You’ve been dreaming about taking that fantasy vacation for years. Perhaps you finally have the opportunity to go, or maybe you’ve decided that you just can’t wait anymore. Travel is expensive, though the cost will vary based on where you want to go and how long you choose to stay. However, you can bring costs down with a little research and advanced planning. Let’s learn how to budget for a holiday trip the right way.
Budget for Your Accommodation
Lodging is usually the second biggest line item in one’s travel budget. These costs will depend on where you choose to stay as well as the destination you’ve chosen. You could save money going to a hostel or guest house, but it is your vacation, and you might want to stay somewhere upscale. Consider renting an apartment over a luxury hotel. Don’t forget to multiply the cost per night by the number of nights you’ll be there. Right now, don’t book a specific location but get an idea of what lodging will cost.
Set a Food Budget
Food can be hard to estimate, but it is also the easiest area to overspend. Costs add up quickly when you’re buying snacks on the train over picking them up at a grocery store before leaving town and eating out every night instead of making your own meals in a hotel room or apartment.
Try to pack your own snacks and lunches. You’ll save a fortune just by carrying your own soda and bottled water. If you eat out, do so at local restaurants instead of touristy places. If you’re concerned about food costs, consider staying at hotels and guest houses that offer free breakfast or serve meals for a low, additional cost.
Plan Your Activity Budget
You’re almost certainly going to have to pay for a few activities on your trip. Even an all-expenses paid tour won’t include every possible side excursion. Know what is included and what isn’t when you’re part of a tour. If you like to shop when you’re visiting exotic destinations, set a budget for your shopping trips and give yourself room in your luggage to bring it all back.
Have Backup Plans
There are plenty of stories of holidays gone wrong. Carry cash so that you can pay for things when your debit or credit card is declined. Take two or more cards so that at least one will work at your destination. Know how you can get a credit card advance or short-term loan to cover unexpected medical or travel costs. Short term loans online that can be repaid over 12 months are even available to those with poor credit.
Track Your Spending
Don’t forget to track your spending as you are on your trip. This helps you stay within your budget, since you can cut back on expenses before you realise you ran out of money. Then you can decide to skip the side trip so you can afford to eat out at that amazing restaurant with the famous view without feeling guilty about the cost. A side benefit of tracking your expenses is that you can use the information to plan a more accurate budget next time.
While travel can be expensive, there are steps you can take to manage the costs and get more out of your trip. Then you can enjoy your trip and not worry about the bills when you get back.