I hate to admit this, but I have a terrible track record when it comes to sticking to a vacation budget. I always plan ahead, yet I rarely manage to stick to those plans. I don’t know what comes over me. There’s something about being on vacation that makes me spend a ton of cash when it’s totally unnecessary. On vacation, I’m in the mood for crab legs and $12 Bahama Mamas. I also don’t think twice about spending $15 at an ice cream shop or $5 for a cup of coffee on the beach. I would never purchase such things on my home turf. It appears that I become a frivolous spender when I am not in the safety of my home environment.
During our 2012 spring vacation to the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, $300 in cash went totally unaccounted for in the Big Easy. For those of you who have been there, I’m sure you can imagine where that money went. Let’s just say that I have an affinity for street performers and booze served in giant fish bowls. I also love Cajun food, jazz clubs, and meeting new people. I’m not sure whether I really blew through that much cash or if I got robbed, but I sure did have fun! However, on our upcoming vacation, I am determined to not let such shenanigans happen again!
Expanding Our Budget
Since I want to actually stay on budget, I decided to make our budget a little more generous than in the past. Afterall, I don’t want to set myself up for failure. So after much contemplation, I decided that we should be able to keep our vacation under $1,000 for an entire week’s worth of transportation, food, and entertainment.
Things are slightly different this time because we are taking a family friend to help watch the kids. The condo we rented has an extra bedroom, so she can stay comfortably with us and the two kiddos. In exchange for a little babysitting, we agreed to pay her way and for her restaurant meals unless she absolutely won’t let us. We have never been able to afford to take a babysitter with us before, so I am very excited. Our kids go to bed early, so having a babysitter means that me and my man can go night swimming or out to have a few drinks!
Here is the budget that we intend to stick to:
We are leaving the Prius at home and driving our gas hog minivan. Since we are bringing a family friend along, this is the only way that we can fit! Gas should cost between $200-$300 so I budgeted on the high-end.
We plan on eating most of our meals at home, so I am budgeting a reasonable amount in order to pay for breakfasts, lunches, and some dinners to be eaten at the condo. I am also bringing some prepurchased snacks along, so hopefully $150 will be enough.
I am hoping that we can stick to this budget since restaurant spending has been a problem for us in the past. $300 should be enough to pay for 3 or 4 dinners out. Hopefully, we can score some good restaurant coupons from the visitor’s center!
I wanted to budget some money just for fun spending. For instance, we may stop and get the kids some ice cream a few times. We may want to take the kiddos to play mini golf or rent jet skis. We have also talked about parasailing. I think that having some “fun money” in the budget will hopefully keep us on track.
So, that is our vacation budget. For some of you, that may seem tight. Others may think that we are living like royalty. Regardless, vacation is really the only time that we spend superfluously on our selves the entire year. We’d like to hear what you think about it! Do you budget while you’re on vacation? Have we budgeted too much or too little? Let us know in the comments below!