Making the Most of Your Vacation Budget

Jennifer A. Digiovanni, March 2018

Making the Most of Your Vacation Budget

No one plans to start off their vacation with a limited budget, but sometimes you can't resist that first opportunity to splurge. If you've spent too much on a five-star meal or the perfect gift for someone back home, you can still find ways to reduce your spending and get back on track.

Seek out Local Deals

If you've gone over your vacation budget earlier than anticipated, your best bet is to find lower cost activities. Looking up top free or low-cost activities in the city you're touring can help you find walking trails, museums with discount passes, or possibly a free entry national park. Travel sites like TripAdvisor provide plenty of information about things to do in popular cities, along with ratings and reviews provided by other tourists.

If you're willing to stay flexible, try to sightsee at non-peak times of the day and take advantage of twilight admissions. To visit as many attractions as possible and still stay within budget, look for combo packages like those available at CityPASS which include admission to larger cities' most popular tourist stops at reduced rates.

Look for Frugal Dining Options

Cutting back on your restaurant budget is another savings option while on vacation. Rather than dining at five-star restaurants, look into local favorites or those offering special deals during vacation season. Seek out recommendations, whether at your hotel, with your tour guide, or from restaurant rating websites. If your hotel offers free breakfast, take them up on it. For daytime snacks, make a grocery store run and plan ahead rather than picking up more expensive items when you're hungry throughout the day. Be on the lookout for lunch and dinner specials when you're out touring.

Stay Low-Key

Rather than continuing to spend money on expensive excursions, it's better to take a step back and ask yourself why you're on vacation. Did you want to simply relax and get away? If so, find a free beach to soak up the sun and sand. If you wanted to explore a new city, look for a walking tour or other free local venues to visit. Is the weather not cooperating? Consider a fun rainy day activity like going to the movies.

Vacations can be completed on a budget, even when they start with a minor amount of overspending. Free or low-cost activities are often available everywhere you go — if you know how to find them. When you return home, don't forget to quickly evaluate your overall vacation spending and start saving for your next big trip.

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