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As another year ends and we approach a fresh start, we can’t help but look back at our past mistakes and contemplate the year ahead (something humans have been doing for about 4,000 years!) About half of us claim to make New Year’s resolutions, yet only 8% succeed. So instead of promising yourself you’re going to scroll less or exercise more, maybe you could resolve to do something more fun and attainable—like how to make a travel budget in the New Year!
If you’ve never set up a budget for travel before, there are simple steps you can take to ensure your family gets to spend time together, do amazing things, and make memories that last a lifetime. (Hint: all it takes is a little research and planning in advance).
Identify Your Priorities
First thing’s first—where do you want to go? What do you want to do when you get there? If you have expensive experiences planned, you can offset those costs by eating at less expensive restaurants or staying at a cheaper hotel. If you’ll be doing a lot of lounging and relaxing, you might be able to budget a few nice nights out. Do your research and write down everything that you want to do for each day of your trip. As you research and estimate the costs per day, see where you can afford to squeeze in an extra fun experience or where you’ll need to get creative to save money.
If you are planning a trip well in advance and your destination has attractions that sell tickets, check to see when you can take advantage of a big sale. For example, right now Busch Gardens is running a 50%-off holiday sale on 2022 tickets.
One of the biggest expenses you’ll incur while travelling is usually the cost of getting to and from your destination. Domestic travel is more affordable than international travel, and driving is usually less expensive than flying, depending on the distance. Start doing your research now to estimate your cost of travel—determine the costs of taking a flight, bus, train, car, or rental vehicle, and choose the best option for you.
Booking your ticket early and being flexible with layovers and travel dates can shave hundreds of dollars off the cost of travel. And don’t forget! You have options when traveling, and you shouldn’t book a ticket without comparing prices. You can always find a good deal if you know where to look! The cheapest airline tickets can be found on sites like Kayak, Expedia, and Priceline, but often you can get good deals by booking directly with your airline of choice.
If you are planning to rent a car, Discover Cars lets you book the cheapest car rentals around the world. Busbud is a great booking site to check costs of buses in worldwide destinations. For rail information, you can also get information and prices of train journeys on Seat61.com for destinations worldwide. BudgetYourTrip.com has a useful list of average travel costs in a number of destinations around the world.
If you’re staying somewhere surrounded by other fun places you want to see, decide which days you’ll be traveling and to what locations. To get an estimate of how much you’ll be spending, map out your routes and determine the miles between each place. Decide if it would be cheapest to drive or take a bus or train (if available). King’s Creek is part of the Historic Triangle, so there are lots of options for activities if you want to venture out of Williamsburg for a day trip!
Plan Where to Stay
Another significant portion of your budget will go toward accommodations. Research lodging options available near your chosen destination. Are you planning on just using your accommodations as a place to sleep, or do you want to enjoy lots of on-site amenities? Everyone has different lodging preferences, so research options that check all your boxes.
Expect to budget more if you are eating out for every meal, and budget for groceries if you plan to stay in a space with a kitchen. If you’re traveling with more than one family, or you’d like to cut down on the cost of dining by choosing a place with a kitchen, King’s Creek offers one, two, three, and four-bedroom homes with kitchens and other amenities.
Once you’ve come up with the grand total for travel, accommodations, experiences, meals, (and maybe some souvenir shopping), you’ll know exactly how much you need to save. The reward for all this planning means that you don’t have to worry about running up your credit card bill—it’s all covered well in advance. Try putting your savings goal on your laptop screen or fridge as motivation. Saving for travel isn’t easy, but as long as you follow through and stick to your plans, you’ll get there in no time!