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Planning a Vacation With an Expense Mindset

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Planning a Vacation With an Expense Mindset

It’s about that time when the new year stops being so new and far less invigorating. It’s been a good couple of months of productivity and discipline and now thoughts of a restful and rewarding vacation are beginning to crowd the motivational self-talk.

When it comes to really getting away – to taking a vacation – we don’t just want to. Oh, no. We need a vacation.

This necessity-type mindset is what makes vacations one of the easiest expenses to splurge on. So, consider these simple planning tips to help keep your next Maui vacation from costing more than a semester of college tuition (speaking from personal experience – it can happen!).

Set Your Limit: Online booking makes it far too easy to click and spend. I deserve it. Click. We need that upgrade. Click. It’s worth it. Click. Also, it’s unlikely that you will book everything at once when planning a big trip. Splitting up the purchases can create the illusion that you aren’t spending as much. So, before all else, set your budget and keep track of your clicks as you go. The cost of airfare alone can help narrow your travel options down, once you’ve set a limit.

Choose Wisely: Of course, vacations are about experience but when it comes to activities, less really can be more. Zip-lining could be the most expensive three minutes of your life. Jot down your activity wish list and related costs to see the tradeoffs. Maybe, for the cost of zip-lining, you could enjoy a bike tour and an escape room challenge. Also, remember to set aside time to actually relax on vacation. It’s important and usually pretty cheap!

Related: How to Protect Yourself from Sophisticated Fraudsters During Tax Season

Meal Prep: Just like when you’re at home, waiting to eat until you’re starving can end in not only unhealthy choices, but expensive ones, too.  It’s particularly easy to do when you’re on the go. Plan your meal stops ahead of time or consider dining in a few nights. A run to a foreign market can save money and add to your vacation experience.

Be Flexible: Save on travel expenses by booking early and being flexible. Flying in the early morning or later in the day are usually the cheapest options. Look for the flexible date feature now available on many airline websites to see if flying a day early or later can save you some cash.

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