The average person can’t afford to just pick up one day and go on a vacation without notice. Most of us need to plan ahead, sometimes far in advance. We’ve all read the books and articles about how to save for a vacation cut out your daily cup of coffee, skip eating out at lunch for a while, save your loose change, etc. Those are indeed all great ways to save for your vacation ahead of time and it is encouraged to use some of those methods to create a realistic budget for your trip ahead of time.
What I am here to talk about, though, is what most people forget to budget for, those extra expenses for a fun night out, some excursions, that souvenir you have to have and so much more. Be sure to be realistic with your budget and plan for the unexpected, leave some wiggle room to enjoy those extras. There is nothing worse than being in a beautiful place, with beautiful people, and not being able to indulge at all. Don’t get me wrong, if I had the choice of going on the trip at all or doing the extras, I’d still go and skimp on those things, but if you want to make the most out of your trip, I advise to plan for the extras.
Simply saying you’ll save a certain amount for food, lodging, entertainment, etc. isn’t a good idea. Some things, like lodging, are easy to define ahead of time, but food and entertainment can be very tricky. Be sure to research food and local cuisine ahead of time so you know what you may or may not be interested in. To be safe, take your budget and add an additional 10 or 15% buffer to it for food, you won’t regret it. Once you get to your location, you’re bound to meet some locals or learn about some amazing places you’ll surely want to experience.
Now that we’ve mastered budgeting for food, let’s move onto entertainment, the tricky one. Sure, you can look online and make some calls to find the main activities you want to enjoy; museums, aquariums, amusement parks, going to a live show, attending a sporting event, etc., but there will always be extra activities you’ll find along the way. Again, buffer your budget, add at least 20% for entertainment so you’ll be able to enjoy all that you desire.
You now know about saving ahead of time and where to add a buffer to your budget, and now it’s important to know some basic tricks for saving money along the way or ahead of time. Look into the benefits of getting a AAA Membership, convert your currency ahead of time, use coupons for fast food restaurants if you are driving to your destination, pack snacks in your carry on or pack a cooler, spring for a fridge in your accommodations so you can save leftovers or buy some simple groceries, and look for accommodations that include food and drinks, if possible, so it’s easier to budget. If you enjoy sporting events or the casino atmosphere, seeking out all-inclusive accommodations will give you extra time and save on the Uber fee so you can play a few extra hands of blackjack. Side note: Uber is an inexpensive way to get around while traveling, if available. Most of all, once all the planning and budgeting is done, you’ll have time to truly enjoy yourself without being stressed about money.