Managing your finances for a vacation can be a daunting task. Hotels, transportation, and other traveling needs can quickly become expensive, especially if you're not careful about handling your money. Follow these tips on your next vacation to make sure you don't break the bank.
Book in Advance
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Before you even leave on your vacation, book transportation and lodging in advance to get the best rates. Planning ahead for these expenses will leave you more money to spend at your destination.
Begin searching for flights and hotels as soon as you decide where you want to go. Even for a big city like London or Paris, planning a year or so in advance can get you England flights or France hotels for affordable rates. Booking a hotel ahead of time will also give you many options to choose from, so you can find somewhere with free amenities like recreation centers, spas, and complementary shuttle services.
Have a Daily Budget
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While following a daily budget is important in day-to-day life, it's even more vital when on vacation. It can be easy to lose track of your spending while taking a break from the real world, especially with tourist attractions and gift shops trying to squeeze every penny out of you.
While vacationing, try to maintain a daily allowance for items like food, transportation, souvenirs, and entertainment. You can even budget in advance by planning out some of your meals, or by avoiding tourist traps and other places where you might spend money unexpectedly. As with everything, preparation is key. Having a plan for your spending will help you manage it before it's too late.
Keep a Rainy Day Fund
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Just in case budgeting and pinching pennies doesn't work out, have a rainy day fund set aside for extra expenses. Reserving money for emergencies will prepare you for any unexpected costs, and make sure that you don't run out of cash before your vacation is over.
A good rule of thumb is to prepare for at least an extra day or two of expenses. This amount will let some breathing room into your wallet, or even allow you to extend your stay if you stick to your budget. You may also want to consider purchasing travelers insurance, which can protect you from things like emergency medical costs, flight delays, and stolen luggage.
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Another important reason to keep an emergency fund is to prevent you from using credit cards. Buying small, day-to-day purchases on credit is one thing, but it's easy to incur a lot of interest if you end up needing to charge a plane ticket home on short notice.
If you decide you want to bring your credit cards on vacation for emergencies, consider leaving them in your luggage until you need them. Keeping credit cards in your wallet will only tempt you to spend money carelessly during your trip.
A well-planned vacation doesn't have to be expensive. By following these pointers on your next trip, you can have enough money left over to start saving for another getaway.