Vacation provides a much-needed reprieve from the daily grind, yet the process of vacation planning can be a stressful endeavor. Not only are there many arrangements to be made, but the costs for things like hotels, flights, rental cars, and other expenses can be overwhelming. Use these strategies to plan a budget-friendly, sanity-saving vacation.
Calculate Your Costs and Save Vacation Funds All Year
It’s pretty simple to figure out approximately how much your dream vacation to Miami will cost thanks to useful travel sites such as StudentUniverse. Do some research to come up with a broad figure – including some cushion for things like meals, souvenirs, attractions, and other expenses that can inflate the total cost of your vacation – and determine how much you’ll need to save each week or each month. You can also use a handy vacation calculator to make sure you’re not leaving anything out.
When you start planning early and set aside funds from every paycheck or from your monthly earnings for a vacation fund, you’ll have ample cash on hand when it comes time to book accommodations, flights, and other travel arrangements for your next vacation. When you’re not scrambling for cash, vacation planning is a less-stressful undertaking.
Pack Your Bags at Least One Week in Advance
Many travelers excitedly arrive at their destination only to realize that they forgot to pack some essentials, sending them in search of the nearest convenience store or department store to purchase items that they already had at home.
Not only does an unplanned shopping trip take up valuable vacation time, but it can eat into your budget. By packing in advance, you’ll have time to re-check your packing list and think of miscellaneous items that you might leave behind if you pack at the last minute. To really get a handle on this vacation planning stuff, keep your list in an Excel sheet and update it from year to year, including any random items you found that you needed during last year’s trip. Over time, you’ll be packing like a pro.
Buy Travel Insurance
It may seem silly to spend more money on something like travel insurance when you’re trying to save money, but in the long run, travel insurance could save you thousands of dollars. Many things can happen when you’re traveling, from lost luggage to unexpected incidental costs from your hotel room or a stolen wallet or credit card.
Travel insurance provides peace of mind that you’re covered for the worst-case scenario, and when something unexpected happens, you won’t be shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars to cover these costs.
Don’t Forget to Plan for Your Four-Legged Family Members
If you don’t have a friend or family member who can handle your four-legged family members for the time, you’ll need to make other arrangements for your pets. Boarding a pet at a kennel can quickly add up, especially if you have multiple pets. Look into other options like dog walking or local, independent dog boarding services for more affordable care for your pets that you can trust.
These vacation-planning strategies will help you maintain your sanity and offer peace of mind before and during your next vacation. By planning ahead to cover costs, you’ll minimize the stress associated with paying for a vacation. Packing early, maintaining an ongoing, regularly updated packing list, purchasing travel insurance, and making arrangements for your pets with a provider you can trust will help you save money and reduce stress. The peace of mind you’ll get from putting these tips to work for your next vacation, however, is priceless.