A simple travel budget for your next big trip

Planning a big getaway? Here’s how to account for your various expenses.

Planning a big getaway? Here’s how to account for your various expenses.

Going on vacation is exciting, but it can be financially scary. If you don’t take into account the various costs involved, you could end up overspending and getting into debt in the process. Here’s how to budget for your next big trip – and make sure you can handle the costs involved.

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1. Travel to and from your destination

Whether you get on a plane or jump in the car, you’ll need to cut down on the costs involved in getting to your destination. If you are flying, be sure to include not only your plane tickets, but also round-trip airport trips and checked baggage. Keep in mind that if you have a good travel rewards credit card, you may be eligible for free baggage. If you’re driving, you’ll need to figure out what you’ll spend on fuel and tolls – or at least get a rough estimate. The exact number will depend on gas prices and how efficiently you drive.

2. Transport once there

Unless you’re staying at a resort where everything from food to activities and sightseeing will be on site, you’ll need to pay for transportation – so figure out what it will be. Will you be renting a car? Carpooling ? Or walk and use public transport? The first two options can really add up, so factor that into your calculations.

3. Accommodation

You will need a place to stay while you are away. If you want to keep your costs down, it’s best to consider renting someone’s private property through sites like HomeAway and Airbnb. Otherwise, you’ll need a hotel, so weigh your options, keeping in mind that taxes will often be added to the room rate you initially see listed.

4. Meals

The cost of food while on vacation can be significant, especially if you don’t plan on preparing meals on your own. Think about where you will be on your travels and what kind of meals you will end up paying for. There is a big difference between sticking to dinners and cafes and booking meals at high-end restaurants. Additionally, if you are very active during the day, it may be beneficial to visit a local grocery store and stock up on snacks. Otherwise, you could easily pay triple if you have to buy them from street vendors or machines on excursions.

5. Activities and entertainment

How you spend your time during your travels will dictate the final cost of your trip. If you’re paying to stay at a resort with beach access and a pool, and that’s all you intend to do, then it’s an easy math. Otherwise, think about the things you want to do while you are away. Are you going to visit different theme parks? Go to museums? If so, research the cost of tickets to avoid being caught off guard.

6. Accessories

If you are taking a big trip, you will likely encounter a multitude of expenses which may seem minor on their own, but which can add up collectively. For example, if you are traveling abroad, you may need to renew your passport before you leave. If you don’t have the right luggage to carry your things, you will need to buy some. If you are going to the beach for a week, you may need to get some sunscreen and really warm clothes. And no matter where you go, don’t forget things like tips for tour guides and hotel staff, and extra money for souvenirs.

The better you budget for your next big trip, the better you’ll be able to save as a result. This will help you avoid getting into debt during your travels and the stress that goes with it.