If you’ve booked a summer vacation, we hope you planned carefully, saved up enough money to pay for the whole trip and are now looking forward to leaving your cares behind. But what happens when you’re actually away, and your brain enters vacation mode? It’s so easy to upgrade, add excursions and room-charge your way to a huge credit card bill that you weren’t planning for, and that sum can end up on your credit card for the next year (or longer).
So here’s your guide to keeping vacation spending in check so that you can still enjoy yourself without paying for it (with interest!) in the months that follow.
Start stocking up on toiletries a little at a time as you see sales. Whether you visit the dollar store or get a bonus trial size item when you purchase a regular-sized one, start putting those items aside for vacation. And keep a checklist of what you may need. Forgetting personal care items can mean shelling out ridiculous resort prices.
Pack a snack stash. There’s nothing that irks me more than paying quadruple for a bag of pretzels at the airport, or while waiting in line for an attraction, etc. Bring along things like granola bars so that you don’t cave to convenience costs when hunger strikes.
See if you can order groceries to your room. Last year on a Disney trip, we used an online grocery delivery service to ship items on the day we arrived. While we paid more than a normal grocery trip, it was still way cheaper to prep some breakfasts in the morning and snacks for the day than it would have been to eat out every day. We also ordered a couple of cases of water, and threw bottles in the freezer to carry along each day (they also served as an ice pack for our fresh fruit, yogurt and other portable snacks). That meant we didn’t have to shell out for $5 bottles of water once the hot Florida sun beat down on us.
Have a phone call plan. If you’re going on a cruise or leaving the country and you want to call home, you can get hit with horrifying fees. Call your provider before you go to see if you can pay for extended coverage up front, or if there is an extra charge for texting or using other data when you’re at your destination.
Anticipate costs in advance and set a daily budget amount. If you know you want to enjoy one nice sit-down meal a day, then plan for it. The same goes if you want to go swim with dolphins, get a massage, or hit the casino. You deserve to enjoy the finer things, just don’t make impulsive decisions that you’ll regret.
By saving money on all of those little extras and saving up for splurges, you can get ahead of vacation spending and have a great trip, worry-free.