With the weather we have had, many people who have not been able to get away are probably wishing they could leave for awhile. It is probably about time people are starting to plan summer vacations.

If you have budgets for normal spending throughout the year or for holiday spending, you should also budget for vacation expenses. It may be easier to save if you break it down to monthly amounts. Once you decide where you are going, determine how much it will cost you and divide by the number of months or paychecks until you are going to leave. This is the amount you should attempt to save each month or paycheck.

There was a recent blog post about Planning a summer vacation on a budget.

Dave Ramsey wrote an article on how to keep your vacation from following you home. You will likely be less stressed and enjoy your vacation more if you are not worried about how much you are spending or how much debt you will be in when you get home.

As with other spending there are debates about using credit cards or cash. Some people determine how much each part of their trip will cost and have separate cash envelopes for each category. If you are going to use cash it is advised to keep the cash in different envelopes and different suitcases and bags. I saw a comment on a blog post about a family going out to eat on their first night of their trip and the cash envelope fell out of her bag and they lost all of the cash.

If you use credit cards, it is advised to have the money saved so you can pay off the balance within a month or two. The longer it takes you to pay off the balance, the more it will cost you since you will be paying interest charges.

Along with travel expenses, food and lodging, there are other expenses to keep in mind. The cost of attractions, food and souvenirs can add up quickly. I was recently on a Caribbean cruise. On one of the last days I was near one of the kiosks when a lady was checking the balance of her and her husband’s account. Another lady that saw her told her that the look on her face was priceless when the third page printed out and she saw the balance.

As an example, the price of a cruise typically covers your room, most food and entertainment. Extra expenses are a daily charge for gratuities, specialty coffees, soda and alcoholic drinks, shopping on the ship, and specialty restaurants. You can also charge money used in the casino to your cruise card. Your cruise card is both your room key and credit card for all spending on the ship.

If your budget is tight, consider a staycation, by exploring attractions in your local area that you may not normally visit. You can save travel expenses and maybe hotel expenses by doing this if you stay at home and just visit local attractions.

If you don’t keep an eye on it, your balance can get out of hand fairly quickly. That is why it is important to determine an amount you want to spend and attempt to stick to it.

It is important to take a vacation or get a break from your routine, but it is also important to be able to afford the travel expenses.

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Nancy Kvamme

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