3 Tricks for Finding a Vacation in Your Budget

VacationVacationTwo years ago, we had set aside $1000 for a simple, budget beach vacation. Then, I found out we didn't get the condo we wanted, and everything else was $200-300 out of our range. We were left trying to figure out how to quickly add to our vacation budget.

Then, I remembered the money was already there.

Related: 7 steps to a better budget this year

With the whole family gone for an entire week, there was plenty of money in our everyday budget to use for our vacation needs. We just had to plan ahead a little, rethink the budget, and reconsider a few earmarked categories.

Gas: We were spending about $75 per week on gas at that time. It was enough for at least one tank of gas to get us started on our road trip. If you aren't driving, you can spend the week's regular fuel budget on cab fare, airport parking or other transportation needs.

Groceries: For our week at the beach, we chose a place with a kitchen, cooking evening meals and packing simple lunches for the ocean. I spent our regular grocery budget on sandwich fixings, bottled water, fruit, and our evening menu. For other trips, we have applied our week's grocery budget to vacation dining instead. When we went to Disney World on the dining plan, our grocery budget became our souvenir budget for the week.

Dining: If you already have a dining budget, it can roll right over to vacation dining. We only dine out about once per month, but if we're planning a vacation that is put on hold in favor of our trip anyway. It's easy to just spend that money while on vacation, instead of coming up with additional money for meals.

Related: 10 easy ways to save $3500 in 2012

Uncovering the hidden money in our budget allowed us to take the beach vacation we had always planned. We relaxed by the ocean, flew kites at the pier, and picnicked on the beach. It was low key, inexpensive, and our kids still talk about it all the time.

Where will your next vacation take you?

-By Heather Sokol
Follow Heather on Babble


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