Summer vacations are already in full swing, and with travel comes a lot of expenses. A lot of these expenses are predictable. But it is not uncommon for people to come back from vacation, look at credit card statements and be shocked at the outstanding amount. Months later, they may still be having to pay off for a couple of weeks of vacation.
Why? Because the nature of being away from home brings more expenses in meals, tickets, etc. It also could trigger a less cautious approach to spending. After all, you don’t want to miss out on getting souvenirs from your destination or denying yourself and your family fun activities, good meals and experiences.
So how could you make sure that a summer vacation doesn’t strain your budget for the entire summer — and beyond? Planning is probably the best route. Although many expenses might emerge anyway, planning for the major items that are most costly can help you keep the overall spending on your vacation down.
Here are a few points to keep in mind:-
Booking tickets and accommodation as early as possible is the best way to get the cheapest rates and offers on the best flights, hotels and experiences. In short you will get the best bang for your money.
In case you’re concerned about potential changes in your plans, buy insurance or tickets that are changeable or refundable. By doing so, you’re guaranteed the best rate, with the peace of mind that you won’t be totally out of your money if someone gets sick or you’re not able to take time off from work.
How many times did you find your best swim suit doesn’t fit any more? Or how many time were not you able to find your favourite swim suit, beach hat or whatever? If you only find out you’re missing any items required for the trip just a night before you hit the road, you are most likely to either buy them in a nearest store or at your destination. Both options probably are not the most economic.
If you put together your packing list and check that you have what you need early on, then you will be able to shop and save without the time pressure. In addition, you are more likely to buy items that are durable, appealing to you, and likely to be kept for future trips, as well.
Prioritise activities and get your travel partners’ consensus on these priorities. If everyone agrees that a particular costly activity — going to a theme park, a day trip, etc -- is going to be the highlight of the trip, they may be more flexible with reducing other spending to ensure the budget for this goal is available.
You can even go further with setting mini-budgets for daily activities. For example, come up with a reasonable amount of money that covers meals, tickets, discretionary spending, if possible, for each day or week. By doing so, you can share this budget with everyone, including young children, to include them in the decision making.
Avoid major upgrades
Try to stick to your plans as much as possible. Research your options ahead of your trip and try not to make rush decisions when you’re checking in at a hotel, a theme park, and airport, etc. There certainly are many options for every activity, and while some complementary upgrades are nice and free, others come at a hidden price.
For example, be cautious of upgrades that might cause you even more spending. For example, a much larger rental car could use more petrol. A fancier hotel that is secluded may have limited dining options, which increase your costs. So don’t get carried away by one factor, and disregard the overall potential impact on your budget.
By Rania Oteify
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