Vacationing on a Budget

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As inflation continues in 2023, is it possible to vacation on a budget? Here are a few ways you can determine whether your finances can support a vacation, with tips to keep the costs down.

Look at your monthly budget

Take note of your current monthly budget and ask yourself if you can afford to go on vacation at the moment. If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck with heavy debt, your finances might not be ready to support a vacation. If you have the ability to put money aside every month to save toward an upcoming vacation plan, that is a good sign for moving forward with your plans.

Research where you want to go

How much would this vacation cost? Look into the destination you would like to travel to and make an itinerary, so you know the costs beforehand. Flights, hotels, rental cars, gas, shuttles, rideshares, meals, attractions, and souvenirs are all things to take into consideration when planning your trip, adding up these costs will give you a rough estimate of what you may be spending for your trip. Allow some room for extra expenses, or plan for a higher price point than what you are able to calculate.

Assess your vacation savings plan

After calculating the vacation costs, how much do you need to save per month to make it happen? Can you afford this vacation altogether?

Calculate how much money you would need to take out from each paycheck to put into your vacation savings plan if the trip is coming within the next few months. If your vacation is coming up within a few weeks, try to work with what you may have saved to spend on the vacation. Try to limit financial surprises by keeping a plan, and make sure that you don’t use emergency funds you may have saved up to pay for your vacation.

Tips to cut vacationing costs:

Set rules you will follow while on vacation. For example: set a budget dollar amount on souvenirs, activities, or things that may add up quickly. Keep track of your budget throughout your whole trip to ensure you’re sticking to it. Below are a few additional tips to keep your costs low:

  • Travel with a group where costs are split evenly
  • Make and take your own food when you are able to
  • Find discount rates at your destined location through Groupon, Expedia, Kayak
  • Don’t buy souvenirs unless you will utilize them
  • Avoid the hotel mini-bar and snacks – buy your own at local stores or the dollar store

Be honest with your finances and focus on your needs and wants, where your needs may be essential expenses and your wants as extra expenses, also known as the 50/30/20 rule. Make it a mental priority to financially plan and prepare for your vacation while keeping an eye on your bottom-line budget.

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