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Sunburn is the worst.
You forgot the sunscreen and fell asleep on the beach. And, before you know it, you wake up with skin like a lobster.
That’s the kind of stuff that happens when you forget to budget for your summer vacation. You get stuck on a beautiful beach without sunscreen because you spent all your prevacation money on flip flops and sunglasses.
Your eyes love the protection, and your feet are free to breathe—all while your poor, once-colorless, naturally pale arms must endure the sun’s fiery flames.
Vacation doesn’t have to be that way. You can keep your skin happy and healthy by simply planning ahead. Other than the obvious stuff, here are a few things to keep in mind while budgeting your summer vacation:
1. Pet Care
Is your Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, going on the trip with you? If not, who’s keeping her? Will she be staying at a doggy hotel or at a friend’s house? Do you dare leave Tinkerbell to fend for herself in the backyard? Does she have a week’s worth of food? All of that costs money. Don’t forget about Tinkerbell.
Related: 4 Practical Ways to Save on Pet Care
Few things in life are more disgusting than a dry mouth on the beach. Okay, maybe it’s more than just a few things. But you’ve got to admit, in the middle of all that grainy sand, dry heat and wind, a cooler filled with a medley of crackers, sandwiches and refreshing water is a welcome treat. If you can buy all that stuff in bulk before you leave, then do it—especially if you have kids. As you probably know, kids tend to eat a lot of food.
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You know what else kids like? Stuff. Like plastic dolphins and shark’s teeth and a bongo drum with a painted bird on it. And, hey, if you want an airbrushed shirt that says “Kevin Loves Lisa” with palm trees and a setting sun in the background, who are we to judge? But those personalized memories aren’t cheap. You might not realize it, but everything within 10 miles of a beach is 100% more expensive.
4. Car Maintenance
Are you driving? If so, don’t become one of those sad families stuck on the side of the interstate in southern Georgia because dad forgot to change the oil. That burned-up engine will send your vacation budget into flames.
Related: How Much Car Insurance Do You Really Need?
5. The Unexpected
Think of this as your extra fun money on vacation. Vacations are unpredictable, so you need to budget in that unpredictability. Junior might get stung by a jellyfish and need to visit the doctor. After five days of seafood, you’ll surely need to make a Prilosec run to deal with that nasty acid reflux. Or maybe your 3-year-old decides to make a self-portrait on the bathroom wall, and, well, you’ll need to clean it up. Something unexpected always happens.
Taking time to make a budget before vacation isn’t as fun as swimming with dolphins, but it’s absolutely necessary—after all, swimming with Flipper isn’t cheap. You need to make sure you can pay for that before you take the dive so you can fully enjoy the experience.
Budget now, and you’ll be thankful later.
And don’t forget the sunscreen!
What other often-overlooked budget items do you recommend we add to the list? Leave a comment below.