You’ve been looking forward to getting time off. You’ve been dreaming of spending your days on the beach with a book and a cold drink in hand. You’ve had the vacation dates on your calendar circled for months.
But if this year has seen you dipping more heavily into your savings, planning a vacation on a budget isn’t just a theoretical idea. It’s what you’re going to have to do if you want to have a vacation at all.
Are there any tricks you can use to save money? Does sorting out how to plan a vacation trip inevitably mean digging deeper into your pockets? Keep reading to learn how you can have a baller vacation on a shoestring budget.
Figure Out Your Budget
If there’s one lesson we’ve all learned in our Budgeting 101 classes, it’s that every dollar counts. That’s why the first step of your planning process should involve your vacation budget calculator.
You could be putting yourself under pressure to develop ideas that’ll let you spend a few hundred dollars. But in reality, you’ve got a few thousand dollars to play with.
Once you have that vacation budget breakdown, it becomes a lot easier to figure out how your financial situation might impact your holiday plans. And from there, you can quickly determine what kinds of vacations are realistically within reach for you.
Brainstorm Some Cheap Vacation Ideas
Everyone has a different definition of what a cheap vacation might look like. But whether your idea of roughing it is a couple of steps removed from a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous episode or you’ve got more modest plans in mind, this is the part where you get to sit down and come up with fun and affordable ideas.
Would a staycation full of short day trips to nearby communities be enjoyable? Is there a museum exhibit you’ve always wanted to see? Finding budget-friendly destinations that everyone can agree on could very well be the most complicated part of your trip-planning process.
Find Systematic Savings Opportunities
When you’re planning a vacation, there are three general categories that you’ll be looking at and saying, “Where can I save money?”. These would include:
- Your Transportation
- Your Accommodations
- Your Food
Maybe Airbnbs, hostels, and home exchanges like the ones discussed in this article might be better for your budget than a hotel. Perhaps it’s in your best interests to fly economy instead of business class. Or maybe you should look into cooking a few of your meals while you’re gone.
In 2017, MarketWatch reported that Americans could have saved an estimated $2.2 billion by shopping online. By deciding beforehand that you’re going to save on food or save on travel-related costs, you can save a substantial chunk of money simply by keeping an eye out for last-minute deals and sales.
Try Planning a Vacation on a Budget the Easy Way
Vacation budgeting is like playing a fun video game. The logistics involved with planning a vacation on a budget might seem daunting, but the process of finding new ways to save money is addicting in its way. Plus, who knows? Cheap vacations could become your new normal going forward.
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