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.