When it comes to planning your vacation, budgeting can be the biggest frustration and source of stress for families. Sometimes families don’t even take vacation because they don’t think they can afford to take one, or sometimes they take one and get home from vacation and realize that they have spent way more money then they intended to or really could afford because they blew their vacation budget or never had a travel budget to begin with.
This post is sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and I have received financial compensation. As always, all opinions are our own.
I’ve created a handy travel budget vacation worksheet to help ease the stress and headache of travel planning. When you start the vacation planning process, you can download this travel budget vacation cost worksheet to help you calculate what you need to save for your next family vacation. Each category will help you budget for the trip. You may find that by using this easy travel budget vacation cost worksheet you can save in some travel categories so you have extra money to spend in others.
Have you decided to stay at a hotel, rental home, campsite, or bed & breakfast? Add your nightly rate times the number of nights of your stay. Don’t forget to include the taxes, resort fees, parking, or Wi-Fi charges that may be added onto your lodging, as those charges and fees can often add up to an additional 20% or more onto your total nightly room rate. You should also budget for bell services, as well as allow or a daily total for tipping your housekeeper. A good estimation of those costs is $1 per person per day, depending on the level of service needed for your room.
You may already know if you are driving or flying to your destination based on the distance from your home, but maybe you’re on the fence? Here you can figure your travel costs whether you choose plane, train, or automobile to get to your vacation destination. If you fly, make sure you add your total airfare, baggage fees, airport parking costs, and destination car rental or transportation costs. If you drive then you can estimate your fuel expenses by using an MPG (miles per gallon) calculation. However, the MPG calculation doesn’t take into account the wear and tear on your vehicle or any maintenance you’ll need to perform before traveling, so you may want to add in those costs, as well. If you’re traveling to a country or city where train transportation is easy, you could consider train travel. We went to Norway this year for spring break and it was so easy to travel within Oslo and from Oslo to Lillehammer by train!
You may already have in mind what activities you’ll be doing during your vacation destination. After all, many times families plan their vacation travel around an activity or destination. Maybe you're beach-bound with your family for a week in an oceanside rental house. You can research online the attractions you plan to visit and determine the admission fees are ahead of time for budgeting purposes. You can also usually find parking fees listed on the attraction’s website if you plan to drive. Deciding on a souvenir budget ahead of time and sticking to it can save a lot of money (and arguing) over the duration of your vacation. We usually give our kids a flat dollar amount at the start of the vacation, and they can choose to spend their money however they want to, but once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Dining and Food
Budgeting for food can always be a bit tricky. At least in our family, we all have strong feelings regarding eating out on vacation. If you choose to book a hotel that offers free breakfast, you can save some money on food. As a larger family, we LOVE being able to save money in our travel budget here. It saves money and time. Also, if you plan to eat at nicer restaurants or dining while at theme parks, these estimated amounts may not be enough, especially if you plan to do something like Character Dining, which is kind of an activity and food combined. I’ve tried to give you a rough estimate figures to start with so you can still have an idea of what to budget for, but these are just estimates. If you plan to dine out at higher end restaurants each evening, you’ll need to bump up your dinner total. If you’re going to buy groceries so you can cook dinner at a rental house to save money on eating out each day, you’ll save on food costs, but you’ll need to include grocery expenses a travel budget vacation worksheet.
One vacation cost people often overlook during their vacation budgeting is travel insurance. Last minute changes and accidents can happen. Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, consider purchasing travel insurance. You can purchase travel insurance when you purchase your airline tickets (it’s an option at checkout), and it is an option if you buy a vacation package at a resort such as Walt Disney World. You can also buy travel insurance from a company like Allianz for individual travel needs. Their annual product allows you to purchase one time and be covered for an entire year. It protects two ways: your pre-paid, non-refundable expenses, such as flight, hotel, event tickets; assistance services when things go wrong.
Allianz offers four annual products: Basic, Deluxe, Executive, and Premier (the Premier Family plan covers everyone in the same household and starts at $450).The Annual Premier has several levels that increase the amount of trip cancellation and interruption benefits, but each of them offer:
- Trip Cancellation
- Trip Interruption
- Emergency Medical and Dental – $50K
- Emergency Medical Transportation – $500K
- Baggage Delay – $2K
- Baggage Insurance – $2K
- Collision Loss Damage – $45K
- Travel Accident – $50K
- Travel Delay – $1,500 ($300/day)
- 24-hour Emergency Assistance
Travel insurance is such an inexpensive add-on to protect your family travel plans. Make sure to add it into your travel budget vacation worksheet.
Sometimes before your trip, you realize there are expenses for things you need to buy you didn't realize. Maybe you need an additional piece of luggage. Maybe your kids have outgrown bathing suits or need new swim goggles. Maybe you need another pair of winter boots (that was us headed to Norway this past spring). Either way, those expenses add up and you need to account for them somehow.