For most people the money for a trip is not just sitting in the bank. When planning a trip it is a wise idea to set up a budget for it.
The earlier your start the better it is for you. Even if you have not finalized the plans on where to go and how much it will cost you can start putting aside some funds to help. Set a target for when you would like to travel even if it is two years out. A little each week is easier than coming up with a large amount all at once. The more you save and have ready for the trip the less likely you will be to spend on credit and then spend months trying to pay it off.
Dave started a long time ago saving change…..it is easier to get and less missed. When either of us come home each day he takes all the change. He made a bank out of a large decorative tin that held popcorn. In the beginning he just riveted the top on and then we saved for a long time before opening. As the years have gone by he now only keeps it in the tin and periodically opens it and may stick it in a savings account if it is a high amount. This method has been very successful for us to help with the trip funds. He also decided a while back to cut out the morning run to Tim Horton’s and has opted to take $20 a week ($1040 a year) and put in the can instead. We also put any kind of ‘unexpected money’ in as well. It really adds up quickly that way. Some weeks we put in a bit extra just for good measure, Dave likes to say things like ‘we were out today and didn’t eat lunch so I am throwing in $20’.
Another way to budget is to set a specific amount per pay aside into an account and watch it build. You could also try strategies like taking a percentage of your income tax return or if you got a raise take a percentage of that…….so if your raise was $50 a week you did not have that before so take half $25 and put it aside, that way you still get a raise of $25 to use everyday and a happy sum to use in the future. If you do this the first pay and keep it up you will not miss the money.
Some people have a yard sale or sell handicrafts for example and take the money they earn to put towards a trip. This could kill two birds with one stone and help clear out the unused items you have around the house. The possibilities are endless.
The second part of budgeting is when you are making your travel plans. Be realistic, do you need to spend that much, check out the prices, the same trip or flight could be cheaper elsewhere, sometimes adjusting your dates makes it cheaper. Getting the best bang for your buck is important and also gives you a great feeling. Some destinations offer coupons and deals for attractions, check online and ask others. When we went to Alaska we had a coupon book that I researched, it cost us $99 to purchase but we saved a lot of money using the coupons. We actually used it for some excursions on our cruise. We went on the same excursion, on the same bus with others from the cruise for half price in some instances with a two for one ticket. It did not take long to pay for itself. A good place to start to look for these is the travel bureau for the place you are going, the rest is word of mouth and online searches. Go onto travel forums and ask if anyone knows of anything for discounts, someone may be able to help you find a great site.
While on your trip it is a good idea to plan your expenses. For instance if you know you are going somewhere that you assume you will spend a lot on the second last day of the trip, you will want to think about how much to put aside so that you do not over spend earlier.
Spending while on vacation can be easy to do so you need to keep a mental note, record on your phone or even have a small notebook to track your spending. In our early travel days we bought a lot of souvenirs, some of which are now in boxes, as we matured as travelers we have bought less. Before buying that trinket think to yourself do we really want this item and what will we do with it at home, where will it go.
Some people only use cash on holiday so they will not be tempted to use credit and have access to more than they have saved. We tend to use a mix of cash and credit. I never use credit unless it is somewhere I feel secure with their systems like a major hotel chain, the Disney properties or onboard a cruise ship.
The main thing is to know how much you can afford and plan accordingly. There are trips for every budget and you can have a wonderful trip whether you spend a ton or a modest amount.