When you make the decision to leave home and go on vacation it’s really easy to get lost in the possibilities and fun things you will get to do. Before you let your mind run wild, you will need to balance your expectations with the reality of your travel budget. The last thing anyone wants to do on vacation is spend their time worrying about the money aspects of a trip. You should be able to live in the moment and enjoy your holiday. Whether you are a list maker, or an on-the-fly kind of person, taking some time to figure out how much you have to spend can and will save you time, effort and money down the road.

So, what’s your next holiday really going to cost you? You will need to think about costs associated with transportation, lodging, food, entertainment and more. Thankfully, in this digital age there are countless resources online that can help you plan your travel budget. With a few tips and considerations you can plan smart and stay within your budget.

Transportation

Be sure to think about the cost of airfare, rental cars, taxis, parking, gas, bus fare, and any other form of transportation you may use on your trip. Travelling to an island only accessible by ferry? Include the round-trip fare of for the ferry.

Lodging

When planning a budget for lodging, it is better to plan night by night so you know what you have to work with. Instead of a $2,000 budget for the whole trip, it’s easier to plan for $300/night. If you’d like to cut costs on lodging, look past a traditional hotel room. Consider staying in a hostel for a night or two of the trip, check out local bed and breakfasts, or consider a resort package that bundles lodging, food and entertainment into one fee.

Food

To budget properly for food, think about what you will eat for all three meals of the day, plus snacks and drinks (water, soda, etc.). Once you know where you are staying and whether or not there is a kitchen available, you can adjust your food budget further. Put aside more money for eating out every meal if there is no kitchen available, and put aside a little less money for getting groceries and eating in a few nights of the trip if there is a kitchen available.

Entertainment

Think about all the cool things you want to do on your vacation. You probably want to visit at least a few popular places, and often times those places have admission costs. List any museums, amusement parks, national parks, tickets, shows, walking tours, concerts, etc. that you may want to do during your vacation. Then, do some research online to get an idea of how much each event will cost.

Miscellaneous

Don’t forget to budget for the incidentals based on where you are going. Visiting somewhere sunny with a beach? Include sunscreen and maybe a rental umbrella and chairs in your budget. Going somewhere cold? Consider the coats, scarves, gloves, hand warmers, cozy socks and other heat-sensitive products you will need to feel comfortable.

It would also be smart to budget an extra 10-15% of your miscellaneous amount for any unexpected emergencies that come up. Forget your toothpaste? Did the weather change on a dime? Planning ahead will let you pick up that tube of toothpaste or a sweatshirt to stay warm without throwing off your budget.

Beyond planning ahead and creating a realistic travel budget, the best way to make sure your bases are all covered is to purchase travel insurance. With Cover-More Travel Insurance you can tailor your travel insurance cover and get back to having fun on your next holiday.

Image courtesy of Flickr user epSos.de.