It’s summer and that means it’s vacation time! But traveling can be a huge expense if you don’t plan for it properly. Here are some tips for budgeting while still having a great time away:
Know What You Can Afford
Everyone wants to go on an adventure of a lifetime, but you should be realistic. If you schedule a trip you can’t afford you will feel the repercussions financially for a while and you’ll be stressed out. Taking a summer vacation should be about relaxing and enjoying yourself, not worrying.
Create a Travel Itinerary
Decide where you want to go and what you’d like to do there. Then research how much it costs for transportation to all the locations you want to visit, food, lodging and other expenses.
Create a Travel Budget
When you have an idea of how much your summer vacation will cost, create a budget based on your available travel funds and calculate what you can spend each day. You want to make sure you have the money to cover all the activities you plan to do. If you don’t, you may have to cut some places from your list or reduce the number of days you will vacation. You can also do additional research to try and cut down on expenses.
Shop for the Best Prices
There are a variety of sites that allow you to compare airlines hotel and rental car costs, such as Expedia.com and Travelocity.com. If you can drive to your destination, that might be a cheaper option for you. Public transportation such as trains and buses may offer you cheaper travel fares than flights. Companies like Airbnb, rent unoccupied living space in other people’s homes can save you quite a bit of money on lodging.
Consider Renting Out Your Place
You can offset your travel costs by renting out your house or apartment. You can find renters via Craigslist or list your place on a site like Airbnb.
Book Activities Ahead of Time
Booking activities last minute can be stressful and sometimes costlier. You may also run the risk of something like a tour running out of available spots. Instead, book ahead online. You can find group-discount rates or other deals for many tourist destinations and even off-the-beaten path activities by just putting in the research time.
Avoid Renting a Car
Renting a car can be very expensive. Research the public transportation options at your destination before traveling. You will save a lot of money by taking trains, buses or just walking if you can. If you absolutely have to rent a car, book it ahead of time. You can typically find coupons, discounted rates and other deals by renting in advance.
Prepare for the Worst
Your flight might get delayed. You might lose your credit card or your passport. When planning your trip, set aside some extra money in your travel budget for emergencies. Ten percent of your estimated budget is a good amount.