Planning The Perfect Affordable Vacation
With a little planning, yes, you truly can have your cake and eat it too. Plan a terrific vacation and stay on budget. Here is what you need to do in order to bring it all together.
1. Choose Your Destination
First, you need to choose your ideal destination but remain flexible. Keep in mind that prices can vary quite a bit for a vacation depending on your choices.
One thing to consider carefully is the time of year that you go. A beach vacation, for example is going to be a lot more expensive during the height of the Summer. During the peak season, you will pay more for hotel rooms, flights and entertainment.
Another thing to consider is where you stay. Hotels can vary quite a bit in price depending on their amenities and location. If you are willing to do without some niceties or are willing to travel, a 200 dollar a night hotel room can become a 100 dollar a night one. That saves $400 now on an average 4 night vacation. When you consider how long you will be in your room, you will see that the savings is probably worth it.
You should also consider airbnb, even if it costs the same as a hotel room. With an airbnb, you would get all of the features of a home plus a full kitchen. That would allow you to save money by cooking some meals at home. If you have kids, it might even give you a yard to let them burn off some energy.
2. List All Of Your Expenses
Now that you have decided on a location and date, it is time to list out all of your expenses, major and minor.
This is the part where things get stressful, but once you have all of your expenses laid out in front of you, it will become easier to reduce them. Be sure to include everything from travel expenses to snacks and souvenirs.
Scrutinize the expenses, once you have them written out, and see where you can save.
Food expenses are one of the easiest to trim. Stay at a hotel that offers free breakfast, bring your own snacks and try to cook as many of your meals as possible in your room.
Travel is another big part of a vacation budget. If things are looking tight, it might be cheaper to drive than to fly. Even if you have to rent a car, a typical family would usually come out way ahead by putting in the miles.
3. Set Your Date & Start Saving
Once you have all of the details worked out, you can set your date and start to save. Take the amount of money that you need and divide it by the amount of paychecks that you have left until your vacation. Now you know how much you need to save in order to pull off your vacation.
If you find that the amount that you need to save out of each check is too much, you need to make some changes. Either choose some cheaper options on your vacation or find some other ways to make some cuts. That or find some other funding options such as a vacation loan. Doing it without the loan is always the best choice though. Better to take a downsized but paid for 5000 dollar vacation than borrow to make it $7500.
Once you have the amount that you need to save each month down, set up automatic withdrawals to a savings account. Use a savings account other than your normal one and preferably at another bank. Online savings accounts are your best option. They will give you a higher interest rate and the separation will help keep you from dipping into them.
There you have it, an easy way to plan for and pay for an on budget vacation. The key to it, like everything financial, is proper planning. Go into it knowing where you will have to spend money and find as many areas that you can cut as possible.