Summer is in full swing, and everywhere you look, it seems to be vacation, vacation, vacation. While some people cling to the idea that calories, clocks and budgets don’t exist on vacation, it’s always wise to have a plan so your rest and relaxation time doesn’t end in regret.
Create a budget
Your budget shouldn’t be a blanket number for the whole vacation. Parse it out the same way you would for your everyday budget. Designate a certain amount for food, shopping, and entertainment. Track each dollar and go over your budget every morning before you start the day. If you notice that you’re over budget in one category but under in another, make adjustments for that day.
Eat locally, drink minimally
As the saying goes, when in Rome. However, instead of seeking out fancy restaurants with familiar food, try the places where the non-tourists eat. Odds are it will be cheaper, and you’ll be more exposed to local flavor — literally. Another great way to save cash is to avoid buying pricey cocktails at restaurants and instead picking up the bubbly for your room.
Use public transportation
Taxis and rideshares will add up fast, especially from tourist destinations. Take advantage of public transport for both cheap travel and the complete local experience.
Stay smart, stay long
It’s tempting to stay in luxurious hotels, but if you’re planning on spending most of your time out experiencing the culture or on the beach, you won’t be using your luxury room much — or the luxury amenities that raise the price. Choose a basic place to rest your head and use the money you save on experiences away from the room.
A tight budget doesn’t mean a lackluster trip. Seek out free attractions, enjoy the sights and sounds of a foreign place, and make the best part of your vacation the experiences instead of the material pieces.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.