Your Budget Likes to Travel Too

May 24, 2016

Aaaahhhh….vacation. A time to relax and temporarily abandon our schedules and routines. A time to – depending on what type of vacationer you are – enjoy a jammed-packed itinerary of activities or forgo anything that slightly resembles a schedule.

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?

Whether you’re taking a stay-cation, going on a cruise, or traveling to another country, budgeting how much you plan to spend while you’re on your vacation is so important. Like a pet left unattended, a budget left at home will potentially destroy your “house”.

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.

Meals

Figure out which meals you expect to purchase daily and the average amount per meal.

Transportation

Local transportation, taxis, car rental, gas, etc.

Activities

Museum visits, tours, amusement park fees, attractions, entertainment, etc.

Spending

Souvenirs, shopping, pocket money, food outside of meals, etc.

Gratuities

Tipping at the hotel, etc.

Miscellaneous

Set aside a little extra for the unexpected.

Having a plan will remove the guilt of buying that $12 bag of popcorn at Disney.

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

Be Realistic

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.

Be Flexible

If you realize you underfunded a category, consider using money from another.

Your budget wants to see the world too.

Budgeting your vacation spending does not need to be a restrictive experience. Rather, it will provide you with a sense of control because you have a game plan – and having a plan will remove the guilt of buying that $12 bag of popcorn at Disney.

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.

 

What tips would you add to budgeting for vacation spending? Please let me know in the comments below.