Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vacation on a Budget - Update

I have returned from my vacation on a budget feeling a bit tired and sore (from all the hiking) but also refreshed.

Comparing my travel/vacation budget of $2000 to my actual spending is always interesting. See below for my original plans.

The next step for a vacation on a budget is to give some real thought (and research) to how much the total trip will cost me. Some costs, like the flight, hotel and rental car are fixed so those costs are easier to plan for. My share of the rental car is $82 plus half of estimated gas costs ($50). My share of the hotel costs is $452 (including estimated taxes). Additionally, we have planned time at a Spa and my reserved services are $285 (includes estimated tip). My total known vacation costs are $1199.

What about unknown costs? I estimated unknown costs based on the kind of trip (this time around - mostly hiking/outdoors) and then I give myself a reasonable daily budget. I have given myself $200 a day for Saturday - Monday of the trip and $100 for Friday and Tuesday of the trip(travel days) for a total of $800 in spending money. My daily spending budget should cover things like meals, entertainment and any shopping. My total vacation budget is $2000.

My estimated travel expenses (drum roll please) came in at $1566 about $434 under budget.

  • The flight (a known cost) was $330.
  • My share of the hotel (a known cost) was $456 (budget was $452).
  • My share of the rental car (a known cost) was $82 plus my share of the gas $58 (budget was $50).
  • The spa expense was $317 (budget was $285).
  • The rest of the money, $323, was spent on dining, drinks, food/water supplies for our day hikes, and a few small gifts.

I could have spent the rest of my budget as I really wanted to buy a lovely necklace that I saw in a couple of different high end jewelry stores (I saw the same style necklace a few times and the price ranged from $400 - $900 depending on the store). I also saw a beautiful sculpture that I still might buy (I will save the artist's information and if I still want the sculpture in 6 months and Mr. Sam agrees I'll buy it) that cost $800. Since I really coveted these two budget buster travel souvenirs, it didn't make sense to me to buy other lesser items.

All in all, it was a wonderful vacation and I'm very pleased that there will be no credit card bills showing up in the mail to ruin it.

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