How to Plan a Vacation on a Budget

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Budgeting is an integral part of planning a vacation. While most people worry about setting out their budget in black and white, I find that I have no problems doing so. In my head, the budget is where the foundation of every trip must be based on.

Most people don’t understand that the vacation you choose needs to fit your budget. If you don’t follow this one simple rule you can end up doing one of the following two things.

  • Over spending: This is a big no-no because you come home only to find yourself in debt or with credit card bills you just can’t handle. It ruins your life for at least a couple of months post vacation.
  • Being extremely stingy: There are always two spectrums on every topic. So if you don’t splurge you tend to skimp out on the stuff that you really want to do. While this may help your budget, it keeps you from truly enjoying your vacation.



When it comes to traveling, most people say that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I however have to disagree. You can and you must, because that is exactly what traveling is all about. Now the question is how. How do you enjoy your vacation without battling with your budget woes? The answer is actually very simple. It is all about choosing your destination in such a way that it fits your budget.

It is possible to plan a vacation on a budget. Let’s divide everything into points so that it helps you understand what I mean.

1. Set your budget.

Everyone keeps asking each other. How much money do I require to go to XYZ for a month? That is probably the biggest mistake that you could make. Everyone travels differently, everyone can afford different things and more importantly everyone has their own personal likes and dislikes. Don’t ask someone how much your budget for your trip should be. Instead ask yourself how much you can afford to set aside for a trip depending on where it is.

2. Divide the map.

By this I don’t mean that you have to take a scissors and start cutting into the continents. No… Divide the map in your head (or on a piece of paper if that works for you!) in such a way that you know which countries are cheap and which countries are expensive.

Let me give you an example from my own research. South East Asian countries like Vietnam and Indonesia are cheap. The food is not expensive and neither is the accommodation. That takes care of a big chunk of your worries right there. USA and Australia however are on my list of countries where the cost of living is high.

Just because the cost of living is high in some countries, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t visit them but let’s get to that later.

3. Consider the flight costs and the visa fees.

The golden rule of thumb is ‘The further you go, the more expensive the flight gets.’ It is not always true because every once in a while you get an unbelievable offer online. This means you have to always be on your toes. I find that flight costs are a major part of my travel expenses. That’s the reason why I always scout the flight costs before settling on a destination.

While many people don’t really worry too much about visas, I do. That is probably because I am in India and we usually have to apply for visas for most of the countries we want to visit. Some visas are relatively inexpensive while others can actually burn a hole in your pocket. So never forget to check the visa costs (and rules) before you select a particular country as your destination.

4. Never choose a location just because it is cheap.

One of the biggest mistakes that a person can make is to choose a destination because the country or that particular location is cheap. While the amount you spend is very important, it is also important to want to visit that place. Imagine if you hated snow but the cheapest place you could go to was in the Arctic (Not necessarily true!). You wouldn’t have fun at all!

5. Remember that your vacation doesn’t have to be cheap, it has to be affordable for YOU!

You need to remember that everyone can afford different things. Just because a country/location is deemed expensive doesn’t mean it gets crossed off the list for you. You may be one of the lucky few who can afford to travel without worrying too much. My only cautionary advice is to check whether the costs match your budget.

6. It is all about how you travel.

We all have different styles of traveling. A good budgeter can make an expensive destination cheap and a frivolous spender can make a cheap destination expensive. Not everyone wants to stay in the luxury hotels and not everyone wants to take the ultra cheap options. Leave yourself some breathing space to discover your personal style. Once you get to know what works for you the process becomes way easier.

The more you travel, the more experience you gain. The more experience you gain, the more you begin to realize just how important sticking to a budget is. Most people find the act of sticking to a budget extremely difficult. Over time you begin to realize that if you choose the right destination, staying on budget is easy. What are your favorite tips to help plan a vacation on a budget?

Meet the Author

8 years were spent being a nurse in a country where nursing is thoroughly under appreciated. When I got married to Shawn I was faced with a choice. Leave nursing and travel or continue being a wee bit more miserable every day. I chose to travel. Shawn is a Petroleum engineer and his work frequently takes him across the world. Working from home gave me the opportunity to see the world with him.

Travel taught me to follow my passions wherever they lead. I’ve changed a lot since then. I foster and board cats, write short stories because I aim to be a published author and last but not the least I started GlobeTrove. Life isn’t easy but travel definitely gives us wings! Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!