7 savvy ways to make and stay on a travel budget

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Do you have a travel budget? Whether you’re watching your pennies or partying like its 1999, smart travellers keep track of spending while on the road.

There are many reasons why minding your finances makes good travel sense. If you make and stay on a tight travel budget, you want to ensure that you keep to that budget and don’t overspend. After all, running out of money while on holiday is a nightmare.

If you have more financial latitude, you should still care where your money goes, and be paying attention to the cost of products and value of services. It’s no fun being ripped off on holiday when you’ve worked hard to save up to enjoy a worry-free vacation. It’s even less fun to come home and be hit with massive bills (and exchange rates) a month after your vacation. These tips will help you make and stay on a travel budget so you can enjoy an affordable, worry-free holiday.

Planning your trip finances will go a long way to ensuring happy and worry-free holiday. How to make and stay on a travel budget. | thetravellingmom.ca

How to make and stay on a Travel Budget

1. Make a budget

You can’t stay on a budget if you haven’t drawn up one first. Set up an old-school spreadsheet (Google Sheets) or download a smartphone App like Trail Wallet or iXpenselt. Enter your income or travel budget. Then enter your potential expenditure categories – transportation, accommodation, food, parking, incidentals, gifts – and their related budget amounts. (Put some thought into those numbers.) You can break these down further into sub-categories, i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner, groceries. You get the idea. The two columns should reconcile into neutral or positive territory. You don’t want to be in the red before you leave the house!

2. Arrange monthly deposits to a US Dollar account

How you choose to pay for travel costs matters as well. Minimizing currency hits with our low Canadian dollar is a top priority for any Canuck heading south this spring. Set up a monthly American dollar purchase, or deposit to a US dollar account on a regular basis, to minimize currency fluctuation impacts.

3. Pay attention to currency exchanges

Pay attention to currency exchange rates and change money in bulk (if possible) when rates are favourable. (I wish I’d done this when our Canadian dollar was at $1.20 USD.)

4. Watch your expenditures

I find that this is the toughest part. It’s very easy to spend money on holiday. YOLO, right? If you’ve planned your budget with accurate numbers, you know exactly how much money you have to spend on meals, car rentals and hotel stays. Perhaps you’ve booked and paid for those in advance.

It’s the incidentals you need to watch for – the margaritas on the patio, the ukulele for cousin Eddie, the spur-of-the-moment whale-watching adventure. You can gift yourself in advance with special things (spa, outing, drinks) and don’t get lured off that plan and dazzled by shiny silver necklaces or must-have lederhosen. Plan a contingency fund if you feel that you’ll be tempted by impulse purchases.

Need more family travel tips? Check out this helpful article!

5. Clip virtual coupons

Your frugal grandmother was a smart cookie. Follow her example and subscribe to Groupon or other coupon sites for your travel destination. There’s nothing quite like getting deals and saving money while on holiday. It leaves more travel budget for the fun stuff.

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Planning your trip finances will go a long way to ensuring happy and worry-free holiday. How to make and stay on a travel budget. | thetravellingmom.ca

Photo Credits: SellOffVacations, Shutterstock

Dislosure: The post is brought to you by SellOffVacations. As always, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own.

Claudia Laroye
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