Summer vacation – time to relax! Well, not so fast. Before you settle down or jet away to enjoy the hot-weather holidays, take a look through this list of five summer expenses that can ruin your vacation budget. From the price of eating out in an unknown city to unpredictable parking meter costs, these are the oft-neglected budget busters you’ll want to prepare for before you switch off your brain and get fully into summer vacation mode.
Hidden Airline Fees
There are tons of fantastic flight details these days, but often, the budget airlines are packing more than a few unexpected fees. Read the fine print carefully, no matter who you’re flying with, so that you’re not surprised by an unbudgeted expense at the airport – like extra fees to check a bag, overweight luggage charges, or pricey in-flight meals. To stay on the safe side, keep your luggage as light possible and distribute weight between your main luggage and personal item wherever possible. You can find plenty of inspiration for minimal packing on Instagram and travel blogs, which will help you avoid overloading either your suitcase, or your vacation budget.
Rising Restaurant Prices
It’s getting more and more expensive to eat out, so make sure you budget enough for the cost of dining during your vacation. This is especially true if you are escaping your hometown for the summer holidays, because eating out in an unknown area usually means you’re not wise to the most delicious dining deals on offer. To save your vacation budget from ruin while still enjoying some truly great meals, check out local events, food trucks and farmers markets wherever you’re traveling.
All Kinds of Car Costs
If you’re taking your vehicle on vacation, just remember that a little research can go a long way in helping you predict how much you’ll be paying on the road. The price of parking and gas can vary widely from one state or city to the next, but planning ahead will help you to budget accordingly. You might even be able to find some tips on where to buy the best-priced gas or local tips on the most convenient and free places to park. Of course, the best way to save a few bucks on your vacation budget might be leaving the car behind altogether and opting for public transportation – which can often be cheaper, more environmentally friendly and more relaxing than driving during your vacation. And as a bonus, no personal vehicle to worry about means no unexpected repair costs to drain your holiday budget!
Card and Currency Fees
Heading abroad for the summer holidays? Don’t forget to budget for the cost of currency exchange and foreign usage fees; depending on your credit card policy. Cards can vary widely in terms of how much this will cost, so read the fine print before your trip starts in order to save your vacation budget from going bust. You can also compare card and ATM withdrawal fees to how much you’d pay for a cash-to-cash foreign currency exchange – often, paying with a card or taking out money via an ATM is less expensive than using a currency exchange office. It’s all dependent on where you’re headed and what terms and conditions your bank offers, but either way, don’t confirm your budget without considering these costs.
Try as you might, there’s no way you can plan for every possible expense on vacation. Instead, expect the unexpected and set aside a bit of budget for spontaneous spending. This might be a special souvenir you’ve spotted for a friend back home, an accidental parking ticket after misreading the meter rules, or a local event you didn’t plan for but can’t imagine missing out on. After all, what’s a summer holiday without a few fun and impulsive moments? Pad your vacation budget with a reasonable amount of money for discretionary spending so that you can be free to be spontaneous and go with the flow on vacation, without feeling too much financial regret upon your return home.