Don't underestimate your vacation costs! Come up with a vacation money plan! Here are four key ingredients you need to know about and plan for so those vacation costs don't follow you home!
Sing it with me, "Summer, summer, summer time." You know the song. Who doesn't want to talk about vacation season? But, vacations are one of the most common areas people tend to overspend. Let's discuss four key criteria that will help you avoid overspending and allow you to enjoy your vacation.
Planes, trains and automobiles. Those arrangements are important and, often, the costs are inevitable. But, how are you getting to and from that airport? Uber? Taxi? If you are driving, how about all that gas? What about tolls? Are you stopping overnight on your way to your destination? All of those costs are part of your travel and all of them add up quickly! P.S. Watch my previous Savvy Saturday video on The Best Time To Buy Plane Tickets.
Usually the largest slice in your vacation budget pie, lodging is typically 60-70% of your costs. Can you stay with family or friends to off-set those costs? Maybe. Does your family size or family relationship not accommodate that? Maybe not. Either way, you need to discuss your options so you can get an idea of your overall costs. With lodging, there isn't a one-stop-shop, go-to tool. Researching your options is key; however, one tool I do recommend is Kayak. They provide a good, well-rounded view of your potential accommodation costs. One thing is for sure. Look at the cancelation policy! Sometimes you can cancel 24-48 hours in advance for a full refund; however, many places that seem super affordable are so because they are completely non-refundable. You may even have to pay up front. The point is, read all the specifics!
It is important to know what to eat while you are there. Everyone's gotta eat, right? Maybe you can off-set some expense by capitalizing on your accommodation's refrigerator and hitting up the grocery store. That's great! But, it's still a cost that needs to be factored in. Just keep in mind, this is the prime area where people tend to overspend, so it's super easy to go over budget. Eating out? Whether you are staying with family and want to eat out or you are staying at a resort and eating out is expected, think through those costs. The point is, spending can get out of control and, often, we don't realize it until it is too late.
Miscellaneous can mean a lot of things. Primarily, it is made up of excursions, events, outings, and entertainment. Basically, it is the different things you are going to be doing in and around the area you are visiting. State park fees, museums, horse back riding. None of them are free. While wonderful experiences, those activities all have fees and they need to be planned for. Do your research; make a rough plan! You don't have to have every minute mapped out, but think through your plans to account for any of those miscellaneous costs. One solution is to make a list of the things you'd like to do on vacation, research their costs, and select half of them. Great! You still get to do what you want on vacation. If you budget for the whole list but only do half of them, that's even better because that frees up money in case you go over budget or do an activity on a whim. Another miscellaneous cost is a rental car. Get the best rental car price you can find (make sure you can cancel your reservation if need be), go to autoslash.com and put that registration in their system. By creating a free account, they will watch for price drops and notify you. They will then give you the option to switch to a booking through them, enabling you to cancel your original rental. The great thing is after that point as prices continue to drop, they continue to rebook for you, canceling your previous reservation and rebooking your new one, to ensure you get the cheapest price possible. What about unforeseen miscellaneous costs? It is always helpful, if possible, to talk with someone (friends, family, etc.) about your destination to be aware of any additional miscellaneous costs that might pop up. When it comes down to it, make sure you plan your trip in advance, refining those costs as your vacation approaches. Doing so will make your vacation a lasting memory rather than a costly one, which will keep your wallet heavy and your heart light.
Here's an extra video with two personal stories of how I saved for and managed vacation costs! [embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr60h9vaaKo[/embedyt] [spacer height="default"]
Question: When is your next vacation and how are you budgeting for it? Have you discovered any hidden costs? Be sure to share in the comments below.
Want to be part of an inspiring encouraging community of like-minded individuals? Join my free Facebook community the Strong Together Money Community. I hope to see you there!