How to Budget For Vacation So There Are No Nasty Surprises

How to Budget For Vacation So There Are No Nasty Surprises


Going on vacation is supposed to be an exciting and stress-free experience. But failing to account for your spending once you are on the vacation leads to nasty surprises and unnecessary stress, which can make or break a good vacation.

Here are some tips to help you plan ahead for vacation spending and avoid missing out on all the fun.


1. Know Your Limits

Start by working out what you currently have to spend vs. what you would like to spend. This will help you get a more realistic idea of what you are able to do on your vacation. Make sure what you currently have to spend is a concrete number and not an estimation, being realistic is key when it comes to budgeting.


2. Do Your Research

Assuming that food, alcohol and transport on vacation cost roughly the same as in your home country is a big mistake. Make sure you check out average prices and conversion rates before you travel so you have a better idea of what your spending is going to look like. Look up restaurant menus, average accommodation costs and transport costs in the area you are staying and read review sites to see what other travelers have said to help get an idea of prices.


3. Determine Activity Costs

If you are on a tight budget, knowing which activities you would like to do on vacation will help you have a much better idea of what you can actually afford to do. Write a list of things you want to do on the vacation and research online the average costs and admissions fees. This allows you to prioritize the things you really want to do, instead of assuming you can do everything and running out of money.


4. Don’t Forget Airport Transfers

If you are traveling to more than one place, airport transfers are a hidden cost that adds up quickly. Look into what public transport costs vs. Uber and taxis and make a call based on your budget. Setting aside this money before you reach your destination allows you to travel to and from airports with peace of mind.


5. Create Your Own Vacation Budget Template

This basic spreadsheet is recommended by accountants for people who are on a tight budget or need to keep track of their spending. Taking into account the above tips, this method allows you to create a very simple spreadsheet in Excel or Word that helps calculate spending while on vacation. You’ll be able to realistically anticipate what you are going to spend and how much more you need to save or put aside to make the most out of your vacation. If you do end up overspending in one category on vacation, having this spreadsheet already done will help you identify which areas you’ll have to cut back on to avoid going over budget.

Categories may need to be changed, removed or added depending on the type of trip you are taking.

Vacation Expenses Before the Vacation

These expenses are generally paid for before you leave so they should not be included in your vacation spending money.

Vacation Expenses During the Vacation

These expenses cover what you will spend while on vacation. This is where the nasty surprises happen so make sure that these numbers are as accurate as possible so you have the most realistic idea of what your vacation will cost.

Travel Tips
Make a difference with

Sign up for news on local beach cleanups, ocean conservation and more.