Whether you plan to travel to the lake, Europe or across Canada, learn how to budget for your next vacation.
When you plan and book a vacation, you probably factor only the three big expenses into your travel budget: transportation (airfare/car rental), accommodations (hotel or vacation home), and sightseeing (attractions and entertainment). And if you’re really on the ball, you may factor life insurance into the equation too.
But if you’ve ever looked at your credit card statement after returning from a trip, you know that vacations tend to eat up much more money than you expect them to. Why? Because there are many smaller vacation expenses that most people don’t anticipate in advance. Here’s what you should remember to budget for when you plan your next vacation:
It’s so easy to go over budget when you’re eating out for practically every meal. And when we say “every meal,” we really mean it. Think about all of the breakfasts, snacks, lunches, afternoon treats (you know you can’t resist that ice cream), dinners, and drinks.
In addition to budgeting for all of this good food you’re going to eat, you can save money with a few tricks. Pack snacks instead of buying them at a pricey tourist trap, and purchase breakfast and lunch items at a grocery store. Enjoying the local food is part of going on vacation. But this doesn’t have to mean splurging on every meal.
You may not think twice about whipping out your credit card to buy those Mickey Mouse ears at Disney World. But remember that most credit card companies charge an extra 2.5% whenever you purchase in a foreign currency. Keep more of that money in your wallet by looking into affordable money exchange options before heading out.
Smaller vacation expenses start to add up even before you’ve left your home turf (thank you, airlines). Checked baggage fees seem to go up every few years, and they can quickly add up for a family on a roundtrip flight.
You probably aren’t going on vacation to just sit in your hotel room and do nothing. Whether you have your heart set on visiting the Louvre, going to the top of the Empire State Building in New York, or going on that gondola ride in Venice, make sure you’re budgeting for the fees.
If you’re traveling to a new destination, you’ll probably want to see and do as much as you can. That’s why it’s important to leave room in your budget for spontaneous activities.
When flying to your destination, the journey isn’t over when you finally get off your flight. Instead, you’ll need to take public transportation, a shuttle, or a taxi to get to your hotel. Transportation fares can be steep in some cities, so be sure to look up these costs in advance and plan accordingly.
Whether you enjoy buying gifts on vacation or do it just for the sake of reciprocity, don’t forget to budget for them. And while you’re at it, include a line for souvenirs too. (Your friends and family shouldn’t be the only ones getting spoiled!)
Failing to add something to your vacation budget may not break the bank. But it’ll hurt when your expenses eventually add up (which they inevitably will). And there’s nothing worse than financial stress when you’re on vacation. Prevent it from ruining your trip by taking the time to plan in advance.
And last but not least, travel safely. Think about getting life insurance before going on that next trip. It’ll make sure your loved ones at home are financially safe no matter what.