Frugal Vacation Planning

Frugal Vacation Planning


We all need to take a break from our lives and get away from time to time. Travel is costly but the experience is worth it. There are many ways to keep vacation costs down so you can focus on enjoying yourself without worrying about your credit card statement when you get home.

Save Throughout The Year

Create a travel fund so you can save up for your trip throughout the entire year. I suggest determining your expenses by separating the actual travel costs from the vacation costs.

Travel costs are: Airfare, trainfare, busfare and gas.
Vacation costs are: Lodging, food, activities/entertainment and splurges

Set a mental number for both of these costs and round up. This should be your travel fund goal. Even if you do not make this goal by the time of your trip, even if you have saved half, this is far better than relying on your credit card and dreading the bill when you return home.

Bring Everything And Save Money

Often times we buy items on vacation that we already have at home but did not bring with us. Here are my suggestions of commonly forgotten items that can save you money if brought on vacation:

  • Snacks: Granola bars, cookies, and pretzels are all good travel snack foods. You can put them in your carry on for plane travel or in a small bag in the car. These will curb your appetite and spending, since snack-size bags in airports or gas stations are overpriced.
  • Water Bottle: For car travel, bring several filled with water. Purchasing soda at a gas station is expensive and will not quench your thirst. For plane travel, bring one empty waterbottle in your carry-on and fill it up at a water fountain once you are by the gate.
  • Clothing: Bring clothing for all temperatures so you don’t have to shell out money for a sweatshirt or extra swimsuit
  • Medicine: Pack a first aid kit consisting of band-aids, blister remedies, aspirin and anti-acid.
  • Hair/Beauty: Through out the year, save any small containers you accumulate and use these for your shampoo and other liquids when traveling.

Splurge Intelligently

We all have a tendency to pay more for items when on vacation than we would otherwise. The last thing you want to think about it is your budget! Splurging is to be expected and if it is planned for, then there is no reason not to. However, there is a difference between a splurge that will increase your vacation experience and simply buying a useless item that is overpriced and means nothing. Try to keep this difference in mind when picking up souvenir’s. If it is to truly capture the memory, then that makes sense. But if you want to buy something in another state just for the sake of it, that will not add to your memories and is plain silly.

By the time you read this, I will be already gone on my vacation! Don’t worry, if I don’t stay on budget, you’ll hear about it. See you all next week!


7 Replies to “Frugal Vacation Planning”

  1. I have a vacation ritual. One of my friends works for an airline company, so I always make sure she gets me (cheap) tickets. Another works for a Hotel chain and needless to say, her family and friends deals come in handy. When driving, we buy gas from Costco warehouses along the way and stock up on essentials like snacks and drinks.

  2. Prices in Europe are MUCH cheaper in Oct/Nov than any other time of year. I stayed in Paris, just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower in a fabulous location for 80eruos a night. Also found a great site for short term apartment rentals out of the UK ( and got a deal on an apt on the French Riviera/ Cote Azure for 150 euros for the a whole week. Best part, I had France to myself! No crowds of tourists to fight for every attraction.

  3. Agreed – I have a travel fund and it is a lifesaver!

    Everything about going away from home is so pricey – the gas/flights, the accommodation, and the activities if you’re doing something like skiing.

    If you’re just going away to lounge on the beach though, that’s a different matter.

  4. Travel funds really help. If you put 100 or so away a month, you likely wont miss it, and by the end of the year, you can have a great vacation.
    The nice part about leaving town is that there is so many different things you can do, but you cant forget about the most important part: Spend on what you enjoy, cut what you dont.

  5. I’m actually starting a travel fund as one of my new savings goals. There’s just something about being able to save money and when you actually get to travel, it’s guilt free. ( Must remember the snacks tip)

  6. this is awesome!! i’m a student that loves to travel, so i need all the money saving/travel tips i can get!
    on my last trip i went to turkey, and i brought my own water bottle and everything! i was a bit nervous about the safety of the water, so i ended up buying my water (and being quite sad about it!)

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