My Rules for Vacation Planning

by on January 5th, 2011
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As many families do, we typically enjoy a good vacation at least once a year. While it doesn’t always happen, we often find a way to break away from the daily grind for a little while to spend some time relaxing in a new location.

But vacations can get costly, especially if you don’t plan for them properly. Since we don’t care to throw our hard-earned money away, we tend to stick to certain rules that not only help us plan our vacation, but save money when doing so.

Start Early

While waiting until the last minute could actually work out occasionally, it might not hurt to start looking for deals early in the vacation planning process. By looking at flights, hotel rooms, and event tickets ahead of time, you might not only clarify your travel plans a bit better, but you can keep an eye out for discounts, coupons, and lower rates and jump on them if or when they arise.

My wife and I started the planning for our November vacation in mid-August, which allowed us to save several hundred dollars on flight costs.

Investigate Your Location

Showing up to a vacation location with which you are unfamiliar can cost you time and money. Obviously, you likely won’t know everything a particular location has to offer before you arrive, but getting online and doing a little research about available transportation, seasonal weather patterns, amenities, activities, and costs can help you make better use of your time and money once you arrive.

Create a Budget

Vacations are usually meant to be relaxing and fun, and this might be the one time of year you want to throw a little caution to the wind and just enjoy yourself, even if it means spending a lot of money. But this doesn’t mean you have to just waste your money when on vacation. If nothing else, creating a vacation budget can help you better manage how you put your money to use and make the best decisions possible when it comes to spending money and having a great time.

Track Your Expenses

It’s easy when you’re on a fantastic vacation to let costs get a little out of control. Even with a budget, if you’re having fun and not really paying attention, you can blow that budget in the first few days, which can leave you without any fun money to enjoy the rest of your time. Therefore, keeping an eye on your expenses throughout your vacation can help you keep tabs on where you are in your budget and help insure your costs don’t get out of control.

Make Notes for Next Year

By tracking your expenses, you can also create an account of your costs for your next vacation. You can see how and where you spent and in what amounts. Adding notes to these details about deals you found, locations you enjoyed, and things you did or should have done, can be helpful if you come back to the same location next year since you might not remember such things by the time you return.

And even if you venture to a new location next year, what you learned from this year’s vacation could still provide some valuable experience you can review and rely upon as a sort of refresher course before your next trip.

More From This Contributor:

5 Websites that Could Save You Money

How One Page Simplified My Financial Life

Valuable Financial Lessons From Mom and Dad


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