How to Travel on a Budget

As we know the cost to take a vacation is pricey, to say the least. However, whether we’re going to the beach for a weekend or spending a month in an exotic city, our rewards are well-deserved rejuvenations after a year of hard work. There are a number of tactics to help you prepare and plan for your time off.

To begin with, start saving now. Your vacation might be a year away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start setting some money aside for it now.  Start a separate savings account for your travel fund. Add a couple hundred dollars a month, and it will quickly add up.  Online banking makes this convenient and easy.  You can create several accounts for different purposes free of charge. A great way to gain financial flexibility is to purchase you ticket as soon as possible and reserve your hotels in advanced.  Booking in advanced grants you better purchase rates and allows you to pay for some of your trip now and continue saving your finances for further payments as your excursion comes closer.

Think about how much you might spend.  Create a budget.  Going off on a marvelous vacation without planning on how much you may spend can be a dangerous expedition.  A planned budget is more than deciding a limit to your spending.  Consider where you money will be going.  Are you spending your funds on fancy meals? Souvenirs? Transportation?  That way you will better be able to forecast you financial needs.

Without a doubt, traveling in groups can immensely reduce overall travel costs.  Go on a vacation with a group of friends or get your family together with another family.  Transportation and rooming will ultimately be less expensive and you can develop some strong bonds between others.

If you are traveling abroad make sure you check the currency exchange rates (plus any fees).  With many countries having weaker dollars, forgetting the exchange rate can cause your purchases to eat away your money.  Places like Europe, for example, end up being far more expensive for Americans.  Before you go, figure out how you will be paying when you arrive.

Also check with your credit card company.  Visa and MasterCard are accepted worldwide, but take into consideration the currency transaction fees for credit, debit, and ATM withdrawal.  Check with your bank to find out their currency exchange policy.  You might find it is a little expensive just to make withdrawals in another country.  It might be more cost effective to order foreign currency.  Up to $1,000 can be ordered online from American Express, and you’ll have it delivered to your home for the cost of $15.00 plus shipping.

Before you go, pack what you need.  Make sure you don’t forget toiletries, clothing, or your camera.  The price to purchase those items can add up, plus your buying something you already have.  It sounds silly, but make a list and don’t forget.  Make sure you don’t pack too much though!  Airlines can charge more than $50 if your baggage weight is over the limit.  Oh and remember, you may be returning with more stuff.  A happy medium is all that is necessary to make your vacation comfortable.  Vacation is time for you to relax and not worry about what you forgot or how much money you can spend in every moment.  Just take a little time before hand to make you break go as smooth as possible.

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James R. Coffey
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