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  • Cultivating Connections Travel Planners

What Should You Consider When Budgeting for a Vacation?

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

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”Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer…”

Traveling is a luxury we should indulge in as many times as possible. The benefits of exploring dream destinations and experiencing new cultures cannot be overemphasized. However, there are factors that determine how much a vacation costs. How much does this trip cost? How much do you need for your daily expenses on this vacation? What about accommodation costs? What about transportation? What type of vacation can you afford? Here are the things you’ll need to consider when budgeting for your vacation.

The Type of Vacation

All vacations do not cost the same. The price of a vacation depends on a variety of factors such as the type of vacation itself. Be it a land vacation, or a cruise vacation, a trip with friends/family, or a honeymoon vacation, the vacation expenses incurred are different for every traveler. It also depends on your age group. For example, statistics have shown that empty nesters and retirees tend to spend more on vacations than young people under 25. And of course, it matters whether your vacation is a local trip or an international one. The purpose of your vacation also determines the cost. If you want to give yourself a real treat (a luxury vacation), then you should expect to spend more than a budget vacation. And by the way, “luxury” means something different to everyone!

Accommodation Costs

Lodging costs, or what I like to call “the cost of a good night’s sleep away from home”, also matters. You don’t need a soothsayer to tell you that staying with a family friend or relative during a vacation will most likely cost less than staying at a five-star hotel. Accommodation costs account for about one-quarter of the total travel expenses. Are you planning on staying in an all-inclusive luxury hotel or resort or do you prefer renting a home? If you want to stay in a hotel, what type of room would you like? A large-sized room or suite with all the comforts such as an excellent balcony view, original art on the walls, adequate storage, large-sized flat-screen TV and other electronic gadgets, and of course a King-sized bed with a good mattress, high-quality sheets, and a beautiful array of different pillow types will be more expensive. The price of using Michelin-starred restaurants, pools, and 24-hour room service has to be considered too. Not only the type of hotel or resort affects the price of accommodation but also the area or location matters. Is it located near the city center, suburbs, wilderness, near public transportation, tourist area, ocean-front or industrial area?

Means of Transfers during vacation

How expensive your vacation will cost also depends on the means by which you transport yourself and your belongings during your vacation. The distance between your hotel and all the sights you intend to explore is also important. If you are using a private car or a shared vehicle, you will also need to factor in the cost of gas and all other car expenses. Your choice of transfers also depends on the number of people traveling with you and the size of your luggage. If you have more than four traveling together on the trip, then you might consider taking a passenger car or hiring a shuttle. If your luggage is large, then you should consider a transfer that can contain them all.

Cost of a Cruise

For cruise lovers, there are many factors involved in the expenses a cruise will incur such as including ship, sail date, length of the cruise, the number of guests per stateroom, inclusions such as gratuity, alcohol, excursions, etc., quality of food, location, type and size of the cabin, time of year you are embarking on the cruise, number of ports/at-sea days, need for childcare services and of course, the destination. Are you taking a Caribbean cruise or a European river cruise? Are you going on this cruise alone or is it a family/friends’ vacation? Do you plan on staying in a luxurious cabin with all the inclusions and state-of-art amenities? You should also know that cruise ships charge based on the number of people sharing a cabin. These are some of the top considerations for every cruise lover so you can budget for a good time while sailing.

Cost of a Custom Land Adventure

For any land vacation, there are some basic things you’ll need to consider to budget appropriately for the trip. Some of these things include the time of year, your destination(s), how much travel is involved, mode of transportation, number of days you are spending on the trip, type of accommodation, number of included activities and tours, resort fees, and so on. If your travel is far away from your home country, there is no gain in saying that this would probably cost more than a trip to a nearby city or town. Also if you’ll need to take several journeys before arriving at your destination, then you know that will incur a lot of transportation costs and you’ll need to decide on the perfect mode of transportation for your trip. Some activities and tours cost more than others, so you’ll need to decide or prioritize the activities you want to participate in during your vacation. And of course, just as it is necessary to consider location, size, and type of cabin in a cruise vacation, you will also have to factor in the cost of the resort or hotel you’ll be staying at during the course of your land vacation.

Cost of Tours/Excursions

Tours and excursions are some of the most common types of vacation for travel lovers. However, the price of each tour differs due to different factors. For example, the cost of a private tour will be different from a group tour. Even the price of a group tour or excursion depends on the number of participants. Other factors include the number and quality of activities, the type of transportation that if you are walking, taking a private car/bus or public transportation, etc. There is also a need to consider the cost of inclusions such as meals etc. If you will need the services of a tour guide, then you must include the price of getting one in your budget. The price of your tour or excursion also depends on the length of time of the tour and the distance you have to travel during your vacation. Factors such as the timing of your tour and destination are also very important.

Cost of Transportation During a Vacation

Some vacationers plan for everything else but the means of transportation during their trip. Some include the cost of transportation but they often underestimate it. There are so many things to consider about transportation right from your takeoff to your arrival and even during your vacation. Remember, your choice of transportation should depend on the number of people you are traveling with and the size of your luggage.

Cost of Airline Travel During Vacation

If your travel involves using an airline to get to the destination of your planned vacation, there are some factors that will determine the cost. Are you going with a private jet, helicopter, or local/international airline? Plane tickets differ depending on the time of the year, day of the week or perhaps, even the time of the day you decided to go on your trip. You can also never truly predict airlines so it is better to plan ahead to avoid falling prey to their whims. And of course, the cost of your airline travel largely depends on where you are traveling to and if you want to travel first class, you need not be told you will pay more than the economy class. You will also have to factor in the size of your luggage. And, you must consider whether you want to purchase the refundable ticket or the non-refundable one.

Cost Of Hiring A Rental Car

Many vacationers actually prefer to use a rental car on a trip rather than using their own private cars. Especially if the vacation is outside their home country and they want to explore different places in their destination. However, using a rental car depends on a lot of factors people hardly take notice of such as your age, the type of car you want to rent whether it is a convertible, a 4 wheel drive, an economy car/full-size car, or a van, your pickup location, the day of the week you pick up the car, the number of days you want to use the car, whether it is a one-way rental if insurance is involved, number of miles/gas, etc.

The Cost of Using a Private Car or Public Transport?

The fact that you are planning to use your private car doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t incur the cost of transportation. You will still need to buy gas for the car and this also depends on the number and the length of the trips you want to go. Don’t forget about parking fees! However, if you decide to use public transportation such as trains or ferries, then you probably already know you’ll need to buy tickets which also depends on the number of people you’ll be traveling with, the length of the trip, the class of the service and so on.

Miscellaneous Expenses

No one really goes on vacation without having to shop or buy food. You will have to eat. In fact, most lovers of travel explore the local culture of their destinations by sampling as many locally-made delicious cuisines as they can handle. They also like to buy tiny reminders of where they have been in order to keep revisiting the beautiful memories. Of course, the cost of the food depends on whether you are buying a lot of street food or you prefer to eat at a five-star Michelin restaurant. Other miscellaneous expenses include tips/gratuities, laundry, roaming, and Wi-Fi, etc.

So whether you are in Texas, Alabama, or in the Oklahoma City metro, you are just a phone call away from an exotic travel experience.

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What cruise should you or your group take next? Take this quick quiz and get inspired for your next adventure!

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