If you're on a Galaxy Fold, consider unfolding your phone or viewing it in full screen to best optimize your experience.
by Maurie Backman | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on Sept. 9, 2019
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
Planning a major getaway? Here’s how to account for your various expenses.
Going on vacation is exciting, but it can be nerve-wracking from a financial standpoint. If you don’t account for the various costs involved, you could wind up overspending and landing in debt in the process. Here’s how to set up a travel budget for your next major trip -- and make sure you can manage the costs involved.
Tips and tricks from the experts delivered straight to your inbox that could help you save thousands of dollars. Sign up now for free access to our Personal Finance Boot Camp.
By submitting your email address, you consent to us sending you money tips along with products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe at any time. Please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.
Whether you’re flying or hopping in the car, you’ll need to narrow down the costs involved in getting to your destination. If you’re flying, be sure to account for not just your airline tickets, but also travel to and from the airport and checked luggage. Keep in mind that if you have a good travel rewards credit card, you may be eligible for no-fee baggage. If you’re driving, you’ll need to figure out what you’ll spend on fuel and tolls -- or at least get a ballpark estimate. The exact number will depend on gas prices and how efficiently you drive.
Unless you’re staying at a resort where everything you need, from food to activities and sightseeing, will be on-site, you’ll need to pay for transportation -- so figure out what that will be. Will you be renting a car? Taking rideshares? Or walking and relying on public transportation? The first two options could really add up, so factor them into your calculations.
You’ll need a place to stay while away. If you want to keep your costs on the lower side, it pays to look into renting someone’s private property through sites like HomeAway and Airbnb. Otherwise, you’ll need a hotel, so price out your options, keeping in mind that taxes will often be tacked on to whatever room rate you initially see listed.
The cost of food during a vacation can be substantial, especially if you don’t plan to prepare any meals yourself. Think about where you’ll be during your travels, and what sort of dining you’ll wind up paying for. There’s a big difference between sticking to diners and cafes versus reserving meals at high-end restaurants. Also, if you’ll be very active during the day, it could pay to visit a local grocery store and load up on snacks. Otherwise, you could easily pay triple if you’re forced to buy them from street vendors or machines during excursions.
The way you’ll be spending your time during your travels will dictate your trip’s ultimate cost. If you’re paying to stay at a resort with beach access and a pool, and that’s all you’re planning on doing, then that’s an easy calculation. Otherwise, think about the things you want to do while away. Will you visit different theme parks? Go to museums? If so, research what tickets cost to avoid getting caught off guard.
If you’re taking a big trip, you’ll likely encounter a host of expenses that may seem minor on their own, but can add up collectively. For example, if you’re traveling internationally, you may need to renew your passport before you go. If you don’t have the right luggage to carry your belongings, you’ll need to buy some. If you’re hitting the beach for a week, you may need to stock up on sunscreen and extra warm-weather attire. And no matter where you’re going, don’t forget about things like tips for tour guides and hotel staff, and extra money for souvenirs.
The better job you do of budgeting for your next big trip, the better positioned you’ll be to save for it appropriately. That way, you’ll avoid taking on debt in the course of your travels, and the stress that comes along with it.
If you have credit card debt, transferring it to this top balance transfer card secures you a 0% intro APR into 2023! Plus, you’ll pay no annual fee. Those are just a few reasons why our experts rate this card as a top pick to help get control of your debt. Read The Ascent's full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2022 The Ascent. All rights reserved.