Budget Travel Tip #1: Don't Borrow From Your Future Vacations
The most important budget travel tip is to never borrow money to pay for a family vacation.
Because if you continue to borrow money to pay for your family vacations you will have less and less money available for future vacations.
And the more financial stress you experience as a result of the ever-increasing monthly debt payments, the more you will feel you need an escape (vacation) from the added stress, and the more you will have to borrow to escape.
It's a vicious cycle that can lead to financial and emotional bankruptcy.
Budget Travel Tip #2: Travel On a Budget
If you want to avoid jeopardizing future vacations, it's imperative that you create a realistic budget for your trip and then stick to your budget.
This is rarely easy since traveling with credit cards is safer than traveling with cash. But unlike an empty wallet, a credit card does not provide a clear indication you've exceeded the amount you budgeted for a given expense category.
Therefore, in order to make sure you stay within your travel budget limits, it's important that you keep a running tab of all of your travel spending as it occurs.
One of the best ways I have found to keep a running tab of your travel spending is to use a blank checkbook register.
- Allocate a few pages of the register for each trip expense category.
- Record the budgeted amount as the starting balance for each series of pages.
- Record each expenditure as they occur into the appropriate section of the checkbook register and deduct the amount from the balance -- just as you would when writing a check.
- When the balance of a category reaches zero you know you have exhausted the funds budgeted for that category.
- Spending any more for a zero-balance category means you will have to either transfer funds from other sections, or increase your debt.
Budget Travel Tip #3: Give Equal Focus to the Post Vacation
In order to successfully plan a budget family vacation, it's important to use your imagination for more than just imagining how much fun you will have.
You also need to give equal focus to imagining how you will feel about the vacation after it has occurred. You can do that by honestly answering the following types of questions.
- Will the memories, souvenirs, and photos be as exciting to you as looking forward to the vacation?
- Will you spend the next year partially depressed because you dearly miss laying on the beach, hearing the ocean waves crash onto shore, and being waited on hand and foot?
- Will you spend several weeks working harder than normal just to catch up on everything you fell behind on while away?
- How many hours did you have to work at your job in order to earn the after-tax, after-work-related-expense income to pay for the vacation?
- After calculating the lost interest income from not being able to invest the cost of the vacation, will you still see the vacation as being a good investment?
- Is there anything else you could have bought with the cost of the vacation that the family could have enjoyed for a longer period of time than the length of your vacation?
- After returning home from your vacation do you think you will feel like you could have gotten by with less of a vacation?
The bottom line is, don't be like most people who only use their imaginations to envision how much they will enjoy the "party" aspect of their actions, while failing to use their imaginations to envision the "hangover" aspect of their actions.