The Ultimate Vacation Budget

It is almost summer! It’s time to take off work, hang out with friends and family, and travel the world. However, do you ever find yourself stressed out due to unforeseen spending? Vacations should be relaxing and your splurge should not follow you home. Here's how you can stay on budget while on vacation:

1. BOOK BEFORE YOU GO

The key to staying on budget during your vacation is to do as much of the "spending" before you go. Your hotel, transportation, and activities should be booked in advance. This way, you will not feel pressured to add last minute activities that are not in your budget. Also, this gives you a more accurate overall spend for your vacation. So, overspending can be a conscientious choice if you want to upgrade your room instead of a last minute choice that leaves you stressed out.

2. HAVE A PRE-SET SPENDING LIMIT

Before you go on vacation, set a spending limit for your vacation. You can share this with your family or friends on the trip to keep you accountable. Emergencies can happen while going on trips like a tire blown out, an unexpected bag fee, or a grocery trip. You should have a buffer, if possible, of $200 for emergencies. Another way to stay on your pre-set spending limit is to bring cash only. This way you won't be inclined to put indulge items on your credit card.

3. DO ONE MEAL OUT (PER DAY)

Eating out is a budget ruiner. Try to have only one meal out per day. I know this can be hard especially if you are going to a place known for their restaurants. If possible, go on a grocery trip while you're there for the essentials. This way, if you only need a banana or coffee for breakfast, you have that instead of a full course meal. Keep your eating out to a minimum and keep your hard earned money in your pocket.

4. KICK THE MEMORABILIA

Forget the t-shirt, hat, or keychain from your favorite vacation stop. You aren't there for the "stuff" anyways. Instead, take pictures! Kick the memorabilia and focus on your time spent with family and friends. You will be glad after the fact you didn't spend money on something you may never use.

5. PACK FOR EVERY SCENARIO

Check the weather and pack your bags accordingly. Don't forget your tennis shoes, workout gear, or raincoat if the weather calls for it. This "uh oh" moment can turn into a significant expense for your trip. Create a list before you go, pack, and pick up any needed items before you leave.

6. Check Your Accounts

Lastly, when you get home from your fantastic vacation, make sure to check your accounts! Vacation is the perfect time to relax, but scammers take advantage and can swipe your credit or debit card information. Take 15 minutes to review all of your financial accounts once you get home to ensure there aren't any funny transactions. If you do see suspicious activity, give your credit card company or bank a call depending on which account was compromised. The faster you report the theft, the less you will be responsible for. If you report it within two business days, you will only be responsible for up to $50 of unauthorized transactions. If it is greater than two business days, you may be responsible for $500 of unauthorized transactions. However, do not worry too much. You can get refunded the full amount for your unauthorized credit card charges, and up to $250,000 for an FDIC insured bank account.

So, that's it! Our guide to your budget is to prepare, plan, and enjoy. Your vacation should be something you look forward to instead of something you dread when you get home and see your credit card bill. Have fun!

What are your vacation budget musts?