Traveling is one of the best ways to see new cities and take part in activities you normally wouldn’t ever have pictured yourself doing. Whether you’re with friends, family, or by yourself, everybody should try to travel when they are able to. However, vacations aren’t cheap and airfare can get as high as $420 for a domestic trip. Finding ways to save money while planning a fun trip should always be your top priority.
How Expensive is the Average Vacation?
As evident by rising airfare costs above, the average vacation is drastically increasing in price. In fact, around 82% of millennials and Gen Z have indicated they intend to change travel plans due to inflation. The average price of a vacation will vary based on a number of factors, but the most notable included when calculating vacation cost are:
- • Transportation to the location
- • Accommodations at the destination
- • Activities planned for the trip
- • Food on a daily basis
Hotels can reach an average of $150 per night, activities combined can easily reach $500, and food can be another $60 per day per person, the cost adds up fast. Taking into account the average round-trip airfare price listed above, an average vacation could cost a single person over $1,000 for a week, not including any family members.
Setting a budget while strategically planning your vacation is the best way to save money during your travels.
3 Steps to Include When Planning Your Vacation
Whenever you begin planning your vacation, there are three primary steps to follow:
- 1. Pick a list of destinations:The first step in planning your trip is narrowing down where you would like to go on vacation. This will help you build out your budget by seeing what you can afford on your list of “want to visit” locations.
- 2. Build out a vacation budget: After creating a list of destinations that you want to visit, you can start building your budget to see which of those destinations are affordable.
- 3. Start finding ways to save money: Once you have a destination picked and a budget set, you will need to start saving money for the trip.
How to Pick the Right Vacation Type
Starting with the first step of planning your vacation, you need to learn how to pick a vacation that meets the needs of all those attending. This means determining three main factors:
- 1. Do you want to stay domestic or go international?
- 2. Do you want casual or intensive vacation activities?
- 3. Do you want to visit a city or see nature?
The above questions will help guide you towards possible locations you would want to visit based on their type and the activities they have. Choosing options such as exploring the Big Apple, for example, can be smart because it offers a range of activities at a varying price point.
Tips for Building a Budget After Settling on a Destination
Once you have decided on a list of locations that piques your interest, you need to start setting a budget to figure out which of those locations you can afford. Follow these five tips as you start to build out your planned budget:
1. Plan all activities ahead of time
By picking all your activities in advance, you can prepay for many of them, which will allow you to not think about the cost while on the trip. The downside to this is that you need to have funds available now, but this can be offset by booking some activities now and some activities later.
2. Consider whether you will be eating out or cooking yourself
As evident by the projected costs above, food can get very expensive very fast when eating out. Consider cooking food yourself if you’re staying in accommodations that allow for it, as you can save hundreds of dollars in your budget.
3. Determine how you will get around
Transportation is expensive. Rideshare platforms like Uber and Lyft might be convenient but they come at a cost. Work public transportation into your budget depending on your list of locations to save money.
4. Think about whether a hotel or vacation rental is better for you
Hotels have gotten more expensive and recent years, with many people now holding jaded views towards them after experiencing alternative accommodations. For families in particular, staying in a vacation rental through Airbnb or a similar platform can be cheaper and allow for more space.
5. Consider visiting your destination at a cheaper time of year
Finally, if your budget is still looking very tight then consider the off-season for the places on your destination list. As perspective, during peak travel season, Air New Zealand charges as much as $1,500 extra for two passengers in premium seats, which is a price they don’t charge in the off season.
How to Save Money for a Vacation
With your list of destination now narrowed down to a single location after taking your budget into account, it’s time to start saving money for your travels. Use the following pieces of advice throughout the year leading up to your trip to save money fast:
- • Start putting a portion of every paycheck away into a travel fund
- • Redeem credit card reward points for accommodation or activities wherever possible
- • Start cutting back on your daily expenses
- • Put in extra hours at work to save up extra money for the trip
- • Book activities and transportation at strategic times of the day and week
Enjoy your vacation without worrying about money
The last thing a person wants to think about while on vacation is the amount of money they’re blowing through. However, rising prices mean that it’s an unfortunate factor people need to consider while on their trip. This doesn’t mean it needs to ruin your vacation. Plan your budget in advance and pre-book activities whenever possible so that you don’t need to think about the cost. Planning a fun trip on a budget is more than possible, even when traveling with others.