avoiding the casinos may be wise. Alternatively, you can budget a certain amount of money to enjoy the experience of the casinos, and when you hit that limit, stop gambling.

* With the many shows, amusement parks and great places to eat, there are plenty of non-gambling activities to do in Vegas as well.

2. Orlando, Florida. Because of Disney World, Epcot, Universal Studios, Sea World, and more, there’s no end to the package deals you’ll find for Orlando, Florida. Families converge in groups each year to this sunny Florida vacation mecca.

* Depending on the time of year you go, you’ll snag some incredible “freebie” days at Disney and Universal Studios. Since July and August are in the middle of hurricane season, not to mention the hottest months of the year in Florida, you may prefer to avoid Orlando during those months.

* However, if you’re seeking a great travel deal to Orlando, you’ll find it in July and August.

3. Branson, Missouri. Second to Nashville, Tennessee, as the country music capital of the world, Branson offers a stay at a fine hotel, delicious meals, and entertaining shows at some astonishingly low prices.

* Here’s an example for a family of 4: two nights hotel, 4 free admissions to a water park, 4 free show tickets to a Country Music Hall, 2 free large pizzas, and a $10 card to a local play spot, all for $298.60 for those vacationing in June, July or August.

* Another real advantage to a Branson vacation is that the location is easily accessible from several U.S. states. You can take a car trip to get there in a day or so. A destination you might not have considered, Branson offers numerous budget-friendly opportunities.

4. New Orleans, Louisiana. What’s not to like about a visit to New Orleans? Steeped in history and some of the most charming old Southern homes you’ll ever lay eyes on, this city of jazz and art is an experience in and of itself. If you haven’t been to New Orleans and you like to save money, you’ll definitely want to place this destination on your travel wish list.

* Beignets and chicory coffee can be had for a song at CafŽ du Monde. A walk around Jackson Square when the artistes are displaying their wares is free!

* For another real New Orleans experience, take a stroll down Bourbon Street after dark and just listen to the music wafting out to the streets. No charge. Of course, you’ll be drawn in to one of the no-cover-charge lounges to enjoy the entertainment.

5. Los Angeles, California. This destination surprises as one of the top five U.S. budget-friendly travel locations. With museums, Venice Beach, Chinatown, and all things Hollywood, consider a budget-friendly trip to LA. Allow time to enjoy the free sightseeing and inexpensive (but good) street food.

* Exploring Universal City Walk or the Hollywood Walk of Fame won’t cost a dime, except for food and drink. Include in your budget what you’d like to spend on shopping and entertainment at these locations so you don’t get carried away and overspend.

Whatever your pleasure, you can afford to travel to one of these budget-friendly vacation destinations. With careful pre-planning coupled with a great package deal, you’re sure to live it up during your cost-saving vacation to one of these top 5 budget-friendly vacation destinations.