How to plan a vacation on a budget

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Going on vacation is fun, arriving home with a large credit card bill isn’t. To help you avoid overspending and going into debt, check out our complete guide to budgeting for your next vacation.

Create a simple vacation budget

The first step of any vacation should be calculating what you can afford to spend. It might not be the most exciting part of planning your getaway, but it’s a crucial one! When creating your budget, be realistic about what you can afford and what things will cost. Of course, we all hope things will be less expensive, but underestimating will only hurt your budget in the long run.

Learn how to create a simple budget—and stick to it.

Once you’ve determined what you can comfortably spend, make a list of places you would like to visit and price out the larger expenses like transportation, lodging, and activities. Then, see which destination you can afford before figuring out the smaller details. Taking the time to budget your trip will not only help you feel more secure in your finances but could also reveal some cool experiences or places you may have missed without researching first.

Take time to do your research

Research is what will help you save money and create a budget-friendly vacation. The type of research that can save you the most money is on hotels and flights.

The prices of hotel rooms and flights fluctuate throughout the year based on season, holidays, and demand. Waiting to book at a lower price could mean pushing summer trips back a few months to take advantage of low-season prices. Also, consider booking tickets to museums or local attractions ahead of time as some tourist destinations offer online discounts; others may offer tourist passes that bundle multiple attractions and local transportation.

Cut food costs

Sometimes we end up being busier on vacation than we are at home. This can mean spending a lot of time on your feet and working up an appetite. If you don’t pay attention, your meal bills can quickly add up between popular restaurants, local delicacies, or road trip snacks to pass the time. Throwing some of your favourite snacks in your luggage or stopping by a grocery store can cut down on your food costs and keep your vacation party from getting hangry.

Another way you can cut food costs is by choosing the food offered at your hotel. Avoid the expensive snacks in your room and mini-bar; instead take advantage of the continental breakfast if your hotel has one. It might mean getting up a bit earlier than you’d like, but a big, free meal is worth it. It also never hurts to ask if guests get a discount at the hotel restaurant or if there are other special perks.

Rethink how you vacation

If you can’t make a family trip work this year, consider making some new family traditions. Consider taking a road trip to visit relatives instead of flying, or see if everyone can meet in the middle and share an adventure. If big trips are completely out of the budget, consider taking a day trip. You’d be surprised how many interesting things exist within a couple of hours of your home.

If you still want a night away, consider camping for an inexpensive accommodation and a whole experience in and of itself. Just make sure you don’t get sucked into buying all sorts of expensive new gear. Instead, consider buying camping supplies second-hand or borrowing from friends or family. Then, if you enjoy the experience, you can save up and invest in high-quality gear for next year.

If debt and interest payments are slowing down your summer plans, it might be time to contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). A LIT can help you renegotiate your terms with creditors and make your payments more manageable. Book your free, no-judgment consultation and start the road to debt freedom today.

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