If you don’t want to end up like the Griswold’s, out of money and hundreds of miles from home in your wood-paneled station wagon, you’ll want to take time to budget for your summer vacation. Many Americans are still feeling stretched between high gas prices, increased living costs and lower wages which is why creating a getaway budget is even more important.
Get Free Online Help Head to BudgetYourTrip.com for free help with planning and tracking your travel budget. Search for cities and countries around the world to find the destination you’re interested in. Then you can review estimated travel costs created by experts and real travelers. Check out this example of an estimated budget for a week in Tokyo.
Stick Closer to Home
While a European vacation might sound great, settling for Wally World will be easier on your wallet. And you’re not alone. AAA estimates that 34.8 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more from home over Memorial weekend, a 1.2 percent increase from last year. Only about seven percent of those travelers took to the skies. The rest are sticking closer to home which is a great way to save cash.
Track Price Drops
Sort of like the stock market, hotel rates and airline tickets tend to move up and move down. Travel site Hot Wire tracks these trends to find out where the bargains are. According to Hot Wire, Atlantic City hotels have dropped their rates by 13 percent in recent months, especially at four-star properties.
Avoid Big Events
When a major sporting event, concert or festival happens, hotels tend to jack up rates. For instance, hotels in Augusta, Georgia raised nightly rates back in April for the Masters Golf Tournament, but according to Hot Wire those prices have now dropped six percent lower than they were this time last year.
Pay with Cash
While your goal may be to relax during your vacation, don’t let your spending get too loose. That can happen when you’re using plastic. Withdrawing cash at the beginning of your summer vacation will ensure you’re spending what you have, not what you don’t. Just remember, you want your suntan to last longer than your credit card balance.
By Alison Storm
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