parents holding a child in their arms looking out at a mountain from their vacation homeEveryone needs a break now and then, and it’s possible to take one on a budget. But when your vacation leaves you with a stack
of bills, it’s hardly relaxing! Next time, plan a vacation that will leave you with good memories instead of debt. Use our roadmap to
plan a vacation that won’t bust your budget.

Plan for Saving

Using a credit card or taking out a loan to pay for your vacation should only be an option if you can afford to pay it off before
interest compounds. Instead of potentially going into debt, plan so you have time to save for your trip. The better you plan
your budget, the better your vacation. Here are three tips to take to plan your vacation budget.

  1. Figure out what you can afford
  2. Put a plan in place
  3. Create a budget

Look for Savings Opportunities

Once you have a budget in place, it’s time to move on to more exciting things, like finding bargains and saving opportunities
for your trip. This can be an insightful process as you find deals in places you probably wouldn’t think of. Here are some cost saving tips to get you started.


Unless you know someone at your vacation destination, you’ll need to find accommodations. This can easily be one of the more expensive vacation costs in your budget if you’re not careful. Find a few ideas for minimizing accommodation costs below.

  • Online discounts. Shop online for discount accommodations, but don’t stop there. Call the hotel or resort directly to ask about discounts.
  • Apartment vs. hotel. Sometimes apartments work out cheaper than hotels. Use platforms like Airbnb to find local apartments. You may find choosing one in a non-tourist area
    saves you even more money.
  • Home swap. A home swap can be an affordable way to visit another city or even international locations. During a home swap, a family stays in your home while you stay in theirs. It can be much cheaper than paying for hotel rooms, and you’ll often get to know your destination in a way that regular tourists don’t.
  • National parks. Stay at a National Park ( There are beautiful parks all across the country, many at reasonable prices.

Air Travel

Depending on where you’re going, traveling by air can be pricey. There are ways to get discounts on air travel, which you’ll see below.

  • Frequent Flyer Miles. If you have frequent flier miles, figure out whether it’s worth cashing them in for a ticket.
  • Travel reward credit card. When you use travel reward credit cards, each purchase gets you travel miles or points, which can be used toward travel expenses.
  • Book early. Booking flights early enough can lead to noticeable savings.
  • Travel off-peak. If your schedule allows it, avoid traveling during school breaks or holidays.

Rental Cars

If you must rent a car at your vacation destination, shop carefully. A low rate of $19 a day, for example, can easily end up costing $25 or more a day if you are not careful! Here are some money-saving tips.

  • Ask about taxes and fees
  • Consider the car size
  • See if you have coverage
  • Consider fuel costs carefully

Travel gives you experiences and memories that last a lifetime. By budgeting and planning your expenses ahead of time, you can have the vacation of your dreams
without overspending.