Summer vacation or winter vacation? Your heart might be set on a weekend getaway to the beach or skiing during the holidays. You might find yourself ready to plan a trip out of the country or take a road trip to a national park.
No matter the type of trip you’re planning with your family and friends, creating a budget – and sticking to it – will help you stay on course to achieving financial freedom. Taking a vacation can help you to unwind and refresh, but be sure your budget in place to give you peace of mind during your vacation and when you return.
Make your vacation budget.
No matter if you’ve chosen to stay close to home or go further with a getaway, here’s how to make a budget for your vacation:
- Set a savings amount for your vacation.
- Open a goals-based savings account.
- Prioritize what’s important to you.
- Use a free budgeting tool as your roadmap.
- Assign dollar amounts to big-ticket items.
- Assign dollar amounts to your remaining categories.
Set a savings amount for your vacation.
If you haven’t saved for your vacation yet, use our free Goal Savings calculator to know exactly how much you need to save and how long it’ll take to reach your goal to pay for your vacation in cash.
Open a goals-based savings account.
Earn interest with every dollar you save for your vacation. A designated savings account is an easy way to keep your savings out of sight and out of mind.
Prioritize what’s important to you.
Before you begin assigning dollar amounts to every vacation category, identify what’s most important to you while on vacation. List your vacation priorities in order of most to least important for reference.
Use a free budgeting tool as your roadmap.
Place these vacation priorities within a free budgeting tool, like Goals and Budgets, to plan ahead right within your FAIRWINDS account. Since your accounts are linked in one place, you can easily track your progress in building your goals-based savings account.
Assign dollar amounts to big-ticket items.
Once you choose your destination, we recommend comparing where you’ll stay as this might be one of the larger expenses of your budget. Consider rentals through Airbnb or HomeAway or hotels that are within the area instead of reserving the first hotel you see online. Whether you’re interested in taking an Uber or Lyft, borrowing a rental car, or taking a plane, transportation is another category to review in your vacation plans.
Assign dollar amounts to your remaining categories.
You should now have your remaining budget, along with a list of the remaining vacation priorities you haven’t yet covered. Simply assign a realistic dollar amount to your remaining categories. Be sure to include food, tickets to entertainment venues and attractions, gifts and souvenirs, and any costs you night need to cover at home while you’re gone, such as home- or pet-setting. Give yourself a cushion of “miscellaneous money” for unplanned expenses.
Stick to your budget while on vacation.
After comparing, planning, and saving, sticking to your budget is key while you’re on vacation. Here are two recommendations to follow after you’ve made your budget:
Make vacation reservations in advance.
Reservations can keep your spending choices in check while you’re on vacation. This can be anything from reserving your hotel, car rental, or entertainment. By booking your plans at home, you’ll be less likely to make spontaneous decisions that will affect your budget.
Keep your budget handy on your mobile app.
Goals and Budgets not only helps you with vacation planning, you can take your budget with you wherever you go using the FAIRWINDS Mobile App. Since you’ll carry your phone to snap some photos and stay connected with loved ones, your budget can conveniently be there on your mobile device to see the amount you’ve spent and how much you have left on your trip.
Planning and sticking to a vacation budget will help make the most of your break. With time, preparation, and commitment to finding ways to save, you’ll steer clear of any obstacles that affect your plan towards financial freedom. Regardless of the season, who you’re going with, or how large or small your plans will be, don’t let your budget go on vacation.