Travel can be expensive! Here’s your guide to creating a vacation budget that works.
The average vacation costs around $1145 per person. So, if you’re planning a family vacation for the four of you, you’re looking at paying $4580. That’s a lot of money for most of us. And it’s why it makes sense to create a vacation budget. Here are some tips for planning and saving for your vacation.
Create a List of Expenses
Planning for vacations can be a very fun experience. You get to spend time dreaming. Plus, who doesn’t love extending the feel of your vacation with anticipation? So, settle in and do some research to decide where you’re going and when. Then, figure out how much money you’ll need to save. Start by making a list of what you’ll need. Here are some categories to consider.
- Visas and Documents
Determine Your Budget for Each Expense
Now, you’ll need to figure out costs for each item. Make sure to be realistic about prices, though. Your vacation budget can’t help you if you allot $5 for food and end up spending $50.
Many of us are looking to spend less than $4500 for our family vacation. If that’s you, it’s time to get thrifty. Luckily, there are countless ways to cut costs. Check out budget travel sites to find the best airfare rates. Traveling during off-peak times is often more budget-friendly. Or consider driving to your destination. Research discount days for museums and theme parks. Then click here for more budget travel tips.
Choose a Saving Method
Once you’ve calculated your costs, divide that number by the number of months until your vacation to determine your monthly rate. So, if you need $2000 and you have eight months to save, you’ll need to put away $250 per month. Everyone saves a little differently so you’ll want to choose a method that works for you. Here are some common strategies:
- Open a special vacation savings account. Dedicated accounts guard against you accidentally (or on purpose) spending vacation money on something else. You could use your existing bank or shop around for higher interest rate accounts to maximize your money.
- If you’re a seasoned budgeter, you may not need a separate account. But if you choose to keep your vacation budget money mixed in with your savings or grocery fund, find a good way to track it. Consider creating a spreadsheet to chart your progress. Or use a habit tracker with reward stickers. If you use a platform like Mint for your finances, their budgeting tools can help you reach your goal.
- And if the bank doesn’t work for you? There’s always the piggy bank. Of course, you won’t earn any interest but it might help your kids understand and visualize your vacation fund. And anything you can do to help your kids use money responsibly is a good thing.
So, where’s all this money going to come from, anyway? In a perfect world, you’d be able to easily add your vacation budget payments into your regular budget. But if you’re like most people, you might have to get creative.
First, cash in on your frequent flier miles and credit card points. If you don’t earn points, consider opening a credit card that can help you. Click here for some suggestions. Next, look at your budget and figure out where you can divert money to your vacation fund. If you don’t find enough there, you might choose to get a second job to pay for your vacation. It’s not for everyone but if it’s for you, you could reach your vacation goals faster than you anticipated! Other people might benefit from a little vacation fundraising with yard sales and lemonade stands.
Wherever you’re going, let the planning and saving be part of your journey and don’t forget to enjoy yourself!
(Image Source: Pixabay)