4 Ways to Avoid Vacation Overspending

Date June 25, 2014

Vacation is a time to unwind, but if you end up overspending, you may face a stress-fest when it’s time to pay your credit card bills. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to curb vacation spending while still taking in all the monuments, shows, museums, and landmarks you want.

Here are some tips on how to keep vacation costs in check:

Make a daily budget.
Even if you’ve already planned out a budget, it’s a good idea to set daily spending limits and to keep track of your expenses. If you’re going on an all-inclusive trip, this can be much easier, since your meals, transportation and lodging are already covered, and you only need to budget for extras, like shopping. However, if you’re planning your own trip, establishing a daily budget can be a little more involved. Use a free online budget application to help you determine what you can spend each day that will give you enough freedom to enjoy your time off without overdoing it.

Check your credit card.
If you’re planning international travel, make sure you understand the fees that may be involved for using your credit card while in a foreign country. Avoiding these fees, typically 1% to 3% of each transaction, can help lower your travel costs. Some credit cards are better for frequent travelers than others because they earn points and rewards for spending that can be redeemed later for air fares and hotel expenses.

 Invest in experiences, not souvenirs.
With so many gift shops specifically marketed towards tourists, it’s easy to go overboard with souvenir shopping. If you buy a lot of these items, you may face unexpected costs later on, such as extra baggage fees to cart all those things home. By refocusing your trip on experiences rather than souvenirs, you’ll travel lighter and cheaper and you may also be happier. Research shows that experiences make people happier in the long run than material possessions. So joyful vacation memories of going to a tropical beach or on a ride at Disney World with friends or loved ones will last far longer than the kick you may get from holding a mug bought on that trip.

Use public transportation.
Even after you’ve arrived at your vacation destination, the costs of getting from A to B while there can eat up a lot of cash. If you’re a globetrotter looking for ways to get around at a lower cost, consider taking a bus, subway or train instead of taxis or renting a car. Many bigger cities have transit systems that can make getting around easy, fast and affordable. Often, you can find out more about transit options on travel sites like TripAdvisor. Another benefit of using public transportation like a local is that you’ll meet more people who know the area and may help you find your way, and offer helpful tips on where to eat and what to do.

Seeing the World Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
If you’re interested in saving even more on your next getaway, consider packing food and snacks, walking or renting a bike, finding accommodations through online services, staying at a hostel, with a host family, or camping. See if your local credit union has discounts for amusement parks or other destinations, and you can save even more. By taking the time to manage your money and make sensible spending decisions while you’re on vacation, you’ll have more peace of mind throughout the rest the year.


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