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Three Steps to a Great Summer Vacation

Three Steps to a Great Summer Vacation 

Summer is the best time to book a fantastic family vacation. Whether you just want to enjoy the sun or experience the culture and cuisine of a new place, it’s important to plan your vacation well ahead of time, including how much it will cost.

There’s nothing worse than returning from vacation to a mailbox full of bills and a credit card that’s maxed out. It ruins all of the rest and relaxation you enjoyed during your time away. Luckily, the best way to combat this is to save up for your vacation ahead of time and only spend what you’ve saved while you’re traveling. Here’s how:

If you’re a small business owner, you probably pay extra attention to when and how often you travel. Consider these guidelines for travel expenses if you’re self-employed.

Create a Detailed Budget
Before going on vacation, create a detailed budget. Include categories like hotel, gas, flights, food, entertainment, and souvenirs. Give yourself lots of extra padding, as it’s easy to go overboard on vacation.

Once you’ve done your research and you have a ballpark figure of how much it will cost you, you can start to save. For example, if you’re interested in going on a $5,000 vacation and you have 5 months until you want to leave, you’ll need to save $1,000 a month ahead of time.

Save Deliberately
Now that you have a goal and a benchmark for how much money you need for that ideal vacation, it’s time to deliberately save. If $1,000 a month (or whatever amount you come up with) sounds like too much, try to adjust the amount of days you’re going to spend on vacation or the amount of meals you want to eat out. You also can try to work extra and earn more, which would make it easier to save.

Remember, the goal is to have a nice, enjoyable vacation from beginning to end, so although it might be challenging to curb your spending leading up to your vacation, it will be worth it knowing that you have all the money saved up for your experience ahead of time.

Pay It Off Immediately
If you used a credit card on your vacation, make sure to pay it off in full immediately after you get home. If you saved a large amount of cash for your vacation, it can be tempting to keep it or use it for something else after you get home, but stay strong. Follow through with your plan and pay off any vacation debt using the cash you saved so you don’t have financial stress when you get home.

Another alternative is to take the money for your vacation out in cash before you leave. Many people don’t like carrying a lot of cash while traveling, but if you’re comfortable with that, you can use cash envelopes for gas, dinners, and entertainment to be sure you don’t overspend.

If you stick to this plan, you’ll be much more likely to come home relaxed, refreshed, and ready to start saving for your next vacation.