5 ways to control your vacation budget

2 MIN READ | #blog

You work hard. You deserve a vacation, whether you go with family or friends or go solo. But what happens when your budget starts spiraling out of control? Here are five strategies to keep your dream vacation from turning into a nightmare:

1. Estimate your cost ahead of time

Research your vacation costs. Be realistic about what you are likely to spend, depending on your desired destination and activities. Check hotel prices, airfare, food costs and transportation expenses. Knowing what to expect is the first step toward creating a realistic budget that you have a better chance of sticking to.

2. Look for ways to cut costs

Now that you know what your vacation is going to cost, it’s time to find ways to reduce those expenses. List out the costs related to your vacation. Next, tackle each expense individually. Start with travel. Play around with flexible dates and off-peak times. For dining and other activities, sign up with online discount sites to take advantage of restaurant deals and discounted activities at your location. Once you start looking for deals, you might be surprised at your ability to cut costs.

3. Break it down and save up

Once you know how much your vacation will cost, it’s time to break it down into manageable chunks. Your best bet is to plan ahead and save up over time. If your vacation will cost $2,000, start planning 10 months ahead of time. Set aside $200 a month (or $50 a week) for your vacation. Saving up ahead of time can keep you out of debt and make your vacation that much sweeter.

4. Use loyalty and rewards programs

Check to see if your loyalty and credit card rewards programs come with partners. Sometimes, if you book a hotel through a loyalty program, you can get a discount on a car rental. And use your credit card rewards programs to build points that you can use toward your vacation travel. Consider swiping a rewards credit card to buy groceries or gas rather than using your checking account debit card. As long as you keep your spending within your regular budget and pay off the card at the end of the month, you’ll reap the rewards. Then use the points to reduce what you spend on your vacation. Don’t forget to use a rewards card and loyalty programs while on your vacation. Your earned points from the spending can offset more of your costs, or be used toward your next vacation.

5. Avoid impulse purchases

Watch out for impulse buys. From overpriced souvenirs to costly tours, you might be tempted to make extra purchases. If you want flexibility in your vacation spending, build spontaneous spending into your overall budget. Rather than planning for $2,000, plan for $2,500. That way, you have a little more leeway for the unexpected.

Your vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little planning and creativity, you can avoid stressing over money.

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