How Much Money Should You Expect to Spend on a Vacation?

It is always a good idea to budget for activities that will consume a significant chunk of your income or savings. Vacation is one of those things that you need to properly budget for so that you don’t end up financially disoriented after a trip.

So, how much should you expect to spend on a vacation? The following are key factors that will determine how much you spend on your next vacation:

Transport Costs

Transportation to and from the destination is one of the major cost factors you need to consider. If you are flying to the destination, you can check the estimated cost of flights by looking up flights on sites such as Kayak and Hopper.

Other transport costs you need to consider besides the flight are the ground transportation costs once you arrive. You need to figure out the costs of taxis and public transporting you’ll be using to move from one attraction to another.

Length of the Vacation

How long you plan your vacation for will give you a better idea of how much you’re going to spend during your trip. Obviously, shorter vacations cost less than longer ones with all other factors constant.

You can have just as much fun on a short vacation as you would on a long vacation. Do not extend your vacation for longer than you can afford. Don’t pack lots of activities into short vacations either.

It is not so much the number of attractions you visit, but the quality of your experience every given moment. Aim to be fully present for the entire duration of your trip and enjoy each and every experience.

Accommodation Choices

You have three accommodation options to choose from when going on a vacation: budget, mid-tier and luxury accommodation.

The level of luxury you choose to shoot for will be a big determinant of how much you spend during your vacation. Accommodation is always the biggest cost factor when traveling.

Budget accommodation does not always mean bad, and luxury accommodation does not always mean good. It all depends on what you are looking to achieve and the experiences you want to have.

Someone staying at an adults-only resort or a family-friendly resort where everything including planning is done for them. This is definitely for someone looking for a different experience from what a backpacker staying at a hostel is looking for

Activities and Entry Fees

The excursions and the things you will get to do during your vacation will cost you money in terms of entrance fees or tickets. You should factor these fees into your travel costs. Every tourist destination has interesting things you can do for free. Don’t be pressured into taking part in pricey activities if you can’t afford it.

If you are looking to save money and don’t mind planning the entire trip yourself, you can do all the bookings yourself without going through a travel agent or any third party. Third parties are always looking for money and they will inflate most costs so that they can turn a profit.

Some establishments may charge a premium for tickets bought at the gate. Look into these and find ways to save some money by buying the tickets in advance.


It goes without saying that you will need to eat. The cost of food varies with destination, so you should really look up how much food costs where you are staying.

Enjoying food and drinks is part of having a great vacation. Do not be stingy when it comes to spending on food. Good food doesn’t have to be expensive food. If you are traveling internationally, you will realize that local cuisine is normally cheaper than Western cuisine. Take advantage of this reality and explore what the local cuisine has to offer.


Travel add-ons can include a beach vacation after an extensive desert adventure, a short stay at a luxury resort after a mountain climb or any relaxing activity you take part in after completing the major portion of your trip. If you book with a travel company that also offers add-on packages, inquire how much they cost so you aren’t surprised when you request it to be included in the add-on package.

Legal and Insurance

There are certain incidental costs related to travel–such as cost of acquiring a visa and travel insurance. These costs are usually fixed, so it is easier to estimate how much they will cost you in advance. You should make sure that you get travel insurance as it is very important.


If you’ve drawn a packing list and there are some things in there that you don’t already own, record them in a shopping list. You can then estimate how much the items will cost. You should buy most of these things ahead of time so that you can shop around and get the best deals.

Don’t Go Overboard

Plan ahead of time–this way there won’t be any surprises. You can even start a vacation fund now so you know how much spending money you have. While you’re on your trip, the last thing you want to do is stress about if you’re going to able to afford everything you want to do. You deserve a vacation, make sure your finances are in order so you can enjoy every moment of it.

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