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Vacation Budget

May 30, 2015 4 Comments

I worked as an outside sales travel agent for many years. I took care of my own clients and split my commissions with the agency where I worked.  I served all kinds of different clients, mostly recreational.  They knew the destination and how long they would stay.  They wanted to find the best airfare.  Back in the day only agents or the airlines themselves had access to the digital systems used for booking.  Some people wanted nothing more than the best fare for a flight, but others wanted some guidance in planning.  Naturally each vacationer wants to think they have a great bargain package, but very few would tell the agent how much they had planned to spend.  This question was rarely answered.  Today, of course, consumers shop for their own travel and have resources available to do research.  Yelp and TripAdvisor help prospective clients judge destinations by reading the reviews of other holiday makers.  This helps people fit the vacation to personal taste, and avoid costly bad matches in accommodations.

In summer thoughts turn to vacation.  I no longer book travel for other people but I do want to offer some advice for a stress free and happy trip, no matter where you roam.

  • Pack your schedule lightly so you can take advantage of surprises
  • Compare all kinds of lodging located near your destination
  • Choose some splurge activity you have dreamed of doing and do it
  • Indulge your own passions and collections when browsing and shopping
  • Less is best when choosing how many times to move base camp
  • Take less gear than you need with plans to purchase a souvenir you can use
  • Pack old items of clothing you no longer want and throw them away as you go

You need to budget both time and money in order to get the most value out of your time on holiday.  Think first of the beginning and the end of the trip.  Leave plenty of time on both ends for unexpected events and delays.  Don’t fly to a wedding on a flight that is scheduled to arrive 3 hours before the ceremony.  Don’t drive home for 12 hours straight on the last night of your time off from your job.  I always like to have a full day at home before I have an appointment, just so I can recover and/or be delayed in transit. If you give yourself plenty of leisure time you will come back refreshed, even if you use it to be very energetic.  Cramming too many destinations or plans into the time allowed can ruin the rhythm of your rest and relaxation.  It is bad to return exhausted.

It is worse to return home in deep debt.  A satisfying vacation is one you can afford without sweating.  After you calculate your airfare and special events be reasonable about how you will want to dine, shop, and entertain yourself.  There is a strong association between freewheeling spending and American Dreaming.  Remember this especially if you plan to spend time in Nevada.  I think the worst buyer’s remorse is that of the vacationer who has not yet paid for the trip that did not really come up to snuff.  That charge on the credit card remains to add insult to injury for a long time.  Please set a limit, a budget, and a goal for your holiday spending. Be creative to make the most of your free time.  Bon voyage, gentle reader.

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