Friday, June 21, 2013

Tools for Sticking to a Budget While on Vacation

Vacations can be complete budget busters!
When we go on vacation, like we did last week
we have set aside a certain amount of money just for the vacation.

I've found some strategies to help us stick to our budget and I thought I'd share them with you today.

1. Write a budget long before the trip
Decide how much you can afford to spend.
Not put on the credit card.
How much can you afford to spend. 
Cash Money.
Vacations don't have to be expensive to be fun. 
Our week-long vacation cost $500.
You can us a plan sheet of paper to write your budget, or use this handy Vacation Budget sheet from Living Well Spending Less. 
Make sure and keep this list with you ALWAYS while you are on vacation.
Cash...use cash on your trip...much easier to keep track of your spending with cash. 

2. Locations
Vacations don't have to be tropical or Disney World or across the ocean to be fun. 
Ask friends and neighbors about great local attractions...or google "Visit ___(your state name)____" and you'll most likely be able to order a free visitors guide to your state of choice. 
Our recent vacation was only 3 hours away...which meant we saved by not having air fare and it took less then a full tank of gas to get us there.

3. Where to Stay
Personally, we enjoy camping. We bought a small pop-up camper a few years ago (for less then $2,000) and love using it. Camp the Midwest...are usually under $35 a night. 
If camping isn't your thing, you can save a ton by not staying in a fancy resort or the "it" hotel. Check out campgrounds to see if they have cabins for rent.
How about motels? They may not be really pretty to look at from the outside...but as long as they're clean, I don't care. When I'm on vacation, I don't spend much time in my hotel room anyways!

4. What to Do While Your There
Google the city you're visiting. Check out their online visitors center.
Look up and price out attractions that you're family would enjoy.
Narrow down the attractions based on your budget. 
For most vacations, one or two attractions a day is enough for the kids. 
Don't do something if it'll bust the budget! 

5. Time to Eat
The major benefit of camping is making your own meals. You can do something easy like hamburgers or hot dogs or go all out. We ate dinner at our campsite all but one night. For a family of four in a resort town, that easily saved us $150+! 
For lunches, we packed picnics most days. A couple loafs of bread, lunch meat and cheese, chips and fruit and we were ready. (Don't forget ice packs to keep it all cold!) Then each day, we would find a new spot to eat our lunch...a nice park, the beach, where ever. That probably saved us another $120. 
I also pack snacks for the kids. We did go out for snacks twice and it was a great treat!
A great tip for eating out is to find out where to locals eat! It's usually much cheaper then the main tourist places.

6. Keep Track
Like I said before...bring cash. It's so easy to over spend it you're using your bank card. 
We always just keep our budget tracker sheet on a clipboard in the car.
Spend $20 in ice cream?
Cross it off the budget!
It really made it all stress-free for me.

What are your tips for sticking to a budget while on vacation?
We rarely travel by plane, so I'd love some tips for saving there!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


  1. Great Tips, Thanks for sharing!
    Amber @ Tales of Domestica

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Amber! Have a great week!


  2. These are some really good ideas! Vacation spending can get out of hand!

    Mel S

    1. It really can - especially with me a gift shops!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  3. These are all great tips and come at the perfect time! Vacation season!! Thanks for sharing them with us at Fancy This Fridays! We featured you today! Hope you'll check it out and grab a button! ;)

    ~Kassi @ Truly Lovely

    1. Amazing! Thank you so much for the feature! I grabbed a button to share!


  4. Thanks for the tips and for sharing at the Friday Follow Along last week. Hope you will stop by again and link up at

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by - I will check it out!