How to Budget for a Vacation

Soon it will be vacation time across America. And while current economic conditions are forcing many to scale back on vacation plans, there are some ways that you can use your credit cards to help you save on vacation activities.

This assumes that you have less than 50% available on your balances. This is a must in order to be able to prevent from going over your limit and incurring charges because of it.

Obtain a cash rewards credit card. This is essential because with one of these cards you can earn cash-back on regular purchases. If you are a regular traveler for business, then a travel related rewards card would be most appropriate. The idea here is to get the maximum amount of cash back from your use of your card during the time you will be gone. Getting this money back is like having your vacation pay you money back on the things that you purchase.

Do some homework. Before you leave on your trip, investigate the location to which you will be going and find restaurants and other places that you will be patronizing. Look each place up on the Internet in order to find coupons and discounts that are offered which will help you lower your costs for the vacation. If you do not find any, pick up the phone and call those locations and ask about discounts and coupons. Keep in mind that some of these locations may only place things like this in the local newspapers. Find out if they do and where you can obtain them since you live outside of that area. Make sure that they know that you are coming to the area to spend money with them and are looking for ways to keep your costs in check.

Ask for better prices. This one you have to be careful with because you do not want to make sales clerks and merchants angry. However, saving money means being wise when it comes to the prices you pay. Many people leave their ‘money sense’ at home when they go on vacation and pay too much for items that they would immediately reject at home. You need to take your common sense with you, and if you have to, refuse to make some purchases if the costs are too high. Instead, find less expensive items that will help give you that sentimental feeling about your vacation, but not leave you broke at the end.

Take some things with you. Avoid making purchases when on the road for things that you can easily get before you leave. Like snack items and drinks. Truck stops and convenience stores make the majority of their profit on these items, not the fuel that you buy. Make a list before you leave and take what you can fit in your vehicle. Or, if you are travelling by air or other mass transportation system, do not make these purchases in large quantities where you will pay a premium. Wait until you arrive at your destination and then find a more economical solution.

Cut out non-essential things. If an activity is too expensive, then make the decision not to make it a part of your plans. This can be difficult if the vacation is a once-in-a-lifetime type that you never intend to take again. Look for something else to do that will still be memorable, but not carry the high cost.

These tips along with paying for things on your cash-back rewards card can help you have a less expensive vacation while maintaining a fun and entertaining time for everyone. The reason for going to begin with is to get away and be with your family. If you go with that mindset, you will have a good time while spending less money.