Vacation Getaways: The financial guide to planning your next adventure

Before my fiancé and I planned for our honeymoon, we never realized just how much work goes into planning a vacation! Though it may not seem like it, vacation planning can become a time consuming and strenuous task. Whether it is a weeklong vacation, staycation or weekend getaway – without proper planning you can find yourself in a financial bind. Below are a few quick tips to help you plan and enjoy your vacation:

1. Make a list of places you want to visit

Before you even begin to book a flight or hotel room – you may want to decide where you want to go first. Depending on the location, maybe you could go on vacation during an "off season" which may help with the budget of your trip and also aid in avoiding crowds as well.

Though many vacationers tend to focus on tropical destinations such as Hawaii or Florida, there exist many other options as well – you just have to be adventurous. There are many people who choose to spend their vacations on a cruise ship, hiking, camping, or going to an all-inclusive resort. Factoring in the type of vacation you want will help you in making your spending plan and being more accurate with how much you plan to budget for.

2. Start creating a vacation spending plan

Once you make a decision on where you want to go and what type of vacation you want, you'll want to create a spending plan for your trip. How much do you want to spend on airfare? What about hotels? Food? Things to do? What other necessities do you need to buy for your trip? You may need things like sunscreen, skis, or hiking gear depending on your plans. When considering your spending plan you should include all of your expenses including the things you buy for the trip. Click here for a sample vacation-spending plan for your use.

3. Try something off the beaten path

With all of the different booking options you have on the internet these days, there is an assortment of choices. One place that I have found is a website for bed and breakfasts. You can stay in over 34,000 cities in over 192 counties! Hosts let you stay in their spare room, apartment or home similar to a hotel at a fraction of the cost. In addition, there are trusted reviews from other individuals who have stayed at the location before. I was nervous about using this site until I got into our apartment for the weekend getaway and saw the view of the city!

4. Something to Consider

Food costs are one of the most significant expenses during the actual vacation. One way to combat this is searching for hotels that have free breakfasts. One hotel I have found in particular not only gives free breakfast but also free dinner food during the early evening. I find at least having one meal of the day already accounted for helps when other meals can be expensive, especially on vacation.

Although this is not an all-inclusive list, hopefully by deciding where you want to go and what you want to do can help create your spending plan. In addition, try to save expenses by trying something off the beaten path and considering food costs. If you need help with "Finding Fares for Flights" check out that blog post here! Lastly, research by J. Nawijn in the article "Determinants of Daily Happiness on Vacation" suggests individuals are happier when they go on vacation compared to everyday life. Nawijn goes on to say that vacation stress can be detrimental to your happiness during your getaway. Early planning and keeping your finances in check with your spending plan may help reduce some stress and you'll be able to enjoy your vacation even more. So start planning today and Happy Vacationing!