BeachWhen it comes to budgeting for vacation, if you can save, even a little bit each month, you can enjoy a trip without worrying about all the costs. Plan, Budget and Save.

Planning Ahead

It’s helpful to make a plan for every cost you know you will encounter. You can group these expenses into categories, such as: lodging, transportation, food and activities. From there, you can make decisions about how much you want to spend, and consider ways to save in each category. Do your research early to see where you can spend and where you can save when it comes to each of these four areas.

  • Lodging – Will you need a hotel, or can you stay with a friend or relative in your destination?
  • Transportation – Will you fly or drive? If you fly, be sure to consider whether you will need a rental car once you arrive, or factor in ride share and public transportation costs. If you drive, try to estimate the cost of gas, and the impact on your vehicle.
  • Food – Will you eat out for every meal or buy a few groceries when you arrive and make some meals yourself? There are probably meals you’ll want to splurge on, and you may find perks such as breakfast being included at your hotel.
  • Activities – Most tourist destinations have a convention and visitor’s bureau website that lists all the activities in the area. While some activities will surely cost money, there are tons of free entertainment and things to do in almost every destination as well. You can also look for deals if you buy tickets early or online, or if you buy as part of a package.

Expect the Unexpected

Another idea worth considering is to set aside a small amount of money for unplanned expenses. For example, getting to your destination and realizing you forgot to pack your shampoo and soap. Or having your car break down on a roap trip. The better you plan, the better you will be able to save.

Finding Room in Your Budget

If you don’t already, track your spending for two or three weeks. This will allow you to see where you put every dollar and you may find items in your budget that aren’t crucial to your day to day life. You can cut back on these items and have more money to save towards your goal. If you can be disciplined in this area, you will reach your goal before you know it!