Wednesday, April 6, 2016

how to [NOT] burst your travel budget

Wanderlust Wednesday-Week 6
We've all done it. You return home from vacation felling newly rejuvenated, but then the credit card statements start rolling in and you realize that your carefully pre-planned budget was blown out of the water. What went wrong? Where did you overspend? Because we usually have the big ticket items {flights, hotels, adventures} paid in full before we go, I found that I wasn't paying much attention to our day to day spending while on vacation. This was causing us to go over budget. Over the years, I've managed to pinpoint some problem areas and have found a few helpful tricks to keep things under control. Here are just a few... 
Plan for Extra: Our travel budgets are always really tight, hence the travel hacking. Even still, I know that we're pretty much guaranteed to go over budget if we don't leave a little wiggle room. It's a vacation after all and the point is to enjoy oneself, which ultimately means spending money. Before leaving, I estimate our spending from day to day. But if we come across some great opportunity while we're away, I want to feel guilt free about it. Basically, plan on spending more that you think. It's always better to be prepared and come in under budget rather than being over budget. 

Data Usage: I don't know about you, but I always dread my phone bill after a big vacation. Chances are I used a ton of extra data because it's mandatory to instagram everything you see and eat while on vacation right? Add in using my phone for directions, updating the blog while I'm away, and just generally staying connected to the world…my data usage skyrockets. The key is to take advantage all the free wifi out there. Sometimes this can be difficult with airports and hotels now charging for wifi. But there are still so many free options. For me, I have to really push myself to seek them out and log in, but it's worth the effort. Plus, I have my phone set up to receive push notifications that let me know when I'm towing the line. No more data usage overcharges.  

Cheers! Whether it's artfully decorated lattes or lavishly concocted mixed drinks... watch the beverages. Those fancy coffees and $10 cocktails add up fast! I'm personally guilty of overdoing it with both. If I do get a fancy espresso drink {instead of coffee}, I try to go with the smallest size. With cocktails, I normally have just one before switching to it's much cheaper 
Tally: The biggest thing that helps me keep our budget under control is to keep a running tab. I have a tally on my phone that I add a quick note to every time we make a purchase. This is the simplest thing to do and it makes it so easy to go through and see where we're overspending. Added bonus, it helps account for cash spending because that always disappears too fast.  

Choose Thoughtfully: I am the queen of souvenirs, which used to mean buying a bunch of useless crap. When in reality, the keychains and t-shirts I was collecting were made somewhere in China and there was nothing particularly special about them. I still return home with lots of goodies, but I'd much rather bring home a brochure or a ticket stub. The souvenirs that I do buy are chosen very thoughtfully. For instance, I have a necklace from my first trip to Italy {nearly 8 years ago} that I still wear regularly. Whenever I'm making a decision about a souvenir, I always ask myself if it will be appreciated for years to come. 

For more tips on planning and paying for travel, follow along with Making Restorations for Wanderlust Wednesday


  1. Great tips! I've definitely been caught by the fancy drinks ruining my budget too. I've also found that staying in hotel or rental with a kitchen and having groceries at the place I'm staying really helps decrease costs
    Dresses & Denim

    1. Definitely! We are planning on cooking a lot for our big trip next month

  2. We keep a running tab on vacations too!! It's so easy to get out of control and the tab really helps keep us in check. Great suggestions!
    Evelina @ Fortunate House

  3. Great post! We really try to keep track of all of our spending while we are on vacation so we can avoid getting hit with a big bill. I also always try and find a hotel with free extras like breakfast, happy hour, midnight snack, etc. It's a bonus when they have all three of those and more. We are also big fans of finding local drinks and having them at our hotel, on the roof deck, or in the lobby, depending on where it is. That way we save a lot of money on alcohol and we still enjoy our surroundings.

    1. I'm not a breakfast person, but complimentary happy hours are amazing when you can find them. Or it's nice if hotels throw in other extras like bike rentals, tours, or shuttles. That can save a ton too