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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vacation expenses - Stick to your budget

Holiday budgeting tips
Tourist prices differ from local prices
By Harry Price

Are you planning a summer holiday this year? Budgeting for airfares and hotels is the easy part. It’s the daily expenses that catch people off guard. It’s pretty easy to get caught in the holiday spirit and lose track of what you’re spending. Here’s some top tips to plan your finances during a holiday in the sun:

Pack smart

These days, most budget airlines charge for checked luggage. If you forget to check a bag and wait until you get to the airport, it’ll cost even more. You can save a considerable amount by simply taking a single carry on bag. If your the type of person that insists on a whole new wardrobe before going on holiday, the carry on bag approach will force you to think about how many outfits you take with you. 

A daily cash allowance

Credit cards are good for emergencies, but a pre-loaded cash card is a great way of budgeting on holiday. You can load it with cash at home, or even set up a daily direct debit so that you can never overspend. You’ll often get a better exchange rate at ATM machines too, and you won’t have to worry about the security issues of carrying large wedges of cash.

Shop like a local

Eating and drinking is a massive holiday expense. If you seek out local supermarkets you’ll save a fortune by eating one or two meals a day in a self catered apartment. If you’re in a city,the local street food vendors often offer some really tasty food options that are vastly cheaper than touristy restaurants.

Check your phone settings

It’s one thing to make sure you’ve got overseas coverage on your iPhone insurance, but the biggest expense with a monthly phone contract when you go abroad is the dreaded data roaming charges. Be absolutely sure your 3G or 4G connection is switched off and stick to WiFi at the hotel.

Avoiding expensive rides

That taxi ride might look tempting when you’re queueing for a bus in the midday sun, but you’re probably best sticking it out. Foreign taxis can be extortionate in tourist traps. Most airports have really good transport links including trains and regular coaches. If you do a search before you leave, you should be able to plan some of the longer routes and save some cash.

Skipping souvenirs

You really need to avoid those Eiffel Tower key rings and boxes of authentic Swiss chocolates. Really. No one is particularly concerned if they miss out on a gift when you return home. If you’re really concerned with gifting you’re entire family with tacky gifts, get them on eBay when you get back! They’ll never know the difference, and you’ll save a fortune.

Don’t skimp too much

If you’re planning a holiday getaway and you’re thinking of umpteen ways of stretching your funds to cover the costs, maybe you’d have a much better time taking a short break closer to home. Your wallet will thank you!

Harry Price is an entrepreneur and author. He is an unashamed technology nerd and enjoys the opportunities to test and review the latest technology.

Image license: 1. Tax Credits, CC BY 2.0; 2. Author owned and licensed