Monday, July 4, 2016

Vacation on a Budget - Doesn't Mean What You Think

We are less than a week away from our big family vacation.  Hooray!  Most of our planning is done, although we still have a few items to take care of before we depart.

As we head towards our departure date, I need to do laundry and pack.  I also have one more Amazon Prime order to execute on.  But as for our travel plan, the airline tickets are paid for, the hotels are reserved and the rental car is booked.

We vacation on a budget, but we don't scrimp.  What does that mean you ask?  Well it means that we always have a short term savings account earmarked for travel/vacation.  We also have an automatic deposit set up, so $200 per pay period goes into our vacation/travel fund.  That normally means that we have more than enough in our travel/savings account to pay cash for airline tickets.  After our airline tickets are booked and our vacation is planned I often up extra savings into our travel/vacation fund to make sure we have more than enough cash on hand for our hotel, rental car and spending.  This time around we didn't need to since our savings account was well funded.

I don't scrimp when I go on vacation, so I normally budget at least $100 a day for food which seems like a lot, but if you are eating out or stopping at a local brewery for a couple of $10 beers it works out to the right amount for us.  I also think about and plan for other spending, we'll be stopping at two national parks, so I'm accounting for entry fees, gas, and misc. spending on a t-shirt here or there or a special souvenir.  Mr. Sam likes to pick up t-shirts on his travel and he wears them a lot.  I like a more upscale souvenir, a piece of art from a local or maybe a handcrafted piece of jewelry.  I am picky so that means I often come home with nothing and that is ok.  Baby Sam gets to pick out something fun for herself that is inexpensive and I will likely pick out something for her along the way.  I normally set aside another $100 in cash for misc. spending.

All of this preplanning means that when we get home from vacation we only bring memories, a rock or two for our collection and no debt.