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Building a Vacation Budget 101: How to Plan a Cost-Effective Trip

June 26, 2023


With warm weather finally here to stay, many families have begun thinking about taking a summer vacation. However, rising costs of travel means gone are the days when a family could choose to just take a vacation on a whim. Instead, extensive planning from a monetary standpoint is necessary to ensure the vacation doesn’t accidentally put you into debt. 

How Expensive is the Average Vacation?

To understand why budgeting for a vacation is so important, a person needs to learn just how expensive vacations have gotten. The average week-long vacation for a single person costs as much as $1,578, meaning the cost of a family of four could be close to $6,000 for just one week. Very few people can afford this cost upfront and out-of-pocket, which is why spur-of-the-moment vacations are a thing of the past. 

7 Effective Budgeting Tips for a Vacation

When planning your next vacation, whether that’s to Pigeon Forge’s top-rated attractions or the beaches of Miami, learning how to save money well in advance is important. The following seven tips are the best way to go about this: 

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Book activities well in advance

One of the best ways to save money ahead of a vacation is to simply book the activities you want to partake in months in advance. Many activity vendors will offer discounts if an activity is booked ahead of time, which is an easy way to save a couple of books. In addition to this, a traveller can set price drop notifications so that they become aware when the price is lower. 

Travel in the off-season

Another simple way to save money on vacation is to travel during the off-season when fewer tourists are in the area. Keep in mind that the activities offered will likely be different, especially if there are four seasons, so travelling during this time may mean not getting to do everything you want.

Consider alternative forms of accommodation

Rather than staying in an expensive hotel, consider looking into other forms of accommodations which may be cheaper. A popular alternative to consider is vacation rentals, which allow a person to book a house or apartment that is owned by another person for a short period of time. 

Set a maximum budget amount

All vacation budgets need to have a maximum spend amount established so that a person doesn’t accidentally spend more than they can afford. Calculate this amount based on your current income level and how much money you have already saved up. 

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Don’t forget to factor in the little things

When on a vacation, don’t forget to think about the little expenses that may occur on the trip. Whether it is food costs, general grocery costs, souvenirs, or something similar, taking these small costs into account on a budget is crucial. Even if there is just a blanket amount of money set aside for these items, it’s better than not including them at all. 

Think about using public transportation

While rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular over the year due to their convenience and benefits, they aren’t cheap. Especially in tourist towns where it’s known there aren’t many other options, these companies tend to raise prices. This is why it’s worth taking public transportation if it is available in the area you are visiting. The cost will likely be far cheaper than rideshare, and you may be able to get around faster in some cities. 

Pack properly 

Finally, another small way to reduce the cost of your next vacation is to simply pack smarter ahead of time. Carrying a large suitcase may result in needing to pay extra luggage fees or hiring a bigger car to drive you around. By packing light, however, a person can end up saving money in more ways than one. 

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Plan a fun and affordable vacation

To get a vacation on the calendar that leaves you excited, yet also with money left in the bank, it’s crucial to take the time to plan your budget effectively. Use each of the above tips to ensure that you have money left over for the small things on your trip. Additionally, the best way to budget for a vacation is to start saving up for months in advance, so try to set a small amount of money aside on a monthly basis for your travels. 

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