Vacation planning: Steps to make sure you’ve got a budget and a plan for this year’s vacation
Summer has finally arrived, and if you haven’t done so yet, it’s time to think about how to spend your 2022 summer vacation. The good news is that many governments and businesses have lifted pandemic restrictions. However, in their wake, we’re now facing higher prices at the pump, the stores, and everywhere else. Yet, with a few simple tips, you can still plan an enjoyable vacation while sticking to a budget.
Determine Your Priorities
Before you begin planning your vacation, consider what your priorities are.
- What experiences do you want to have?
- Where do you want to go?
- What do you want to see?
- When do you want to travel?
- What is most vital for you to gain from your vacation?
Once you establish your priorities, decide on your budget for travel, lodging, dining, activities, and souvenirs.
Establish Your Budget
Every trip requires a proper budget. Start by examining your finances to determine how much you can reasonably spend. Calculate all major travel expenses. If you’re planning on driving, consider the cost of gas and tolls for a round trip. Also, include estimated costs of dining, lodging, and other necessities.
Still, don’t forget to include unexpected expenses in your budget. Life happens, and sometimes things don’t go as intended. If you plan for the unexpected, you’ll better prepare yourself for pitfalls if they occur.
Use Your Travel Rewards
Do you use a rewards credit card? If so, don’t forget to use your rewards to offset some of the cost of your vacation. That’s what your rewards are for. Also, some rewards cards, like Extraco’s Everyday Rewards+ card, help you save more of your hard-earned money on dining, grocery stores, gas stations, and more to help you stretch your dollars – even your vacation dollars – further.
Look for Hotel Alternatives
The average cost of a hotel stay in the U.S. was $192 per night in 2021. Of course, those prices can climb higher for some areas. If you’re traveling abroad, the average nightly rate is $136, depending on where you’re staying. You can save money by opting for hotel alternatives.
- Travel in an RV, if possible
- Use a tent for eco-friendly lodging
- Rent a vacation condo
- Rent an Airbnb
- Stay at a bed-and-breakfast
- Stay at a hostel
Take Advantage of Deals
Budgeting and cost-effective lodging can help stretch your dollars further, but they aren’t the only ways to save while vacationing. You can also take advantage of deals to weave saving money into your adventure.
- Group discounts
- Budget flights
- All-inclusive packages: hotels and resorts
- Last-minute deals
- Discount cruise lines
- Take a local food trip
- Free, local activities
All-inclusive packages often bundle several of your vacation expenses together. Some include hotel and airfare, while others might include lodging, meals, and even some activities. Whether you’re traveling abroad, regionally, or nationally, consider hiring a food guide. Food guides take you on an adventure of local cuisine to give you an experience to remember. With planning, any of these deals can help you stick to your travel budget.
Plan a Staycation
Traveling might be great, but when prices are high, sometimes a better alternative is to plan a staycation instead. That doesn’t mean sitting at home, but it can if that’s what you want. Another option, however, is to take a local adventure. Often, there are many activities and places in our own state that we have never experienced. Do some research on what your state has to offer. Plan and budget accordingly. Then, pretend to be a tourist and head off for a grand, local adventure.
The Final Word
Vacations can be pricey. The average cost of a one-week holiday for one person can set you back by $1,566. If you’re traveling as a family, this number might easily climb to 5-digits. However, there are plenty of ways to limit spending and still enjoy your time away.
It begins with a plan — establishing what you want to gain from your vacation and deciding how much you want to spend. From there, finding deals and savings along the way will boost how far your vacation budget stretches.
Remember, although sticking to a budget is essential, so is enjoying your time. Make the most of it!