If you take an annual summer vacation, the poor state of the economy may leave you wondering. Should you take a vacation? Should you stay closer to home? Should you cut expenses? What expenses should you cut and how? If these are questions you have, please continue reading on for 5 tips on setting a summer vacation budget. A budget can help you plan a great summer vacation, even with limited financial resources.
1 – Decide on a Budget Total First
How much money do you have to spend on a summer vacation? Have a general idea ahead of time. It will be easier to plan your summer vacation on a budget when you know how much you are able to spend. For example, do you have $2,000 stashed away in your savings account? Do you want to use all of that $2,000 or just part of it? Having a set total in mind will make it easier to cut corners and expenses as you go along.
2 – Start Planning the Vacation of your Dreams
Do you live in New York and have you been dreaming of the beautiful beaches of South Florida? If so, plan that trip. Even if you are vacationing on a budget, you can and should still have the vacation of your dreams. If it is too expensive, focus on cutting corners. For example, opt for dinner two nights at a casual dining restaurant or a fast food establishment instead of a fancy five star restaurant. Yes, it is important to save money, but don’t settle for a second rate vacation. Honestly, there is no point in vacationing at all if you won’t have a good time.
3 – Estimate the Cost of Everything
When setting a budget, you need to know how much money you have available to spend, which you determined above, and how much you can expect to pay. It is easy to calculate the cost of travel itself. Request a free airline quote or calculate the miles to your destination and the cost of gas. Overnight accommodations are also easy. You can request a free quote ahead of time to know how much a stay at a motel, hotel, resort, or private rental costs. The problem comes with food and activities. Estimate to the best of your ability.
4 – Overestimate
When estimating the cost of your summer vacation, especially activities, attractions, and food, it is best to overestimate. If you underestimate the cost of travel and related expenses, you may find yourself skimping on your last meals to prevent going over your budget. If you overestimate, the worst that will happen is that you have money left over. At a casual dining restaurant, you could easily expect to pay $8 for a one-person meal. That may be cutting it close, so overestimate up to $10. Remember, the worst that will happen is that you will end up with extra money in your pocket. That is much better than not having enough.
5 – Work on Reducing Expenses
You should now have a list of your summer vacation costs. Your lists should include the cost of air travel, overnight stays, food, activities, attractions, and souvenirs. Total those costs and compare to the money you have available to spend. If your dream vacation will cost too much, work on cutting corners. Shorten your trip by a day or two, opt for cheaper restaurants, depart for your vacation on Wednesday instead of Friday to lower the cost of airfare, price compare to find the cheap hotels, and so forth. There are many ways to cut corners and expenses. These were just a few examples.
In short, you don’t have to be rich to have the summer vacation of your dreams. With careful planning, a budget, and a detailed list of estimated expenses, you can have the perfect vacation even with limited financial resources.