Budget Planning for a Vacation

Budget Planning for a Vacation
One way to ruin a vacation is to run out of money about halfway through it. This can be avoided with a little forethought and advance planning to make sure you have all your bases covered. Make a list of all the expenses, not omitting some often-forgotten ones mentioned below, and then make sure you have enough to carry you through the entire trip.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Decide where you're going and what you're doing. Know how far and wide you expect to travel and the types of activities you'll pursue.
Step 2
Calculate traveling expenses. If going by car, calculate the approximate round trip mileage and multiply by the amount of gas you'll need. Include any expenses to tune up your car, like an oil change or tire rotation, that you'll need before you go. Air travelers start shopping around for airline prices to and from your destination. Remember the price of airport parking if you are leaving your vehicle at the airport and a rental car and its gas, if needed, once you get to your destination. Include any tolls that you know of along the way.
Step 3
Amass the price of your lodgings. Campers, consider park and permit fees while RV travelers should look at site fees. Those staying in a hotel, resort, cabin or other rental should look at the average price of area lodgings or, better yet, pick a particular lodging and make advance reservations.
Step 4
Tally the food costs. Include the daily meals while at your destination as well as any snacks while on the road.
Step 5
Add up expected fees and admission prices. Think of everything you plan to do and how much each activity may cost. Include equipment rental, park fees, fishing or other permits and licenses. Tally the cost of eco-tours or other guided or adventure company outings. Book tours in advance, when possible, so those expenses are covered once you get there.
Step 6
Tally up the extras. Include the cost of a pet sitter, medications, camera and video accessories, sunscreen and other toiletries. Stick souvenirs in this category, with a set amount of how much you plan to spend on them in advance. Remember any new sporting or outdoor equipment, clothes or hiking boots you must have before you go.

Tips & Warnings

Remember gas prices vary across the country. See Resources for gas price map.
Always over-estimate rather than under-estimate costs. It's better to be left with some money than to run out of it.
Put aside an emergency fund for the trip to cover any unexpected expenses, such as a flat tire or doctor visit. If it still remains at the end of a vacation, use it to buy souvenirs.

Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski

Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.

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