Overspending and vacations make a bond that is hard to break. Lavish resorts with rejuvenating spa treatments, private beaches, and all-inclusive buffets can be very hard on the wallet but equally challenging to say no to! Vacations are when many people let loose and spend money they usually wouldn’t. It could be because you are not accustomed to keeping track of your spending, or simply because you have set some standards for yourself – and you want to enjoy your break!
Whatever the case, we’re not here to judge; we’re here to help. So, here are some tips on budgeting for your vacation, making sure you don’t come back to debt, and a dried-up bank account.
Pick Your Location Wisely:
We bet your Instagram handle was spammed by hot air balloon rides over the gorgeous Cappadocia, a table adorned by a slap-up meal at Mehmet, Antalya, or a selfie in the middle of a well-lit colorful shop in the Grand Bazaar. Why? Because Turkey was the love and life of 2019 for tourists. And what happened then? Lira prices for goods and services quadrupled. So, if you intend to save a buck or two, consider traveling to the parts of the world that aren’t on every tourist’s bucket list! Maybe someplace in the divine Western United States or the jaw-droppingly beautiful South Africa.
When to Travel?
If you want to go somewhere sunny and exotic, try traveling during the shoulder season. Utah, for instance, experiences 300 days of sunshine a year, so you’re sure to find rentals in St George Utah, without having to worry about high prices or hordes of tourists. The same goes for other destinations – traveling in the off-season (or shoulder season) can save you a lot of money. For example, Europe is a popular destination in the summer, so consider traveling in the fall or winter for lower prices on hotels, flights, and other tourist attractions.
Where to Stay?
Preferences for accommodations vary from person to person, but there are a few things to consider when looking for a place to lay your head at night. Are you looking for the greenest hotels like the ones in Colorado? Boutique? Beachfront? Themed?
If you are traveling as a family, do you want one room or two separate rooms? Are you open to rentals (like Airbnb)? Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, it will be much easier to narrow down your options. You can now find your best deals using websites like TripAdvisor and Booking.com.
Bundle and Save:
If you have your heart set on a particular destination, do some digging and see if any vacation packages are being offered. Sometimes, you can save a considerable amount of money by bundling your airfare, hotel, and car rentals together.
Sites like Expedia or Travelocity offer package deals that can save you a lot of money in the long run. For example, if you’re looking for a flight, hotel, and car rental all in one go, you can usually find a cheaper package deal than if you were to purchase them separately. You can also find deals on attractions and other tourist activities by bundling them together. As it’s said, it never hurts to do a little bit of research!
Pick Your Activities Wisely:
One of the best things about going on vacation is getting to do all the things you usually wouldn’t do. However, if you’re on a shoestring, it’s essential to be mindful of how much you spend on activities. Do some research on the internet or in your local travel guide to find out which attractions and activities are free (or at a reduced cost) and which ones will cost you. For example, visiting a national park is always free, but going on a safari will cost you.
If you’re looking to do something a little more adventurous, like skydiving, that will also cost you. So, either save up in advance or pick a time when you’re on vacation to do a few more affordable activities.
Don’t Buy Souvenirs
This is tough, but if you’re looking to save money while on vacation, it’s best not to buy souvenirs. They are often overpriced and take up a lot of space in your luggage. If you’re set on bringing home a souvenir, try bargaining with the shopkeeper to see if you can get a better deal. And, if all else fails, there are always postcards! The last thing you want is to pay extra for that gigantic bag of magnets, T-shirts, and shot glasses.
Learn About the Local Culture:
We all have a dream destination in mind, but it’s essential to do your research before booking anything. Are you aware of the current exchange rate and how much things cost there? Where to shop? What are the best restaurants? Are there any festivals or other events going on while you’re there? The more you know about the destination, the better prepared you’ll be to save money.
For example, if you’re traveling to Spain, learn about the tapas culture and how to order them properly. You don’t want to be that tourist asking for a “burger and fries” at a tapas restaurant.
Become a Coupon Code Collector:
One of the best ways to save money on vacation is to use coupon codes. Sites like RetailMeNot and Groupon offer deals on hotels, airfare, car rentals, and other tourist activities. You can also find deals on restaurant meals and attractions. All you need to do is a quick Google search for the name of the city you’re visiting and “coupon codes.” You’ll be surprised at how many results come up.
So, before you book anything, make sure to do a quick search for coupon codes. You may be able to save some money.
Carry a Debit Card:
Oopsie daisy! We all know that feeling of guilt when we realize we’ve overspent while on vacation. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, it’s best to carry a debit card instead of a credit card. This way, you can only spend what you have in your account. And, if you’re really set on using your credit card, make sure to pay it off as soon as you get home. That way, you won’t have to worry about interest rates.
Beware of Retail Traps:
When you’re on vacation, it’s easy to get caught up in the “retail trap.” This is when you go into a store with the intention of buying one thing, but you leave with a bunch of things that you didn’t plan on buying. To avoid this, try to stick to your list and don’t go shopping when you’re tired or hungry. If you see something that’s on sale, but it’s not on your list, wait until you get home to decide if you really need it. And, lastly, don’t be afraid to say no. Just because your friends are buying something doesn’t mean you have to buy it too.
Joining reward programs, packing your meals, and using a debit card are all great ways to save money on your vacation. But, the most important thing is to be prepared and do your research.
Having said all that, remember your vacation is for you to relax, unwind, and have fun. So, if you find that you’re overspending a little bit, don’t stress about it.