Your Budget Likes to Travel Too
Vacations are great, and we should take them when we can afford to. One thing we tend to do, though…we leave our budgets at home when we vacation. We tend to think that taking some time off also means taking time off from our responsible spending habits. Well, your budget wants you to know, it wants to come with you…your budget likes to travel too.
You know that sinking feeling you get when you just spend, spend, spend blindly? It’s hard to relax and enjoy your vacation when you have that feeling. Budgeting your vacation spending will provide peace while you travel and peace when you come home.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. You probably have already identified a total amount you can or want to spend while you are away. Start with that number and then break it down into categories, much the same way you would do your regular monthly budget. If you haven’t identified that total number yet, that’s okay. Planning your budget will reveal that amount.
Here are the basic categories to budget.
Figure out which meals you expect to purchase daily and the average amount per meal.
Local transportation, taxis, car rental, gas, etc.
Museum visits, tours, amusement park fees, attractions, entertainment, etc.
Souvenirs, shopping, pocket money, food outside of meals, etc.
Tipping at the hotel, etc.
Set aside a little extra for the unexpected.
Figure out your total.
You may have more, less, or different categories in your situation. Once you’ve identified what they are, figure out the daily amount you will need to spend in each category. This may involve a little guesswork. That’s okay. Research what you can and guesstimate the rest.
Multiply the daily total by the number of days you will be away. Remember to include any spending you will need to do when travelling to and from your destination. You now will have a total amount for each category, and a total for your vacation.
Tips to sticking to your vacation budget
When you’re determining your amounts in each category, set yourself up to stick to the budget by being realistic. Even overestimate a little within reason.
Use Cash and Envelopes
Using cash increases your chance of staying within your budget. This may be trickier if you’re country-hopping, but still doable. If you’re worried about safety, take advantage of your hotel safe and only carry around what you’ll need for the day.
Record Your Spending
At the end of each day, subtract what you’ve spent to see what you have left in each category. If you choose to use plastic, you’re not excused from this step! Count down the same way you would if you were using cash.
If you realize you underfunded a category, consider using money from another.
So, don’t leave your budget at home the next time you travel. It wants to see the world too. Give it a chance to fund your trip up the Eiffel Tower and buy those Mickey Mouse ears you’ll never wear again.