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You probably love the thought of going on your next vacation. But we’re guessing you don’t love the thought of all your money leaving your bank account to pull off said vacation. If only there was a way to have a great trip without spending too much.
There is a way. Actually, we know five of them!
1. Pick just a few activites per day.
If you pack too many sight-seeing tours and stage shows into your big-city visit, the costs really add up. On top of that, it’s hard to enjoy any of the activities. Why? Because you’re too busy looking at the clock and hoping you aren’t late to the next activity! Plan one or two events per day and enjoy them to the hilt. You’ll save money, avoid stress, and be able to relish your experience!
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2. Don’t take advice from your children.
Just about everything looks good to your kids on vacation—oversized snacks, toys in the gift shop, or the thought of renting a pedal boat for a day on the water. They will gladly offer unsolicited advice such as “Hey, Dad, we should try this!” or “Hey, Mom, that would be awesome!” Stick to your spending plan no matter how many times you hear, “Can we do that?”
Related: How to Talk to Your Kids About Money
3. Pay for it now.
When you pay for your getaway with cash, the deal is done. You know how much you spend. Compare that to using credit cards. The cards get swiped here, there and everywhere, and you don’t realize how quickly the charges pile up. Then when the bills come next month . . . well, you see where we’re going with this. Paying in full now, whether it’s for a plane ticket upfront or a $30 pair of mouse ears at Disney World, helps keep “surprises” away later.
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4. Don’t compete with friends on social media.
You may see the vacation pics of friends on Facebook and Instagram and feel pressure to do something bigger, more exotic or more adventurous. Bad idea! Vacations are meant to be enjoyed, not compared. Don’t overspend just so you can one-up the Joneses. Focus on having a good time on your trip that you can afford. A fun-filled weekend at the lake is much better than a “competition” trip to Hawaii.
5. Eat out twice a day, tops.
Having a meal out is almost standard protocol for vacations. In fact, it’s part of the reason trips are fun. It could be a tall order, though, to pay for 21 restaurant meals during a weeklong getaway. Try this instead—when you arrive in town, stop by the nearest grocery store and buy milk, bread, cereal, lunch meat, and other staples. Chow down on at least one meal in your room each day. You’ll still get to eat out while keeping the food bill easy to swallow. Win-win!
The best vacation is one that won’t follow you home. Plan for it the right way with our free budgeting app EveryDollar!