Tips for avoiding budget-buster vacations
If you want to take a vacation, you should first save up money for it.

Financial professional Trey Peterson with Principal Preservation Services in Wayzata says a first step is not shopping for a destination, but instead deciding how much money you have available to spend. “The first thing I recommend is creating a budget or daily allowance,” says Peterson. “When people go on vacation, sometimes healthy eating goes out the window, exercise goes out the window and being wise with our money goes out the window too.”

Create a daily budget allowance. Peterson says use an envelope system with each day’s designated cash allowance inside. “Make 4-5 envelopes for entertainment or eating out,” says Peterson. “If you’ve decided this is going to be a $2,000 vacation, bring it in different envelopes and be wise with how you spend it.”

Consider hotel alternatives. Since hotel costs are often one of the largest expenses on a trip, consider alternatives. You can bid on hotels through websites like betterbidding.com , research hotels on websites like Hotwire or Priceline, or stay in homes rented through Airbnb.com or VRBO.com. “Oftentimes you can pay 30-50 percent less and instead of staying in a nice hotel, you can stay in a nice home,” says Peterson.

Skip souvenirs. Leave the t-shirts and keychains in the store and instead take a few pictures to use a screensavers or to post on the fridge.

Research free sight-seeing. “Spend some time before your vacation planning things out,” advises Peterson. Often museums offer a day with free admission each week or month. If you are strategic and intentional, you can take advantage of those.

Eat smart. Bring a soft-sided cooler and use it for simple meals or snacks. This will help you stay on track with expenses and it might help you eat healthier too.

Shannon Slatton, reporting
on Twitter: @sslatton


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