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Planning a Vacation? Here's how to stick to a budget while having a blast!

May 14, 2021

Starting to think about summer travel and vacation season?

Here’s some tips on keeping your budget on track when you’re out and about!


Keep it Local!

There’s a reason everyone comes to Maine for vacation – from the rocky shore to the mountains to the north woods, we’ve got a little bit of everything right here at home.  Here’s how to make the most of a staycation without blowing your budget.

  • Save on travel costs by seeing what’s available within an hour or two drive.
  •  No matter where you live, you’re guaranteed to have some state parks nearby.  Buying a vehicle pass that’s good for a year is much more cost effective then paying by the visit! Maine State Parks
  • Instead of staying at a hotel for a full week, break it up.  Plan some day trips from ‘home base’, then pick a further location for a shorter getaway.
  • Pack your snacks! While enjoying your fave restaurants and take out can be fun, those costs add up quickly when you’re doing it daily.  Replacing a few meals by brown bagging it will let you put that money towards experiences or gear instead!

Plan your Spending!

Know what you can afford, create a vacation budget, and stick to it!  It’s easy to get distracted when you’re out and about, and little extra costs really add up.  Decide before you start how much you want to put toward your vaca.

  • Create an overall ‘vacation’ spend bucket to help decide what kind of vacation you’ll have.
  • While it’s tempting to start with the ‘dream vacation’, that can blow your budget quickly. 
  • If you need to put some costs on credit cards, make sure you can afford to pay that debt down within a few months – remember, interest charges may come later, but they’re still adding cost to your vacation!
  • Once you have your overall budget, break it down – This will help you build your itinerary without letting your costs creep.
    • How much for food?
    • How much for lodging?
    • How much for experiences?

Don’t forget to keep track!

With mobile apps and online banking, it’s easier then ever to keep an eye on your spending.  Reviewing your transactions daily helps you make sure you’re not losing track and accidently overdrawing your account.

  • Remember – you’re on vacation, but your bills aren’t (we know, it’s a bummer!) – when you are looking at your balance, make sure to account for your normal monthly costs, including subscriptions.
  • Hotels, car rentals, and other hospitality businesses usually authorize your cards for more than the anticipated charge.  It’s best to put those reservations on a credit card and pay them off quickly – that way you aren’t tying up your checking account with pre-authorizations!