Summer is right around the corner, and chances are you're already dreaming up the trip of a lifetime. When you're on vacation, it's easy to feel like your personal finances are no object. This, however, can lead to an imbalanced budget that can make subsequent months unbearable. If you want to skip the fall financial blues, there are ways to keep to your budget while on vacation.
Vacations cost money; this is no surprise. The mistake that so many make when booking a vacation is accounting only for the cost of the flight and hotel. If you want an accurate picture of what your vacation will cost, budget for associated expenses such as food and drink, leisure activities, and souvenirs. A realistic mindset about how much money you'll spend will help you set a realistic goal for how much you need to save.
Keep reading to discover how you can have a stellar summer vacation without breaking the bank.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Okay, you want to be able to be a little spontaneous. How often do you get to go on vacation, after all? Here's the trick, though: budget for your spontaneity. Review restaurant menus and the excursions you're interested in ahead of time to get an idea of how much fun costs in the area that you're visiting. Then, create a daily budget that gives you a little bit of wiggle room should an unexpected opportunity arise.
Again, the key here is realism. Find a happy medium between a daily budget that will leave you broke and a daily budget that you'll only be able to achieve by sitting in your hotel room. Keep to it!
Save Your Pennies
Creating a separate account for your vacation is a fantastic way to put money aside. When you try and save within your regular account, it can be confusing to keep track of how much you've saved and how much is allocated for bills and living expenses.
If you don't want to go to the trouble of opening a new account, try the five-dollar challenge. Every time you break a large bill and are left with a five-dollar bill, put it into a collection jar. When the time comes, you'll likely have more cash than you thought possible for your summer vacation.
Again: Be Realistic
Here's a pill that's hard to swallow: it may not be your year to go abroad. International roundtrips can cost between $1,000 and $1,500, which isn't always reasonably within your budget. That doesn't mean you can't have a great time stateside.
New Orleans, Santa Fe, Miami, and New York are just a few of the spectacular U.S. cities that offer diverse attractions unique from anywhere else in the world. Not to mention that major American cities offer the widest range of cuisines known to man. Save money this year by staying in the country, and perhaps next year you'll be in a place for your dream tour through Europe.
Plan, save, and use common sense. These three simple steps will give you a summer you'll never forget.