Savvy Secrets to Planning a Summer Vacay on a Budget
Budget-Friendly Escapes: Savvy Secrets to Planning a Summer Vacay
Break out the swimsuits and sunblock, and pack your bags! It’s time to hit the road for your summer vacation. Before heading out, it's important to consider your vacation budget. Running out of money during your vacation can be frustrating, so planning is essential.
So, how much might your summer holiday cost in today’s economy? According to a recent survey, 49% of Americans plan to travel more this year despite the rising costs of goods and services. Nearly half of those surveyed expect to spend at least $4,000, while fewer than a third plan to spend at least $2,000.
But here’s where it can get a bit complicated. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed plan to pay for their vacation with a credit card. This method might backfire if you fail to pay your bills on time and incur late payment penalties. There are better ways to fund your summer vacation, and it starts with a budget. We've outlined some strategies for you to use when planning your summer vacation!
Set a Realistic Budget
A vacation budget is like your regular budget but on a smaller scale. You don’t need to account for every dollar, but you should have a good idea of how much you plan on spending on the basics, like:
- Activities and entertainment
Calculate your summer vacation budget and divide your funds across these five categories listed above; you’ll have all the basics covered.
No matter what you expect to spend on your vacation, it's a good idea to plan for higher expenses. This way, you'll be prepared for the unexpected during your trip, such as car troubles, lost luggage, or someone getting sick.
Research Off Peak Travel Dates
This year, peak travel runs mid to late June through July, so consider an August or September vacation. Book your flights and accommodations early, and always watch for the best deals.
Book Flights and Accommodations in Advance
Booking flights and accommodations in advance might sound like a no-brainer, but there is an art to it. Doing your homework before you pay is best to ensure you get the best deals possible. Consider working with a local travel agent who might have access to even better deals than you find online.
Use Rewards Points and Miles
If you’ve been saving points, miles, or other perks from your credit card use for a rainy day, your summer vacation is the time to spend them. In fact, those credit card rewards can boost your vacation by keeping more cash in your wallet for something else later.
Travel with ease when using your Extraco Banks debit card
Online banking services let you manage your money anytime from anywhere you have internet access. Notify us that you'll be traveling by simply inputting your travel dates, destination and a good contact number.Learn More
Look for Ways to Save on Meals
Restaurants are the usual go-to, and enjoying the local restaurants is fun. However, you can save more by limiting your restaurant experiences.
Here are a few ideas we came up with to inspire you.:
- Try a picnic in a local park or at the beach
- Consider local food vendors, like farmer's markets and food trucks
- Research ahead of time for food fairs or expos
- Cook or prepare meals in your hotel room
- Bring your own meal preps
Include Cost-Effective Activities
You can do many cost-effective activities on nearly any summer vacation, like:
- Local parks and beaches
- Historical landmarks & cultural sites
- Museum, aquarium, zoo, or art gallery
- Nature hike or walking tour
- Free local festivals, concerts, or events
The Final Word
As you embark on your summer vacation, don’t forget to plan for all the big and small expenses. Remember, by setting a realistic travel budget, you’ll have a solid foundation and a worry-free vacay. To stretch your dollars further, consider traveling during off-peak dates. Off-peak travel saves time and money, as will using any credit card rewards you have saved. Get creative for your meals. Dining out can take the task of meal planning off you, but it can also cost you a small fortune over your stay. Finally, make the most of the cost-effective activities available near your destination. You’ll gain an experience-rich holiday without breaking the bank by finding free or low-cost things to do.