When you’re trying to plan a vacation, you’re always balancing between getting the most experience in a new place possible and keeping your spending at a comfortable level. The following will give you a few tips and tricks that can help you find that balance.
Go Out Of Season
The first thing you’re going to do when planning a vacation—maybe even before you choose your destination—is going to be choosing your dates. This is also the point at which you can save the most money simply by picking the right time of year to go on your trip. March, December, and summer tend to be when people go on holidays the most, but every location is going to have its own travel season depending on the culture and the climate.
If you can plan your trip so that you’re traveling outside of the common tourist season, you will find your costs way more reasonable. Everything from accommodations to restaurant bills to venue tickets and transportation fees tends to be less expensive. This is because most things within the travel and tourism industry are priced according to demand. Less demand means lower prices.
Accommodation is often one of the most expensive parts of your trip, and this means it’s really important to shop around before you make your selection. Oftentimes, you can find the best hotel deals online. Of course, you need to include extra costs associated with a given accommodation, not just the price of a night’s stay. If the accommodation has kitchen access, this can save you a lot of money on meals as you can go shopping and cook some of your meals yourself. As well, accommodations tend to be less expensive the further they are from the city center or the main tourist areas; be sure you’re aware of the cost of transportation to get to the sights you want to see when making your selection, as this can sometimes make a deal seem less perfect.
Once you’ve chosen your destination and the initial transportation to get there, take a moment to look at how much luggage you’re allowed to bring without paying any extra fees. You want to pack things tightly and securely but also have room for purchases you make while away. You don’t want to be stuck paying an overweight or oversized luggage fee on your return trip, nor do you want to pay for a whole extra bag on your return.
Cut Down On The Alcohol
While many people look forward to partying or relaxing while they’re traveling, alcohol can make nights out very costly. Consider purchasing drinks from the store and drinking in your hotel with your friends before a night out to mitigate the cost of buying all your drinks in touristy bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
As well, you might want to put a certain amount of cash in your wallet before a night out involving drinking and leaving your cards or other money in a safe at the hotel. This way, you can’t overspend once you have alcohol in your system. Most people find they make poorer financial decisions while they’ve been drinking.
Budget Ahead Of Time
The best way to be financially comfortable with a vacation is to start planning financially for the trip well in advance. Start many months ahead of your trip and figure out what it’s likely going to cost. Increase that total cost by 20% because travel is full of surprises, and you want to be able to deal with them. Then look at the number of paychecks (or expected payments if you’re a freelancer or independent contractor) between now and the time of your trip. Figure out how much from each payment needs to be put aside for the vacation. You might even want to designate a special place you put these funds aside. Some apps can help you with this, as can having a second savings account.
Don’t Forget To Include the Insurance
Traveler’s insurance is an often forgotten cost. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but in the event that something goes wrong, you’ll be happy you have it. Accidents and emergencies abroad can end up being very costly, especially if you need to extend your stay or rush home quickly (last-minute flights can be three or four times the cost of flights booked in advance).
The above information should make it clear that going on a trip doesn’t have to damage your financial standing. It’s generally considered a good idea to have an emergency fund of at least $1000 before you consider bigger fun purchases like travel.