Planning a holiday once required the help of a live travel agent but this has changed with the development of the internet in this post-modern society. Online travel packages and deals have largely replaced agents and booking a holiday is now a more personalised activity which can be more closely tailored to ones specific needs. With the ease of booking a holiday online though, something that every person planning a holiday needs to create is a budget and below I provide some tips that might help you to budget better.
The first tip is to use very specific categories when creating a holiday budget. Using specific categories such as breakfasts or local transportation will show where money is being spent. It makes it easier to trim expenses in a single area that seems to be far above the rest. Using specific categories will also help you to adjust expenses quickly while travelling. Budgets should be as specific as possible while remaining manageable.
You also need to be realistic about your holiday budget when choosing the type of holiday in the first place. Holidays are intended of course to be relaxing and fun but you need to have a good understanding of local costs (i.e. for meals), the exchange rates and other fees you might need to cover, such as transportation services. This can take some research but can really be worth doing. As a family you can benefit by choosing a package deal since many smaller expenses are wrapped together making figuring out every detail unnecessary.
Choosing an all-inclusive package which includes the airfare, accommodation, entertainment and airport transfers, you will normally find that there is also an extra level or protection tied into the holiday in that if you book through an ABTA affiliated travel company. You will be protected if the company goes out of business. If you are going abroad such as to Canada, you can sometimes find good savings by comparing all-inclusive holiday packages, whilst for the U.S., Virgin Holidays are another good option. Going down the package route can be a good way to ensure that all parts of the holidays are synchronized and protected.
Unexpected things can happen during a holiday. Local prices can change or the children might put you under such pressure that you have to take them to that water-park or extra attraction, you had not planned. Even when choosing an all-inclusive trip or package holiday, there are always costs you will not have expected. The best way to cover extra costs is simply to add 10 percent to 15 percent to the final planned budget. This additional money in the budget will give you extra freedom while travelling and a pleasant surprise if you do not need to use it.
Consider looking for last-minute deals when shopping for a holiday online. Last-minute deals often mean greatly discounted holidays (although not always) and they can sometimes include extra freebies. You will need to be flexible because the travel dates and destinations cannot normally be changed and payment for the holiday may be expected in full.
Some part of every holiday is spent at well-known attractions and restaurants the family wants to try. It can help to budget a few days during the trip visiting local and lesser-known destinations. Getting to the local or residential parts of a city often provides you with the chance to see and experience a number of restaurants, attractions and shops that cost less than the ones geared towards tourists. Going local also provides a better overall view of the culture in other countries. Going local requires some research but can be time well spent.
Most families tend to go on holiday only a few times a year, understandable due to budget constraints and normally in school holiday periods. These are the times when costs and demand are highest. If there is any way you can, try the off-season or shoulder-season. These seasons are types of holiday and savings can be substantial. Shoulder seasons by the way are those between peak and off-seasons. The complication can sometimes be that some seasonal local attractions might be closed but it should not for the most part, be a problem. If you are a parent, I am sure you will agree that going on holiday and experiencing a new culture is probably more educational than a week in a classroom.
Travel insurance is something that you should seriously consider and take seriously and not cut corners on. Some all-inclusive travel packages include insurance or features of insurance including with the inclusion of cancellation cover. There are so many very affordable policies and options for families out there these days and good deals including from the big supermarkets.
One final tip is to use a budgeting app or application. Many small and simple pieces of software are available that help you to create a budget. Using software removes the chance that maths mistakes or other errors will create an inaccurate budget. Software budgeting tools also make changing the budget on the road easier since everything is re=calculated instantly. An app for budgeting will simplify the process of planning a family holiday. My favourite is ‘Trip Wallet‘ which is available from itunes.