With the weather starting to warm up, more and more people are going to consider putting a vacation on their calendars. However, rising costs and an increased number of travelers mean that taking extra time to plan your vacation is all the more important. After all, a vacation is supposed to be relaxing but if you are constantly stressed out by what to do next or the cost of activities, you won’t be able to enjoy your trip. To that end, learn everything you need to know about properly planning a vacation.
How Expensive Are Modern Vacations?
While it’s easy to fall out of touch with the cost of vacations, especially if you haven’t taken one in some time, determining the cost of your trip is important for your overall budget. Unfortunately, prices are at an all-time high for various reasons ranging from inflation to increased demand for travel, and everything in between.
For a one-week-long vacation, a person can expect to pay over $1,500 for just themselves, meaning the average vacation for a family of four will cost around $6,000. While certain factors can influence this cost for better or worse such as location, this benchmark value serves as a good starting point for any vacation budget.
Tips for Building a Budget Ahead of a Vacation
Given the above-outlined cost of taking a vacation, it’s crucial to start building a budget for your vacation months in advance of the trip. Each of the following four tips can help a person set aside enough money to have a successful and fun vacation:
1. Set up a dedicated travel savings account
All travelers should have a savings account that is dedicated to travel set up well in advance of their vacation. These savings should have funds deposited into it on a monthly basis after all other normal savings have been contributed to, in order to build up a fund for your trip. Ideally, this amount will be enough to cover some or all of your vacation costs.
2. Set price notifications for flights, hotels, and activities
In addition to having travel savings account set up, a person should also set price notifications for any bookings they may have coming up. Whether it’s a flight, hotel, or even activity costs, turn on these notifications so you know when prices are the lowest. It’s always best to handle bookings ahead of time, rather than on your trip, as you can likely get lower costs.
3. Set a timeline for your savings goals
Having a savings account is one thing, but accurately putting money away is another thing entirely. Set a savings goal for your account on a monthly basis so that you are certain you are putting enough money away to make a difference when your trip actually occurs. The average vacation ends up being around 2% of a household’s annual budget, so use this figure as a starting point for your goals.
4. Set the “absolute musts” for your budget
Regardless of having a budget, you don’t want to restrict yourself while on your planning a vacation. The best way to ensure you have fun while also saving money is to set a number of “must haves” for your trip. Whether these are sights you wish to see or things you wish to do, setting these will help ensure you have a good time on your trip.
Beneficial Ways to Save Money While on a Trip
Beyond all of the above budgeting tips, there are four primary ways to further save money while you are on vacation. These methods include:
1. Utilize luggage storage services
Luggage storage services, such as those offered in Lisbon, allow a person to store their luggage for an extended period of time at a low cost. This allows you to immerse yourself in Lisbon’s art scene without the worry of luggage, all while saving money. In addition to this, there are many cities around the world that offer this service, making it widespread and useful.
2. Use credit card rewards points to gain cash
For those who are avid credit card users, taking the time to see how many reward points you have saved up can save you plenty of money. These rewards can be redeemed for cash or converted directly into purchases for flights, activities, hotels, and more on your trip.
3. Travel during the off-season
A simple way to save more money on planning a vacation is to travel during the off-season, as opposed to traveling when everyone else is going to a destination. Locations often offer significant discounts for accommodations and activities when it isn’t tourist season. While it may not be ideal weather conditions or certain activities may not be available, the amount of money you can save for your trip can make it more than worth it.
4. Consider staying in a vacation rental instead of a hotel
Finally, a unique way to save money is to stay in a vacation rental instead of a hotel. By renting a house or apartment for a short period of time, as opposed to a hotel, you can cook your own food which can save you hundreds of dollars. The upfront cost may turn some people away from a vacation rental, but the overall cost will still be less than booking a hotel and cooking food as well.
The Bottom Line
The rising costs associated with vacations and the larger number of travelers mean that all those planning a vacation need to take extra steps to prepare. Consider the average cost of travel nowadays and determine what you can reasonably afford without going into debt, all while using some of the above tips to further reduce your costs. Plan all activities ahead of time so that you can have a game plan once you actually reach your destination, so as to completely remove stress from your trip.