5 Ways to Stick to Your Vacation Budget

Setting a vacation budget is one of the smartest things you can do, but sticking to it is another challenge. No budget, whether for a vacation or monthly expenses, is going to be effective unless you have the strategies and the willpower to abide by it. Fortunately, there are a number of approaches you can take to make sure you not only create a budget that works for you but follow it. Vacations already have a lot of loose cannons getting blasted off all over the place—your budget doesn’t need to be one of them.

You also don’t need to bypass service in order to enjoy a great vacation on a budget. You can get quality service from everything from car leases and maintenance checks to working with budget-friendly tourism companies with a little research. Always check unbiased, third-party review sites and/or ask for word of mouth recommendations. The testimonials on most sites, whether you’re looking to rent a car for a road trip or checking out the best ziplining in Costa Rica, don’t mean much. After all, why would a company put anything but glowing testimonials online?

Ready to start planning a budget-friendly trip that’s actually attainable? Here are five tips to get started:

1. Make sure your vehicle is up to snuff.

Going on a road trip is a hallmark of summer, but it can quickly spiral out of control if your mode of transportation isn’t high-quality. Make sure you check your lease details if you have a leased vehicle so that you don’t go over the miles. There are high-mile leases available, and if you really love your ride, you might be able to ask about transitioning to a different type of lease. Otherwise, consider borrowing a friend’s car or renting a car.

Renting is one of the best ways to decrease wear and tear on your own vehicle and preserve miles. Plus, on the off chance that you do have a roadside emergency, you’re guaranteed the fastest service and likely a swapped rental vehicle on the spot. It gives you peace of mind and is surprisingly affordable.

Renting a car also gives you a chance to check out another type of vehicle in case you’re in the market for one. You can also upgrade to get more luxuries, such as built-in GPS, or enjoy a larger vehicle with more trunk space for increased comfort. Road trips are a fantastic way to see the world, but not if the vehicle you’re in isn’t well-maintained and comfortable.

2. Take out cash for on-the-go spending

One of the best ways to make sure you stick to any budget is operating on a cash system. Studies have shown that people are less willing to spend cash than use a credit or debit card. There’s something that’s a lot more “real” about cash, making it a great way to save.

You can separate cash into envelopes based on days, and always tuck aside special amounts of cash for dedicated outings (such as amusement parks or a decadent dinner out). Keep cards with you in case of emergency, and always lock cash up in hotel safes.

3. Stay with friends or check out home sharing in lieu of hotels

The best way to explore a new place while on vacation is to stay with a local. If you have friends in the region where you’re staying, take them up on their hospitality. Otherwise, check out options for home sharing such as AirBnB. Prices are often lower than hotels, and you’ll get upgrades such as full kitchens so you can cook at home instead of always having to dine out. It’s one of the best ways to save, and you can always swing by local farmer’s markets to pick up regional ingredients. Get a real taste of the region without over-spending on eating out for every meal.

4. Think up fun, low-cost memorabilia that fits in your budget

It’s always fun to pick up a keepsake or two while you travel, but if you don’t go into a vacation with an idea of what that might be you can get into trouble. Some people collect holiday ornaments, shot glasses, or magnets. There are plenty of options for low-cost keepsakes, and it can become a personal or family tradition while traveling. Commit to only collecting one or two affordable items, and steer clear of impulse purchases.

5. Check out free destinations in the city you visit

There are always multitudes of free options wherever you may go, from festivals to free entrance days at museums to parks and visiting local landmarks. Spend some time researching your destination and pick out all of the freebies. You’ll be able to easily fill your days with complimentary outings which won’t just save you money because of the lack of entry fee, but will also keep you busy and less at risk of spending out of boredom.

Vacations often cost more than you expect, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Challenge yourself to save, think outside the box, and you’ll enjoy a happier return from vacation, too.

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Setting a vacation budget is one of the smartest things you can do, but sticking to it is another challenge. Check out these 5 tips to save on vacation.

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