Even for those who have learned to be really frugal in everyday life, changes in schedules or plans can throw people off. Traveling can influence even the thriftiest of us to splurge and spend without enough thought. Learning to manage our money when we travel means that after the vacation we end up with great memories, and no regrets about the money spent. Here are a few things to consider in order to keep vacation costs down:
Make a budget. Spending in any area can get out of control if you do not decide beforehand how much you plan on dishing out. The point of budgeting for a trip is not to make a vacation stressful. In fact, making a budget will do the exact opposite. Overspending and getting into debt are where the real stress comes from.
Your budget can be whatever you really can afford to spend on your vacation. Decide which activities you really want to spend money on. Determine how much everything will cost and whether you need to whittle any of your expenses down to fit within your budget. You might need to consider cheaper hotel accommodations, less-expensive meals, or replacing some costly activities with free or inexpensive ones.
Avoid fast foods. Help your pocketbook and your waistline by putting together your own meals. Instead of stopping at fast food places or restaurants for every meal, try buying most of your food from a nearby grocery store. If you will be staying in a hotel, try to find a room with a refrigerator and access to a microwave. You can buy snacks, sandwich-fixings, canned soup, and disposable dinnerware to keep with you. If you are going on a long road trip, consider bringing a cooler filled with fruit, sandwiches, and drinks along with you in the car.
Opt for some inexpensive or free activities. There are many things that you can do on a vacation that cost little or nothing at all. Try visiting parks, historic sites, downtown areas, or free museums. There are a lot of memorable places that don’t cost a thing.
With just a little planning, you can plan a great vacation that costs a little bit less. Then, you can have peace of mind after your trip as well as during it.