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Budgeting & Saving For Vacations

15 July 2010 No Comment

Since I’ve been traveling all week, I’ve been taking note about the financial needs for similar experiences as I’ve been having.  Traveling obviously requires money, but it varies based on your needs and expectations.  Here are some tips to assist with the process of budgeting, planning and saving for your next trip:

Use Points For Air & Hotel

I don’t take any trips where I pay out of pocket for air or hotel.  Period.  If I don’t have the points, then I don’t take the trip.  I’m serious here. Obviously, this is a major chunk of the overall expenses for traveling, so if you follow this point, you’re off to a good start.  Now, I’m able to accumulate at least a decent amount of points via my American Express cards due to some business expenses, but they are not huge.  American Express Membership Rewards points allow for a wide range of airline points, and my Amex Starwood card piles up the points for any of the Starwood brand properties.  As I write this, I’m sitting in my room at the Westin Grand in Vancouver that I did not pay for.

Food

Food expenses can really add up when you travel since you’re basically eating out every meal. This is a debateable point based on your budget, but I’m in the camp that likes to spend some money on food to really experience the local cuisine and culture.  Plus, I like good food.  In order to do this without breaking the bank, I pick and choose my points.  For instance, breakfast is usually just breakfast, so eat an inexpensive one.  Sometimes, for lunch I’ll even eat a hotdog from a street vendor, then splurge on a great dinner.

Other

Do your best to minimize transportation costs like taxis.  Walk if you’re in a city.  Use public transportation.  Talk to people that live there on how to get around without forking over cash every few minutes for a taxi.

Avoid buying expensive souvenirs.  Instead, just take home some killer photos of you and your loved ones in the destination you’re visiting.

Tomorrow, I fly back to Florida from Vancouver.  The Alaska / Vancouver trip I’ve just completed was an amazing experience.  I encourage any of you to visit both destinations as they are great places. I’m not looking forward to returning to the Florida heat and humidity!

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