Saturday, March 14, 2009

Budget Wednesday: On a Saturday :-)

Some of you may have noticed the absence of posts this week at Wallet Wise. Rest assured I have not been kidnapped by drug cartels-- I've been vacationing on the beach in Mexico! With all the relaxation, Wallet Wise was put on vacation as well, partly due to the fact that I didn't have internet access.

So, you may be wondering, how did we ever manage to afford a vacation at a resort in Mexico? Easy- we saved. Since my husband and I are lucky enough to have a well established emergency fund, we are able to put away money each month for things like vacations. And it did help that our all inclusive package was half off (the recession is great for travel deals). So today, for this week's Budget Wednesday post, I'll share some tips on budget vacation planning.

1. Plan in advance. Know where you want to go and how much you are willing to spend at least 3 months before the trip. If you don't have any of your vacation funds saved yet, calculate how long it will take you to reach your goal. Also, planning in advance has the added bonus of enabling you to spot deals. My husband and I planned our vacation 3 months ago, and during the week we booked it there was a half off special going on. We would have missed this if we waited until later.

2. Stick to your budget. This includes everything from transportation, lodging, meals, activities and shopping. Try your best to estimate everything and stick to the budget religiously. If you plan farther in advance, you'll have more time to research how much everything will cost. We were able to book an all-inclusive resort, so we didn't have to pay anything out of pocket while we were there (except food at the airport!).

3. Be Flexible. Many airlines charge less to fly earlier, later, or on certain days of the week. Do some research on when the cheapest times and days are to fly. If you have some flexibility, you can save quite a bit. Also, if you are willing, try visiting your destination during the off-season. The price drops can be quite dramatic! For example, my husband and I went to Tennessee on our honeymoon last January and stayed a couple of nights in Gatlinburg. Since it was the off season, hotels were offering spectacular deals and we managed to stay for less than 20 dollars a night!

*Photo by Rachel Campbell

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