Holiday Budgeting Part One: How to budget and save for a trip

10th June 2019 | Blogs


Posted by Yolt on 29/05/19

With the second May long weekend come and gone, there’s no denying holiday season is officially in full swing. You may already be planning your next adventure! But whether you’re dreaming up a mini break or a great escape, there’s no denying travel can affect your budgets both before, during, and even after you’re back…But have no fear! We’ve put together a handy holiday budgeting series so you can get cracking with those plans, and stay on track every step of the way. You’ll be booking your tickets and packing your flip-flops in no time.

Step 1: Get in the savings mindset

You might be surprised to read that a 2018 survey of 2000 people found that 22% borrowed money to go on holiday. While the idea of paying now, worrying later might seem tempting, the last thing you want is to find yourself thinking about paying off your holiday while you’re lying on the beach! So, before you start planning, get yourself into the savings mindset. It will help keep things realistic and achievable while you plan your budget.

Step 2: Get a rough sense of how much your holiday will cost

Activate research mode! There are so many factors to consider when tallying up how much your holiday will cost. There are tonnes of great resources out there to help you along, from flight finders to travel blogs, but a few important things to consider include:

1. Staycationing vs. Traveling abroad
Where you spend your holiday can have a big impact on your travel budget. According to VoucherCodes, a holiday abroad for two will put you back by an average of £987.50. If you opt for a staycation right here in the UK, that drops to an average of £574.10.

2. Traveling in low or high season
Wherever you choose for your next destination, consider the pros and cons of traveling in the low vs. high season. From Costa Rica to Cornwall, traveling outside of the main tourist period can save you a ton - plus, low season means fewer tourists. Search hotels, airlines (and flight comparison sites!), and travel blogs to get a good sense of what you could save by traveling outside of peak times.

3. The length of your trip
If you’re set on a more expensive destination, you can keep your budget in check by cutting back on the length of your visit. This is especially important if you’re a freelancer or contractor and you don’t get paid on your days off. In recent years, the mini break is actually growing in popularity - not only are they often more affordable, but one study found that going on several mini breaks throughout the year may have longer lasting positive effects than one long holiday! The Yolt community agrees. In one of our surveys, 58% of respondents said that, given a hypothetical £1200 annual travel budget, they’d rather spend it on a few mini breaks instead of one big holiday!

Ita Freelancing 1

Step 3: Create the ultimate nitty-gritty holiday budget checklist

OK, you’ve thought about the big picture. Based on destination, length of visit, and when you’re traveling, you’ve got a rough idea of what your trip will cost. Now it’s time to get nitty-gritty. Just like in step 2, research is your friend. Take advantage of all the great travel resources online to help you plan. Break your budget down into the following:

1. Transport: Don’t forget to factor in all of your:
a. Flights
b. Taxis
c. Trains
d. Car rentals
e. Private transfers
2. Accommodation: Where you stay can also impact other parts of your budget. For example, a holiday let with a kitchen can make it easier to save on eating out. Make sure to budget for any:
a. Hotels
b. Holiday lets
c. Hostels
d. Campsites
e. Basically anywhere you sleep!
3. Food: 
a. Restaurants
b. Groceries
c. Drinks
4. A 'fun budget:' Hopefully, you’re going to get up to some fun when you’re away. Make sure to budget for:
a. Excursions
b. Guided Tours
c. Entry fees (everything from parks to beaches to museums (outside of the UK, most museums charge a fee!)
d. Tickets for concerts, plays, and other activities
5. Logistics
a. Visas: Make sure you check ahead of time if a country you’re visiting requires a visa! There’s nothing worse than paying rush fees right before you go away...except one thing: being denied entry when you arrive in a foreign country after you’ve already arrived (and paid lots of money to get there!).
b. Vaccinations: These can get expensive. Do your research so you don’t end up paying for ones you don’t need.
c. Insurance: Travel insurance, health insurance, and even phone insurance.
d. Tourist taxes
6. Incidentals (ie. Contingency plan!):
It’s good to factor in a little extra money for little surprises.

Voila! You now have your in-depth holiday budget total! Use this to set up a realistic savings goal and timeline.

Step 4: Set a timeline and get saving!

Right. You’re in the savings mindset. And you’ve mapped a realistic budget.

Now for the next big step to get you from A to B…each-mode. It’s time to set a savings timeline and start putting money aside to make your dream holiday a reality. To get started, take your monthly salary and subtract your average monthly outgoings including your necessary and disposable spending, bills, and upcoming debits (you can easily do that with Yolt).

How much is left? If there’s enough to start setting aside money this month, great! If not, figure out where you can cut back on your monthly spending to save towards your trip — you’d be surprised how much you can save just by ditching your daily hop to the coffee shop. Head to the Transactions tab in Yolt to see exactly where you could cut back. With that, you can create a realistic amount to set aside each month, making it more aggressive or conservative depending on when you want to go on your trip.

Bonus tip: Visualise your goal to stay motivated. You can write it down, create a mood board or create a savings chart in Yolt to watch as your savings inch ever close to your big trip!

Savings Tile Yolt

Step 5: Stay on budget by keeping track!

According to our stats, Yolt users spent an average of £243.87 on travel last month (April 2019). While it may seem odd to have travel budgets every month, for many people, holiday spending starts long before they reach the airport. From purchasing flights to booking activities, it’s important to track everything along the way so you don’t accidentally go over budget. Whether you like using an excel sheet or a good old fashioned travel planner to stay on top of your holiday budget, you can also use Yolt tags to track every single expense, so you know exactly how much you’ve spent on everything as you go.

Just tap any relevant transactions in Yolt to add a trackable tag, from #RoadTrip to #Honeymoon. Then, you can easily search all transactions with that tag to see exactly how much you’ve spent on your whole trip — in a matter of seconds. Then, once you’re on holiday, you can easily tag new expenses to keep a live, updated tracker of how much you’re spending day-to-day and overall.

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