As the days get longer and the temperature starts to rise, many people start planning a getaway for a small portion of summer. Escaping to a secluded beach or a family-friendly theme park is on the agenda for millions each season, but the financial stress of a vacation can deter some from getting out of dodge for a week or two. When the cost of the hotel, airfare or gas for the car, food, and activities are added together, vacationing can quickly add up to a hefty amount. Here are a few tips for creating and sticking to a budget to avoid unnecessary financial pitfalls this vacation season.
Save in Advance
One of the best things anyone can do when thinking about a vacation is to save well in advance of the trip. Setting aside money from income doesn’t come easily to most, but small tweaks to financial habits can create a greater possibility of hitting a set savings mark over time. First, consider automating the process. Pick an amount that works well with your other monthly expenses, and create an automatic transfer to a savings account each time a paycheck comes in. It may also be helpful to create a savings account separate from other everyday accounts that is earmarked specifically for travel.
Not only is it necessary to review monthly expenses in order to create automatic savings, but it is also important to understand what will be spent on the vacation itself. Renting a hotel room, paying for airfare, and renting a car to drive to the destination are the most common expenses to tally. However, vacationers must also evaluate what it will cost to eat, participate in local activities, or do some souvenir shopping while out of town. A best practice with reviewing expenses specific to the vacation is to overestimate the costs so that there is less shock when the trip is said and done.
Borrow for the Trip
If creating automatic savings and reviewing the vacation budget aren’t feasible well in advance of the trip, you may consider borrowing to spread out the expense over time. Getting a short term loan from local lenders may be a smart move if cash on hand is light and you have the means to repay the borrowed balance once the vacation is over. These are easily accessible even online, with companies like The Net Lender providing fast and simple solutions in minutes. Taking out a small loan provides a lump sum without the need for tapping into savings up front. Before making this move, be sure to spot check what you can easily afford to repay each month, as well as the total amount needed for the upcoming trip. These considerations will ensure you do not borrow more than you can realistically afford.
Developing a budget for travel in advance and knowing the options for borrowing in case savings doesn’t fully foot the bill are smart methods to plan for a vacation. In addition, getting creative with a getaway can help bring the total cost down, whether it is a solo trip, a romantic vacation for two, or a family affair. Consider looking into discounted tickets for activities in or near the destination that may be available online, and search for things to do or places to see that do not carry a cost. Museums, a trip to a local beach, and window shopping in a downtown area are all enjoyable activities that carry zero cost. Combining these tips with an actionable budget and savings plan in advance should make your next vacation a memorable, cost-effective trip.