You plan the trip, take the journey, and then enjoy the dream vacation that you’d been looking forward to for several weeks or months. What you didn’t plan for was the super-high credit card bill that awaited you once you returned to your castle. Vacations are notorious for helping consumers accrue high balances on their credit cards, all too often wreaking havoc on their monthly budgets after that.
Here’s a look at some steps you can take to avoid racking up tons of charges on your credit cards when it’s vacation time.
Vacation deal websites have etched a considerable share of the vacation and travel market because people want to save the most money on their trips. Shopping around on sites like Travelocity and Kayak can give you a high-level view of what you can plan on spending per your destination, length of stay, and accommodation preferences. Plus, their all-inclusive packages can save you a lot of money on hotels and airfare, which are typically the highest vacation expenditures. Don’t forget to use any loyalty or reward points you may have on your credit cards, as they can offer significant savings on things like airfare, food, and other perks.
Cut out non-essential living expenses (or cut them down)
Try making a list of all of your monthly expenditures that lie outside of your living necessities. Things such as shopping, dining, entertainment, and even those random online purchases can be great places to start cutting back. First, figure out how much money you’d like to save each month to allocate towards your vacation, and then go through the list to determine what to cut. You’ll be surprised by how the things that seem insignificant tend to add up over a month’s time.
Create a dedicated “vacay” account
Consider this an additional savings account, and start making deposits to it whenever you get paid. You can initiate once you begin your vacation planning process, or make it a permanent budget fixture if you know that you’re going to take some form of vacation annually. Setting aside as little as SR 200 a month not only helps you to avoid dipping into your savings or emergency budget, but it also gives you an idea of exactly how much money you have to work with when you’re on vacation.
Take a good look at your monthly income vs. vacay costs
One of the biggest reasons that people overspend on vacations is that their income level isn’t necessarily ideal for the costs of their vacation. And while vacations sites do a great job of making destinations alluring, it’s best to analyze your current monthly income, along with the trip itinerary, to determine if you have enough money (and time) to make the journey.
Find a way to supplement your current income
In today’s economy, you don’t have to look hard to find ways to make some extra money on the side of your full-time job. Gigs such as freelance writing, outsourced task services), home-based businesses, and other opportunities offer many options to help you make more money to save toward your vacation if you find that your current budget already stretched to capacity.
Not everyone has enough wiggle room in their budget to cut out enough to pay for a vacation. Maybe you live in a high-cost area, or perhaps debt, child support, or other factors make your monthly expenses unusually high. In any case, it’s hard to save for vacation when you’re barely making ends meet.
Going into debt can put a damper on the memories that can come from a great vacation. Planning and pre-budgeting can help you to avoid overspending while you enjoy your time away from home.