Budgeting for your Big Vacation: The Forgotten Few
You’ve saved up your money, and you just clicked the “Book It” button for your trip. You may have put in the big bucks, but the budgeting isn’t over. It’s now time to concern yourself with budgeting for expenses on the vacation. Here’s the categories you’ll want to put money away for in the months leading up to the big trip.
This is a big category because you can’t just assume that your regular food budget will cover you while you’re gone. The problem with this reasoning is that you probably won’t be cooking your meals, so your prices are going to increase. Eating out is significantly more expensive, so consider limiting yourself to a few big meals and taking it easy on the rest. Additionally, you can buy simple things you can keep in your fridge or microwave to make, like sandwiches, tuna, or soup. This will help you keep much closer to your normal food budget. It’s pretty likely you’re also going to want money for gas station food along the way.
What are your plans for getting around? Do you need to budget for a rental car, Uber rides, bus fare, trains, or something else? Be sure to become aware of the costs, as well as how much you will be traveling. Try to plan your trip so that you visit things in areas, so you aren’t traveling back and forth between places. If you’re driving, research gas prices along the way, as well as how much gas you’ll need. You don’t want to end up stranded on your way home without enough money in the bank to get more gas. Also include parking expenses in your budget for places you may visit. Preparing for a way to get around is essential for your safety and bank account.
You’re bound to want some mementos of your time away, so you may want to include a budget to buy a few things you see. However, this is where your budget can get way out of control; pacing yourself throughout the trip is essential. Spending your whole budget at the beginning of the trip isn’t what you want to do.
Are you going to be visiting any places while you’re away? Check the prices for anything you may want to see while you’re away. This can include:
- Amusement parks
- Sports games
- Roadside attractions
- Parks and beaches
- Zoos and aquariums
A way to cut costs in this area is looking at any specials the attractions may be running. Perhaps your youngsters can get in for cheap, or admissions are free on certain days. Also check out websites that have coupons for attractions, such as Groupon. Finding deals on these things will allow you to attend more.
Once you have enough for the flight and hotel, your expenses are still not totally covered. There’s a few aspects of the trip that are often forgotten, but are going to be quite costly once they’re all added up. Preparing for and budgeting for this prior to leaving for your vacation will ensure you can enjoy the trip and know what you can and can’t afford.