First Person: I Was Able to Beat My Vacation Budget

Yahoo Contributor Network

Going on vacation can be expensive, especially if you aren't prepared. Planning everything in advance will not only save you money, it will also give you an idea for a budget. Sticking to it budget is key. Whether you are at home or traveling, not following a strict plan will throw you off. Recently I went on a trip to Mississippi for four days. I had a budget of $600 that had to include everything from a place to stay to gas money getting down there and back home. Here is how I was able to plan the trip, and still have $95 left over.

The hotel

I booked my hotel room a week in advance and paid for it in full at the time of booking. I was able to snag a double queen room with a mini fridge for $66 a night. I stayed four nights, which brought my total to $264. After the taxes and fees were added, my final total was just under $290. That was a great deal considering two of the four days were weekend days, the hotel had an indoor pool, and the room came with a mini fridge.

Food

This was a little more tricky to plan, but I was able to figure it out. The hotel offered breakfast in the lobby from 6am to 9am every day. That took care of the boys and me for our morning meal with no cost. For lunches I decided to pack some peanut butter and jelly, bread, lunch meat, and bags of chips. I spent $15 to get the stuff I wanted, and we stuck to eating lunch at the hotel. Dinners were a different story. I planned $20 a day for food for the boys and me. My infant doesn't eat regular food yet, so that made living off of $80 for dinner easier. For $95, all of our meals were covered.

Gasoline

For the trip down there, I used my mother-in-law's Honda. The car gets about 340 miles with a full tank of gas, and $50 fills it up. When I got the car, it had a full tank of gas, which saved me $50 right in the beginning. Our destination was just under 600 miles, which means I had to stop for gas only once on the way down there. On the way home I had to stop twice, but only ended up spending $70. The gas portion of the trip was $120, which is a bargain when you consider how much it would cost to fly with two small children.

After all was said and done, the entire trip from Illinois to Mississippi cost me $505. It was exactly $95 less than the original budget of $600 that was set. If you think about what your hotel offers, packing food instead of buying it, and other small things, you will be able to afford a vacation without feeling like you are spending way too much money.

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