3 Tips For Planning a Budget-Friendly Vacation

When it comes to vacationing, there’s no getting around the fact that money will be spent — and sometimes a lot of it. But there are ways to lower your overall costs to minimize the burden vacationing puts on your wallet. Check out these tips to learn how to plan a fun, affordable trip.
Understand Where Your Money Is Going
When you start planning your vacation, it’s only natural to begin by researching the accommodation and hotel prices, but is that really the bulk of your vacation budget? Sometimes it is, but a majority of the time people spend more money on activities, souvenirs, and food than they do paying travel and hotel expenses.

To limit your vacation expenses, you need to sit down and create a budget for your trip. When creating it, you need to look at the costs on a per-person, per-day basis. For example, you might plan to spend an average of $10 per person per meal while you’re away. If you’re planning a trip for four people for five days, your food budget for three meals per day would be $120 or $600 total. Now, you might spend more one day and less than that the next day, but as long as you don’t go over the $600 limit for your trip, you stay within your budget. 

Keep in mind, if you plan far enough ahead, you can plan your trip so you spend less on vacation meals. For example, if you want to save money on food, some things you might research while planning your trip include: Groupon offers for more costly restaurants in the area, the location of the grocery store closest to your hotel, and some local restaurant options that are ideal for grabbing a quick, cheap lunch. Also, it’s a good idea to have a few restaurant options on hand that are close to the area where you’ll be on any given day. This way you avoid stopping at a restaurant on a whim and spending a cool $100 for one meal.

You should also set limits on the costs of activities, souvenirs, and anything else you plan to purchase during your trip. However, if you do encounter any unexpected expenditures, check out short-term lenders like BlueTrustLoans.com that can help you obtain extra cash quickly when you’re in a pinch.
Look for Low-Cost Destinations
By the time you start planning your trip, you probably have a good idea of what type of location you want to visit — the beach, mountains, city, etc. Once you know what type of vacation you’re planning, you can start comparing destinations. 

Also, be flexible when choosing a vacation destination. Typically, it’s more expensive to vacation in areas that are popular tourist spots. But if you do a bit of research, you’ll often find nearby locations that are just as nice and cheaper than your original option. For example, if you’ve decided you want to plan a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, you should consider visiting Surfside Beach instead. The smaller, lesser-known community practically butts up against Myrtle Beach, but because it’s not a huge tourist destination, accommodations and necessities are cheaper — and you can still visit all of Myrtle Beach’s main attractions because it’s only a 10-minute drive away.
Decide Whether to Fly or Drive
If you have a tight budget, you should try to look for vacation destinations that are within a day’s drive from your home. Even though you can find cheap flights, when you add up the cost of plane tickets for each family member, the cost of checking your bags, and the cost to rent a vehicle once you arrive, it’s almost always going to be cheaper to drive than it is to fly

The one exception to this rule is when you’re visiting a large city with excellent public transportation options. Then, it may be cheaper to fly because you won’t have to pay for a rental car and parking.

You don’t have to spend a small fortune to take a vacation. If you take the time to plan out your trip details in advance and continuously look for ways to save money, it’s easy to plan a budget-friendly vacation.

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