Don’t Put Another Vacation on Your Credit Card: Plan, Budget, Enjoy!

Everyone dreams of vacations.  They’re relaxing, fun, and exciting, but can be expensive.  But, just because they can be expensive doesn’t mean you have to break the bank or forget them altogether!  By budgeting for a vacation, you ensure you can go on a trip and not have to worry about running up your credit cards!  There’s no reason you can’t go on a vacation and be debt free about it! Sure, that trip to the Bahamas might be a little bit of extra work and management, but it’ll be worth it in the end. We’re here to help break down the planning process into manageable steps.

However, there are some things to consider while planning your trip.  You’ll need to consider how many people are going, if you can get the time off of work, and how you’ll be getting there. The first step in any vacation is deciding where you want to go.  That can be the most exciting part! You can visit a new location and go exploring or go back to an old favorite. The decision is entirely up to you! If you’re looking to cut some travel costs, driving may be cheaper if the destination is nearby, or you may even look into taking a bus or train.  It’s important to take a look at all of your transportation options before committing. Part of that decision will also be influenced by how many people are going. A plane may be cheaper for just a couple of people unless you can get group rates, so it’s always a good idea to look into alternatives.

It’s also a good idea to get recommendations.  Friends, family, and social media can all be amazing places to look for advice on the perfect destination. They may suggest places you would have never considered before or give you more insight into places you were on the fence about.  You can even use all of the suggestions to help create a list of places you would eventually like to go. Another benefit of asking family or friends for ideas is that there may be an interesting vacation destination near where they live!  Staying with them could help save on accommodations as well as receiving suggested locations to visit.  

Though, when looking at destinations, major tourist spots aren’t the only places to look at!  Consider locations that aren’t as popular. They’re often just as nice, not as crowded, and cost less due to not being as popular.  You may end up finding a diamond in the rough once you start getting more specific in your search for the perfect vacation destination.  And, remember, the more specific you are about your destination, the easier it will be to budget and save money.

So, you’ve got your destination figured out.  You’re ready to go to a different country, the beach, or just the next city over, but how are you going to get there and when will you be leaving?  Both of these factors can affect the cost of your trip, as well as how many people you’ll need to accommodate during travel. If you plan to travel during peak season, things will tend to be more expensive.  This is due to the popularity of your destination during that time of year. More people will be flocking to that destination whether due to the good weather, festivals, or holidays associated with that location.  Consider traveling during the off season. The destination may not be as popular due to weather conditions not being idealistic. You wouldn’t want to go to the beach during the winter, right? It would be too cold.  But, off peak could also be due to things such as perilous conditions, such as blizzards or hurricanes, so be careful. Then, there’s also shoulder season to consider. It’s the time between peak and off season, and you can gain the benefits of both if you travel during this time.  

You’ll also need to select an actual date to travel and not just what time you’ll be leaving. Remember, the weather and holidays are major factors in what is and is not peak season!  So, if you’re looking for travel deals, it’s important to find out when the peak season is. You can even call tourist offices in a particular area to get information and compare prices of booking things online at different times of the year.  Peak season, off season, and shoulder season are different in every location, so it’s extremely important to make sure you do research! You could also try booking during promotional periods to save some extra money. So, if you really have your heart set on that one specific cruise, don’t fret!  A lot of places will run promotional deals when they aren’t as busy in order to help generate extra revenue. Even if a cruise isn’t exactly what you’re after, it’s worth checking out hotels near your destination location. There’s even the possibility of getting deals on last minute booking, but be careful!  You don’t want to wait too long and miss out on booking your vacation.

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