Author Topic: how do you control spending when going on a vacation...  (Read 4702 times)

FuckRx

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how do you control spending when going on a vacation...
« on: December 10, 2013, 09:13:43 AM »

i don't go on vacation frequently but when i go i tend to take one credit card just to pay for things and i'll kind of wing it, do things that locals recommend etc. but this method obviously isn't working because i just got back from the philippines which was incredible but i spent way too much... so what are the tricks?

willn

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Re: how do you control spending when going on a vacation...
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2013, 09:18:00 AM »
Set a realistic budget.  Don't spend beyond it.  To do that I guess you have to research prices and decide what you're going to do and how much that costs.

dude

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Re: how do you control spending when going on a vacation...
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2013, 09:44:07 AM »
ah yeah, this is one that gets me every time.  I KNOW I shouldn't do that extra day of diving, but damn, I'm there and the conditions and weather are great, so why not do two more tanks?  For me, assuming my life is in order otherwise, I try not to sweat overspending on vacation, so long as it isn't crazy.  If I spend 20% more than I anticipated or planned, oh well.  Planning for the long run is wise, but in the long run, we're all dead (thanks, JM Keynes). 

If you're going into debt to do this, however, that is a problem.

anastrophe

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Re: how do you control spending when going on a vacation...
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 10:20:33 AM »
Plan ahead. Do you travel often? Try to get a sense of how much you usually spend on certain types of activities (food, tours, etc) and budget for them ahead of time. It's exactly the same as controlling spending for any other discretionary expenses, except you overspend on travel rather than shoes or cars or whatever.

jrhampt

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Re: how do you control spending when going on a vacation...
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2013, 02:30:21 PM »
If we're talking about international travel, I try to pay for and book as much as possible ahead of time - transportation costs and lodging, mostly - this fixes a large portion of the costs and then I also don't have to worry as much about things like foreign transaction fees.  I also try to get accommodation which includes breakfast, budget reasonably for one large meal out per day, and get some supplies from the local grocery store for snacks in between - bread, cheese, etc - so I'm not stuck popping into the nearest available place in desperation for overpriced, mediocre food.  If I have access to a kitchen, even better.  If I'm in a place with cheap and delicious street food (like Thailand), then I take advantage of that.  As for sightseeing, I try to do research ahead of time and take advantage of passes that combine or reduce admission costs.  I do very little souvenir shopping, if any.  But for my meals out and admission to the things I really want to see, I don't worry too much about the cost, within reason.  You spent all that money on getting there, so make the most out of your time (and money) while you're there, and enjoy it.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: how do you control spending when going on a vacation...
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2013, 04:28:34 AM »
Set a realistic budget. I've learned the hard way by underestimating our vacation expenses and then come back with regret.  I always set a budget for each expenditure so I have a feel whether we can really afford the trip or not. Generally, when I give my husband the realistic numbers (airport parking, someone watching our dog, food, airfare, hotels, etc.), we decide we would rather skip that trip and save the money for a bigger, more exciting trip on our bucket list.

Just like here at home, we try to spend money on things that don't matter so we have more money for the things we are interested in. This means we take public transport/subways rather than a taxi because that means our dinner is virtually paid for with those savings. As others mentioned, try to get breakfast included in the hotel rate. We generally eat later so that breakfast becomes our brunch and generally, my husband and I will eat an early dinner to save meals and time so we really only pay for 1 meal per day. Otherwise, if there is a kitchen, we will stock up on things like coffee (I've been known to bring my own coffee), cereal, produce so we can feel more comfortable and even spend less. We maximize our points so we are might only pay for a hotel for a portion of the trip. We never buy souvenirs or anything else while away.

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Re: how do you control spending when going on a vacation...
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2013, 04:36:26 AM »
In the past I have used the cash envelope system.  Budget for each category and create a cash envelope for each category.  When the cash is gone, you either have to use cash from another envelope or you're done. 

Melody

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Re: how do you control spending when going on a vacation...
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2013, 05:20:18 AM »
I focus on getting the best possible deal on flights/accommodation (hire care if applicable) and then don't stress to much about the rest (except that just like at home I avoid Taxis like the plague in most countries!) I also only really eat two meals a day while traveling but this more due to available time to eat (e.g. buffet breakfast included in hotel, snack and fancy dinner OR crappy free breakfast at hostel, fancy lunch, free tapas) etc. I also try not to buy stuff (I only take hand luggage so it's pretty easy as I really don't have space for anything.) Beyond that I just make sure to convert expenses in my head so I know what I am paying in $$$. If it seems poor value, then I don't do it. (Find a rule - for example cover up the last 2 zeros, and divide by three... you might have to play around at home to find your rule, but one you have it you can do it on the fly.) I also book lots of experiences in advance more due to not wanting to miss out than budgeting, but it helps with budgeting as well. (And it's paid off on many occasions, such as visiting Alcatraz Prision in August - had I not booked I would have missed out!)

starbuck

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Re: how do you control spending when going on a vacation...
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2013, 06:21:58 AM »
I keep track of what we spend during the trip. If it's domestic, I just use mint on my phone. Abroad, pencil and paper. I used to do it because we traveled with other people and it was easiest to keep track of everything so costs could be divvyed up later. Now I do it because of the same problem facing the OP. (We spent HOW much in 8 days?!)

Our approach to urban travel is to make it up as we go too. I've learned that I'm not really a museum person, so I try and limit spending on such things that trip advisor thinks we SHOULD do and focus on what I actually like. Like finding the best coffees and beers in the area, live music, wandering through public parks, visiting really old houses.

We make frequent use of picnics too. Pick up some food from the grocery or corner store, find a grassy spot, eat and people watch. Highly recommended.

Any shopping I do is intentional and decided on beforehand. We collect christmas ornaments as we travel, not always sold as ornaments but things that can have a hole drilled in them and hung from a tree. I wanted to look for a wool blanket when we went to Iceland. Wine and beer from Nova Scotia. Vodka from Russia. Wine from France.

Clearly I like to drink.

Albert

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Re: how do you control spending when going on a vacation...
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2013, 04:28:48 PM »
I travel min 3 weeks a year and that's only counting trips long enough that they require flying. Some tips - shop for flight tickets well in advance, eat breakfast in the hotel if you are staying in one, find the local grocery store so that you are not dependent on restaurants every day. If you are renting a car anyway consider staying in cheaper accommodations outside city centre. Rent the smallest car which would still comfortably fit the number of travellers. Keep to the minimum buying stuff unless it's something you'd have bought at home anyway and it's cheaper over there.

Suggestions above are for saving money, but you also need to accept that the overall spending on a  daily basis will be well above that of staying home. Few hundred dollars a day is normal if you are going far away and it's for you to decide if you can actually afford it. Generally speaking if you can't pay it all with cash the answer is a clear no.