In just over a week, my family and I will be packing our bags, loading up the van and driving to Florida for a vacation. Since we don’t have unlimited funds, we’ve been saving money for months to pay for our trip. Budgeting our trip to fit within the funds that we have is just part of our planning process to ensure we don’t go into debt to pay for our vacation. But as careful as we are, sometimes there are expenses that slip through the cracks and put us in a mode of having to revaluate our spending plan on the fly.
Here are some common expenses that need to be kept in mind to hold a vacation budget:
Whether you’re driving across the country or to a nearby airport, the cost of gas to get there and back is an expense that should go into the vacation budget. The further you’re driving, the larger of an expense it is. Since the price of gas fluctuates, you may have to recalculate this expense several times leading up to your trip dates.
On our drive to and from Florida, we’ll be staying in several hotels. While my wife has worked hard to get us the very best price for these accommodations, they still need to be part of the spending plan.
We usually allocate an amount per day to spend while at our destination. But we also have to make sure we take into account meals needed while traveling. This is several days worth of meals for our trip, but even when traveling by plane there may be an airport meal or two that needs to be accounted for.
If traveling by car in an unfamiliar area, you may encounter toll roads. This is easy for me to overlook because we don’t have toll roads anywhere in the area in which I live. But, traveling through other major metropolitan areas on our way to Florida will require tolls. It’s a good idea to research your route, and find out whether any toll payments will be required.
If traveling by plane, the cost of your airline ticket will not be sufficient to get you to where you’re going. Most airlines will charge for some or even all of your checked luggage. Some airlines now even charge for carry on bags. Research the policy of the airline you’re using, and know ahead of time how much you’ll be paying to transport your luggage.
Whenever I’m going on a vacation, I have an amount allocated that can be used for unplanned expenses, or when things end up being more costly than expected. It can also be used for vacation activities you hadn’t planned on but would like to add to the spending plan. For example, once in Florida maybe I’ll decide I really want to go para-sailing, or rent a jet-ski. It’s not in our original spending plan, but it sounds like fun. Thank you slush fund!
Going on vacation is supposed to be a break from the hustle and bustle of every day life. Taking a break from budgeting and being mindful your spending is never a good idea. But by carefully and accurately planning your expenses, you can put your spending on cruise control, and enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
What vacation expenses have you forgotten about? Did you have to reshuffle your vacation spending because of it?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock