Vacations are a time to relax and unwind, but that doesn’t mean they’re an excuse to overspend. Coming back from your trip only to realize you’ve spent far more than you anticipated can leave you feeling more drained than recharged. Here are four ways you can give yourself the stress-free vacation you deserve, all while keeping your financial goals in line and debt at bay.
It’s too easy to get caught up in vacation mode; with our spirits high and guards down, we often find ourselves in a spending pattern that’s foreign to our daily routines. However, establishing a budget for your trip in advance can avoid this. Before booking your vacation, take time to review your budget, fixed expenses, and savings goals to see if they align with the kind of vacation you’d like to take. Once you’ve determined a vacation budget, prioritize what experiences you’d like it to go towards. For example, if you’re set on a sightseeing getaway, focus variable costs on immersive experiences such as guided tours and museum tickets. On the other hand, if you have relaxation in mind, consider dedicating the majority of your vacation fund to an all-inclusive resort.
If your schedule allows it, consider planning your getaway during the off-season of your ideal destination. Though peak travel seasons often vary by location, planning a vacation during summer months or holiday breaks can mean far more expensive flights and accommodations, not to mention crowded airports and long lines! In addition to off-season travel, booking flights scheduled with layovers or on weekdays can also save you time and money. A little flexibility towards the season and day you choose to travel can result in a significant financial payoff and save you unneeded stress.
Enjoying the local restaurants and cuisines your destination has to offer is always something to look forward to. Still, it can eat away at your wallet while taking funds away from other experiences you may have planned. One option to consider is booking a room with a kitchenette to cook quick meals on the fly. Similarly, packing non-perishable snacks on outings can save you from spending a pretty penny on tourist-targeted restaurants. Another viable strategy towards balancing your food budget is to follow the 1:2 rule when it comes to meal planning on your trip. For every fine dining experience, consider cooking two budget-friendly meals for yourself.
Just as booking your vacation further in advance can save you money, looking into last-minute deals can be just as advantageous when it comes to finding great deals that suit your budget. Depending on your openness to travel dates and destinations, snagging a last-minute deal can allow you to enjoy all of the perks of a dream vacation without the financial hassle. Keep an eye out for updated postings on platforms like Kayak and Lastminute.com to find drastically lower prices on common travel expenses like flight tickets, hotel rooms, and vacation packages.
Nothing spoils the memory of a great vacation like arriving home to debt. However, by allowing yourself to make a few compromises while revisiting your financial priorities before departure, it’s possible to treat yourself to a relaxing getaway that both your wallet and future self will thank you for.
Check out our previous blog post on Sticking to Your Financial Resolutions. In addition, if you need personalized financial advice, our team is always here to help—contact us today to book an appointment!