Rich or poor, we all want to vacation once in awhile. One limitation is always the finances. A good financial advisor will tell you that no money is enough when it comes to vacationing. Even armed with a $1 million, you will still need to work on a budget.
The first and the most important thing you ought to do is to plan. You may realize that at any level of budget, however low, you can still get a meaningful vacation. Without a plan, no amount of money is enough. So, in your plans, purpose to save on these four items.
Where you want to vacation is determined by your income exposure. You may not afford to go to Hawaii or scale the Andes in South America if your income exposure is low. While you may save for a year to achieve this, alternatively, you may choose to vacation often within your locality and still have fun.
Vacationing is not just relaxing on the beach. In fact, you can go to the countryside and take a learning vacation to local farms. Most producers and farmers in the countryside are welcoming and you can enjoy a lot through them.
Balance between the cost of traveling to a place and the daily expenses. If you can scale down on the expenditure, you can choose to travel to an exotic destination or the other way round. Prioritize your motive. Again, when it comes to location, avoid peak vacation times; it is expensive.
Also, avoid beaten path travel destinations; they are crowded and generally expensive. Especially when you have a family, it is hard to contain what your kids encounter. Also, pick places where you can blend with the local culture. It gives you an opportunity to enjoy your stay.
- Travel expenses
If you decide to pack a couple of duffle bags for each family member and drive 800 miles west, be my guest. Sometimes you don’t have to break your bank booking flights. You must be reasonable about your travel expenses.
If you are not careful, travel expenses can escalate really fast. First, avoid using rentals and taxis; they are the most expensive transport option. You can use public transport like a commuter train and connecting flights.
You can choose a travel package that is bundled with accommodation; it is usually cheaper. You may also do a thorough online search of flight tickets for families. They are usually discounted and can be booked even months in advance.
If you choose to travel abroad, pay cash for most items and use ATM exchange. Again, withdraw as much as you need for your trip and keep track of the value of money. Know what a dollar is to the local currency. It helps you to know when you are getting a deal or a rip-off.
Maximize on the fun, not the traveling. Over traveling means, you have to spend for what you are not enjoying.
When you travel with your family, you need safe accommodation. If you decide to camp, make sure the place is safe. To save on housing, you can rent an apartment, do a house exchange, or simply try out smaller hotels. If you choose the farm surfing (staying with another family), have a proper arrangement and inform them in advance.
The best place to farm surf is always in the countryside. Surfing in big cities can be hectic because most townhouses are small and may not host the whole of your family comfortably.
Again, make sure you research wide and extensively. There is always a good deal out there where you can spend less. It is better to book accommodation in advance and make sure that your accommodation is near where you are vacationing, or has an excellent commute system.
- Daily expenses
Conservative economists recommended that you use only 8-10% of your income on vacations. If you choose to spend 50% of your income, then you had better save for five months or years, whichever meets your threshold. Of that amount, you should only budget 90% of it in case of unexpected expenditure.
When you have a family, make it 75%. Kids are hard to control when they see something they like. You are likely going to spend outside the budget when you have them.
With regard to daily expenses, practice the pyramid eating habits. Heavy breakfast, equally good lunch and very light dinners. Try local buffets because they are usually moderately priced. Notice that, local cuisine means it is locally sourced and therefore generally fresh and cheap.
On overall, plan, execute early, and research widely. Do not let it go; you will most certainly spend what you will regret.
About the author
Ian Leaf is a travel and art enthusiast. He has an amazing collection of art gathered from his tours and expeditions around the globe.