You have been putting in a lot of effort for a while, meticulously saving every dollar you could, and now you’re prepared to embark on your big vacation adventure.
Perhaps, you have done your homework, packed your bags, booked your flights, and even sent your leave application to your boss. Before you know it, you are sipping drinks on a mesmerizing beach. The dream has finally come true for you. But the tricky part is still far from over. You don’t want your hard-earned money to spiral out of control in just a few days or weeks.
Put this way, while you’re basking in the sun and taking it all in, the last thing you want is to rack up debt. After all, when you have put a lot of effort into saving for your trip, there is no reason to overspend when you arrive at your dream destination and add stress to your life when you return. You can still enjoy an Instagram-worthy vacation while traveling on a budget.
So, to ensure that you return home feeling rested and at ease rather than gnawing your nails over the bills, follow these tips:
- Consider affordable accommodations
Let’s face it; your lodging preference may significantly impact the cost of your trip.
The desire to stay in a luxurious hotel room could result in you spending several hundred dollars every night. However, doing so can be detrimental to your long-term travel objectives.
Instead, look for cheap accommodation options. Usually, most affordable accommodation options give the minimum basics a traveler would need, including a bed, running water, and meals. And the good part is they are typically clean and pleasant.
So, book affordable accommodations to avoid going over your vacation budget. For instance, if you’re traveling to Gatlinburg, TN, finding affordable accommodations won’t be a hassle. That’s because you’ll easily come across cheap cabins in Gatlinburg TN that won’t have you breaking the bank.
- Establish a daily budget
One of the most crucial steps is creating a realistic daily budget before leaving for your trip. Afterward, you need to ensure you stick to it throughout your journey.
Be mindful that even the best intentions will fail when the budget is unrealistic. So be sure to do thorough research before setting your budget. After all, the last thing you want during your dream trip is to run out of cash. That would undoubtedly be a recipe for disaster.
Not sure how to create a daily budget? Divide the amount of money you have saved for your vacation by the days you will be away, and you have your daily budget.
Chances are you may exceed your daily budget limit on some days. If that happens, a few quiet days will help balance things out and compensate for this.
- Note each cent you spend
Now that you have set your daily budget, you might wonder what your next step should be. Of course, the next step is determining where and how your money is spent.
So, grab a paper and pen or use a spreadsheet – whatever works for you. Then, once the day is over, keep a record of every penny you spend. Doing so allows you to compare it with your daily budget. This way, you can track your finances throughout your trip.
However, if this sounds taxing, you can utilize different travel expense tracking apps and stay informed on your spending habits.
Consistently tracking your money can prevent you from overspending. Additionally, you’ll be able to see if you have any extra money to spend on a nice lunch or other indulgences.
- Reduce your alcohol intake
Vacation is all about letting yourself loose. And what’s a better way to enjoy your trip than splurging a few bucks on alcohol?
But we all know that alcohol is not inexpensive and can put a considerable dent in our pockets. Sure, you can occasionally splash out on a pricey cocktail, but going out every night and drinking alcohol can become your biggest expense while on vacation.
A simple strategy to save money is to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume. Surprisingly, traveling is much more enjoyable without getting a hangover.
Alternatively, you can fit those tiny bottles of alcohol in your carry-on luggage. That way, you will be saving a lot of money. And, of course, it is also a great idea if your accommodation does not offer alcohol.
- Be wise in what you eat
Another significant expense while traveling will probably be eating out.
Purchasing food at the airport is pricey; bring a meal or some snacks to save money before your trip begins.
When on vacation, don’t feel shy about occasionally treating yourself and dining at pricey restaurants. But frequent dining out at high-end eateries can rapidly add up and detract from other travel experiences.
Therefore, keep an eye out for local, smaller, family-run eateries. Experiencing the local cuisine can significantly enhance your trip because they typically offer better value. The reason is food and culture are so intimately related. Don’t shun the local cuisine just because you worry about getting sick. After all, the same markets supply food to both fancy eateries and street vendors.
- Spend your money on a free experience
When it comes to entertainment, look for events or experiences that are free or low-cost so you can adhere to your budget and still make your trip memorable.
Luckily, most places offer free events, such as festivals or other attractions, to the common public. To learn about what’s happening in the area, search relevant social media pages and sites or even ask the locals.
However, if you plan to go to a ticketed event, such as any sports event or music concert, purchasing your tickets in advance directly from the seller rather than a third party may be less expensive.
- Avoid unnecessary stuff
Answer this. How many items you previously purchased on your last trip are still in the boxes in your home? Probably, plenty, right?
Everyone purchases souvenirs, which is normal. Just be sure that whatever you purchase will be put to good use. Don’t purchase something merely because it is unique or cheap.
Although getting keepsakes for you and the people you love may be tempting, doing so might quickly cause you to go over budget. One thing you can do to curb impulse buys is to take your sweet time before making the final decision. Put this way, you can go back home, weigh the pros and cons and revisit the stores the next day.
There is no denying that we all need to budget to survive our daily life. After all, budgeting allows us to make the most of our resources, regardless of our income.
Sticking to your travel budget might seem challenging, but try not to give up.
When making your travel budget, there is a good chance that you might run across a few bumps. It is, therefore, acceptable to not precisely follow it the first time. But try to find methods to improve so that your next budget for your upcoming trip is more practical and effective.