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  • Budgeting for Your Next Getaway

    Whether its lounging on a beach in Mexico, hiking through the Grand Canyon, or exploring the hustle and bustle of a big city, your dream vacation can become a reality with careful budgeting and preparation. While some individuals find joy in the meticulous planning process, we understand that not everyone is the hyper-organized planner. That’s why we created a simple guide to help you budget for your next getaway.


    Plan! Plan! Plan! It goes without saying that research and planning ahead can go a long way. Some of the major questions to consider include where do you want to go, for how many days, and when.

    Determining your location should be your first step. Do I want to go to a city, the beach, or the mountains? If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you allow for time to get a passport, or renew your passport if necessary. Other factors to consider with international travel is purchasing foreign currency, renting a vehicle, or booking multiple places and flights.

    After picking your destination, plan how long you will be traveling, and when you will travel. Consider how many days it would take you to fully experience your destination, as well as how many vacation days you have available to use.

    One way to trim the cost of your vacation is to visit during non-peak times of the season, or during the weekday. This may cut down on crowds as well. However, remember to check that everything you want to do or places to go are available/open during the non-peak times.

    Another important question to consider is if you are traveling alone, with friends, or family. If traveling with others, you may be able to split some of the costs. You’ll also need to make sure the travel dates work for everyone’s schedule. Keep in mind when traveling with larger groups, you may need to allow for more time to plan.


    Once you have finalized your desired destination and the duration of your stay, the next step is to map out your budget. Your budget will consist of both fixed costs, such as airfare and accommodations, as well as variable costs like meals and activities.

    When creating your budget, it’s essential to prioritize what matters most to you. Consider what luxuries you would like to indulge in, such as lavish hotels or adventurous excursions. On the other hand, pinpoint areas where you are comfortable cutting costs like opting for economy seats on flights, or exploring local eateries that offer a more casual dining experience.

    To help you stay organized, we’ve created a budgeting worksheet.

    Here are some of the common expenses to plan for:

    • Airfare
    • Lodging
    • Transportation
    • Dining
    • Entertainment/Activities
    • Souvenirs
    • Outfits, travel gear, etc. 


    Once you’ve mapped out the expenses, start checking on the cost of the fixed expenses and then factor in the variable expenses based on an amount you’re comfortable setting aside for these expenses. Once you have an idea of the total cost of your trip, take a look at your current expenses to determine how much you can set aside each month or week to save.

    For instance, if you’re planning a three-day trip to New York City costing around $2,000, and you start planning eight months in advance, you'll need to set aside $250 a month, or around $125 per paycheck for biweekly pay periods. The more time you have to plan, the easier it becomes to save.

    Consider setting up a separate account to save for your trip so you aren’t tempted to spend the money on something else. You can set up automatic transfers and direct deposit to save.

    If you don’t already have one, consider opening a special travel credit card. You can still use the money you’ve been saving for your trip to pay off the balance each month, but by using a travel credit card, you may be able to earn cash rewards or other bonuses.

    Extra tips & tricks to consider:

    • Start planning ahead and saving early.
    • Use a travel agent.
    • Save by cutting everyday expenses like your daily caffeine fix.
    • Use public transit.
    • Discover budget-friendly activities, such as exploring local markets, self-guided tours, or taking advantage of the amenities offered by your hotel.
    • Notify your debit card and credit card provider of travel plans.
    • Be flexible.

    Remember, a well-planned and budgeted vacation will help you achieve your dream vacation. By following this guide, you’ll be on your way to creating unforgettable memories without breaking the bank.

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