How to Figure Out a Budget for Your Next Vacation

How to Figure Out a Budget for Your Next Vacation

May 18, 2020 | By Go Galavant

You’ve mastered adulting, for the most part. You have a budget for your everyday expenses, you stick to that budget, you save. You’re doing it! BUT, when it’s time for vacation, you conveniently forget those budgeting rules you set for yourself. Maybe you think “it’s vacation, I’m gonna have fun and figure it out when I get back”, or you’re just not sure how to budget for vacation. Well, budgeting for vacation isn’t hard and will help you have a more enjoyable trip. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you figure out a vacation budget. 

When are you going?

One thing to consider when setting up a vacation budget is when you plan on traveling. We all know that traveling during the holiday season is expensive because practically everyone travels somewhere for the holidays, but make sure that you’re aware of any holidays where you’re headed even if you don’t plan on celebrating them. Want to go on a calm beach vacation to Barbados in August before the kids go back to school? August is carnival season for Barbados so flights and hotels are going to be much more expensive than if you went in June or July. A quick Google search will give you an idea of the cheaper and more expensive times of year to fly to a specific destination.

Where are you going?

Costs of living vary for different regions and by country within different regions. After flights, a large portion of your vacation budget might be accommodations and meals, so knowing how much things costs at your destination will be helpful in figuring out a budget. Europe is considered to be a more expensive region to travel to, but within Europe, Portugal is a very cost-effective location. Your vacation budget will be very different if you go to France or the UK versus Portugal. If you want to stretch your dollars even further regions like Southeast Asia allow you to live very comfortably for a fraction of your salary. Numbeo has some helpful indexes to help you calculate the cost of living in different countries.

What kind of vacation do you want?

For the “what” part of figuring out your budget, you’ll need to have an idea of the type of vacation you want to have. Do you want to relax poolside with room service and private drivers to take you around? Would you stay in a hostel and cook some of your own meals? Is dining at all the hottest restaurants a must-do? If you want to see a lot of attractions, but you’re not much of a walker and hate public transportation, you’ll need to budget extra for private cars. Take into consideration all of the activities you want to do, how you want to get around, what kind of accommodations you want to stay in, and the type of food you want to eat. Google search can help immensely here, but you can also use travel consultants or agents to do the bulk of the research for you.

How long will you be traveling?

Finally, how long you plan on being on vacation should be considered when budgeting for a vacation. It’s pretty obvious that accommodation and daily expenses will go up the longer you stay, but you should make sure you budget appropriately so you don’t spend all your money on food and activities on the first couple of days, leaving you to go over budget or do nothing for the rest of your trip. Map out a daily budget, but be flexible and move some dollars around if a day or two calls for more expensive activities. 

Also, there are some instances where staying longer might save you some money. Some hosts on Airbnb give you a discount when you stay for a certain amount of time- the price of a week’s stay may end up being cheaper than a five-night stay. And think about food… If you go grocery shopping to cook for some meals, you’ll probably get more bang for your buck if you stay longer- we all know we overshop at the grocery store. While you may think you’re buying food for 3 days you’ll probably have enough for 5 or 6. 

There’s no one right way to figure out a travel budget. If you have a set amount of money, start there and see how far it takes you after answering the above questions. If your budget is open, start with the above questions and see where you end up. Figuring out a travel budget isn’t hard and will ensure that you get the most enjoyment out of your trip without stressing over funds.

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