Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you budget has to be, too. In fact, when you’re on a fun and relaxing trip, throwing caution to the wind when it comes to money will only result in a rude awakening when you get home. If you do it right, traveling with a budget doesn’t have to ruin your good time. Here are some tips to help you stick to a budget during your travels.
1. Do ALL the Freebies
Wherever you are, there are likely to be free museums, tours, and monuments to visit. One great example is Washington, DC. You can see the entire Washington Mall with the many monuments, along with the Smithsonian and zoo, for $0.
2. Bring Snacks
Pack as many snacks in your luggage or day bag as you can. Pack filling things like nuts, trail mix, and fruit. If you can skip having to buy breakfast or lunch (or buy less of it), you can save considerable cash on your trip.
3. Steer Clear of Tourist Traps
“Gift shops” are notorious tourist spending traps. Do you really need that mug, keychain, or pen? Instead of walking through gift shops and browsing, limit yourself to ONE souvenir, and only buy something you’ll appreciate forever. Even better, let photos and memories be your souvenirs.
4. Limit Alcohol
As you probably know, alcoholic drinks can really kill your budget. Limit yourself to one or two “drink nights” during your trip, depending on how long you’ll be gone, and keep it to one or two drinks.
5. Go Natural
Nature is always cheaper than city-based attractions. You can do both, but the more national parks, hikes, or out-of-city destinations you work into your trip, the less money you’ll spend.
6. Do Your Research
If you want to see all the best stuff in a city, package deals can often save you a lot of dough over paying for each attraction individually. Websites like Smart Destinations offer “city card” passes that you can customize for what you’d like to do in cities like Oahu, LA, London, Vegas, Chicago, Boston, Orlando, even Dubai. And at least in our experience, they are cheaper than the cards at Costco.