Budgeting basics

How to budget for a vacation

Your ultimate guide to budgeting for a dream vacation!

June 2, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Jan 12
Three people standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking a cove with stunning blue water.

The gist: Plotting a course to your dream vacation is all about clear goals, knowing your financial highs and lows, putting a little love into your savings, showing debts who's boss, and making room for some spontaneous retail therapy. 

The road to your dream vacation is paved with a little bit of planning and a whole lot of excitement. That being said, your fantasy trip requires a reality check, and that's where budgeting saunters in. This guide will help you navigate the ins and outs of vacation budgeting and set you on your path to becoming a vacation budgeting guru! 

Set Crystal Clear Goals

First things first: we need to pinpoint where you're headed. Are you yearning for the salty air of a beachside retreat? The hustle and bustle of an urban exploration? Or perhaps the tranquil vibes of a mountain hideaway? Whatever your heart's set on, we've got to get specific, and by specific, I mean down-to-the-cent specific. The clearer your vacation goal, the more achievable it becomes. 

The Financial Autopsy: Understanding Your Income and Expenses

Now, it's time to put on your detective hat and dive into your own finances. It might sound scary, but trust me, it's not. And it's crucial. Let's break it down:

  • Income: That’s all the green coming in. Salary, side hustles, freelancing, those odd jobs you've been doing. That's your vacation fuel.
  • Expenses: Everything going out, from Netflix subscriptions to your favorite artisan coffee. They’re like little holes in your vacation balloon. But don’t worry, we're gonna patch 'em up.

Get a grip on these two, and you'll see your financial health like never before. You might even find a few hidden dollars you never knew existed!

Fall in Love with Saving

We know - 'saving' might not be the most romantic word to you right now. But hear us out: saving is your ticket to an unforgettable vacation. Start by putting a small percentage of your income aside every month. Over time, you'll be amazed at how it adds up! You could even automate your savings so that your bank does the work while you're out living life.

Be the Boss: Debt Repayment

Like a boss, show those debts who's in charge. Your dream vacation is waiting, and it's about time you showed those pesky debts the exit. Create a payment plan that works for you. If you can, go beyond the minimum repayments. Every bit helps, and freeing yourself from debt is like shaking off heavy luggage before your trip. You're lighter, freer, and ready to go further.

Wiggle Room: The Art of Discretionary Spending

Last, but certainly not least, we come to the fun part: discretionary spending. You've worked hard to budget, save, and repay debts. Now, it's time to allow for a little spontaneity. Whether it's that cute sun hat you've had your eye on, or a spur-of-the-moment city tour, give yourself a bit of freedom to make those impulsive choices. After all, you're on vacation, aren't you?

And there you have it! You're now equipped to plan your dream vacation like a pro. So grab that map, start pinning your destinations, and watch your vacation dreams take flight. Bon voyage!

*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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