(Catherine is a guest blogger from Catherine Alford.)
Don’t you just love the sound of waves gently rolling onto the shore or the clink of the ice in your glass of sweet tea? Ahhh, it sounds like summer: the perfect time for a vacation.
Of course, some other common sounds on vacation might be the cha ching of your credit cards, a pain you might not feel until you get home and look at your bill.
I’ve been on vacations before where I’ve overspent and other vacations where I’ve budgeted every penny. I have to tell you; budgeting makes vacation more enjoyable, and I fully plan on doing so when I go on my own family vacation this summer.
It’s not that people want to overspend on vacation. In fact, many families try to have a spending limit in mind before they even pack their bags. However, there’s just something about being away from your normal routine that just inspires a bit more spending, whether it’s on eating out, shopping, or spending more on entertainment.
If this sounds like you or this is something your family has struggled with in the past, you’re not alone! Here are 3 ideas to help you make sure you don’t break the budget while on vacation this year:
One way to combat vacation overspending is by leaving your credit cards at home. There are enough temptations to overspend your budget on vacation without taking a credit card with a large limit along on your trip. Instead, you should make a spending budget in cash and make sure you’ve allotted funds for every member of your family to have some money to do the activities they want to do on your trip.
Of course, if your kids are young, you can help them make decisions about how to make the most of their vacation spending budget, but if your kids are older, they should be responsible for keeping track of their own spending money. Make sure they know that once it’s gone, it’s gone. Additionally, everyone should be careful when walking around with cash and only take out a small amount at a time, leaving the rest in a hotel safe.
Once you are in the thick of planning your trip, you might find that you really wish you had a little more money to spend on your vacation. Instead of relying on your credit card to fill that gap, one great way to generate more cash is to pick up a side hustle to earn a little extra spending money. This could be as simple as holding a big garage sale at the beginning of the summer or as time intensive as delivering pizzas at night after work.
This is also a great idea when it comes to your kids and their vacation budgets. For example, if they want more spending money than you put in their cash envelope, as suggested above, make sure they work for any extra cash by doing harder chores around the house, getting a part-time job, or picking up a side hustle, like babysitting.
When planning your trip, you can help make sure you stay within your vacation budget by doing some extra research. Make sure your flights, hotels, and entertainment options are as low as you can find. You can also consider some alternative options to help save on your trip, like staying at an AirBnb instead of a hotel and always checking for coupons and online codes when booking. Remember to always call a hotel directly if you can find a lower price elsewhere and see if they can throw in an upgrade if you decide to book directly through them. Remember, you can’t get what you don’t ask for!
Once you are on your vacation, ask around to see where the locals eat and shop. Locals will have the inside scoop on the best places to go and things to see. This will help you have more authentic experience. Plus, things that are outside of the “tourist area” will likely be more cost-effective too.
Ultimately, it’s absolutely possible to go on vacation and not overspend. You just have to go into your vacation with a plan, a budget, and the discipline to make it happen. I promise it’s easier than it sounds and that you’ll truly have more fun on vacation this way. As a bonus, you’ll actually be relaxed when you get home, too!
Are you going on a vacation this summer? How do you plan to have a good time without breaking your budget?
Check out more posts about travel and finance!