November 25, 2021

Vacation Budget Calculator

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Vacations don't have to break the bank. Get your personalized vacation budget with this free calculator.

Vacation Budget Calculator

Looking to get away? A vacation with friends or family could be just what you need.

Before you take off, it's important to make sure you have a budget set. That way, you can enjoy your time off and not worry about the damage done to your finances.

With this calculator, you'll find out exactly how much you need to save for your vacation.

How to calculate your vacation budget

You already know to tally up costs for transportation, food, and accommodations. But don't forget extras like souvenirs, entertainment, and any cash you want to keep on hand.

Use the categorized checklist below to get your vacation budget. If you're unsure how much you'll spend for each item, try to make an educated guess:

Transportation

  • Airfare per person
  • Gas per gallon + estimated mileage during the trip
  • Extra transportation costs (bus fare, rental, taxi, toll fees, etc.)

Food

  • Meat cost per person per day
  • Extra food expenses (alcoholic drinks, snacks, etc.)

Accommodations

  • Lodging per day/night
  • Extra lodging expenses (tips for staff, etc.)

Entertainment and Extras

  • Activities (tickets, admission fees, etc.)
  • Gifts and souvenirs
  • Cash on hand per day
  • Other expenses (insurance, etc.)

How much does the average vacation cost?

The average vacation costs about $1,200 per person. If you're traveling as a family of 4, aim to save at least $4,800.

This number includes transportation, accommodations, food, and entertainment. However, you'll likely face unexpected costs when on vacation.

Tip: Consider adding a small "unexpected costs" fund to your budget to avoid any mishaps. Even better, divide your unexpected costs fund into a per-day allowance to make sure you're ready for anything at any time.

How much should I budget for vacation?

Many people aim to spend between 5%-10% of their yearly net income on leisure travel and vacations.

However, this number will be different for everyone. Some people value traveling more than others, and some may prefer to spend their money on other forms of entertainment.

It helps to figure out what you can afford. The 50/30/20 rule is one popular option for budgeting your after-tax income. Here's how it works:

  • 50% is spent on "needs"
  • 30% is spent on "wants"
  • 20% is set aside for savings

While you do save up for a vacation, your vacation budget would likely come from the "wants" category. If you decide to add vacation savings to your "wants", be sure to adjust your other expenses.

Your vacation budget is in the "wants" category, but it's still a smart idea to keep it stashed in an online savings account to take advantage of interest.

Tips for saving on your vacation

As with any other expense, there are always tips and tricks to save money while on vacation. Review these money-saving tips to find out how.

  1. Set alerts with discount travel sites ASAP.
    Most travel sites will let you set alerts to know when airfare and hotel prices are at their cheapest. When you see a low price, be ready to jump on it! You might not know when it will be that cheap again.

  2. Download mobile apps for special deals.
    Online booking sites, tour companies, and many other travel-related businesses have their own mobile app that features exclusive deals. Be sure to check them out before booking to get the best price.

  3. Buy any vacation supplies with a cash-back app.
    Cash back apps are like coupons, but way easier. Just download them to your phone, look for deals by store or by item, and redeem the offers before heading to the store. These easy savings quickly add up.

  4. Use handy tools to fund your vacation budget.
    Online budgeting tools and automatic savings apps make saving a snap. If you put away a set amount or percentage of your paycheck each month, you'll have your vacation funded in no time.

Bottom Line

You work hard, you make good financial decisions, and you definitely deserve a vacation - just make sure you can afford it! With this calculator and the tips in this guide, you'll be able to take some time for yourself without breaking the bank.

Holly Zorbas is a guardian of content and community at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Holly Zorbas at holly.zorbas@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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