Traveling is expensive and everything costs money. It seems hectic when you are planning a trip, because plans change, and you may spend more than you were expecting to due to those spontaneous purchases. For a whole weekend, you put money into gas, parking, hotel, food, and activities or tickets. You may even spend money on souvenirs or memories that will just sit around at home and collect dust.
I love going away for a weekend. It is like a mini vacation, only without having to miss work and the risk of a smaller paycheck. You also don't spend as much, in my opinion, if you plan accordingly and are smart with your money. I organized some tips and tricks to figure out how to stay on budget and not go overboard on spending for a two day vacation.
1. Organize your money and keep the credit/debt card ONLY for emergencies. What I do is I take out cash and organize it into separate envelopes. I write out each category, such as food/eating out, gas, parking, toll money (if you are going through tolls), and activity money. What also can be helpful is having a handful of change in your purse. That way, instead of splitting a bill, you can do exact change. The idea is to keep in your budget and to plan your days accordingly. If you know you will need so much for parking or for activities, then write it down. Plan what you want to do and what you want to spend money on. If you were under budget, then you have some extra money, and can put it into fun activities or save it for the next weekend getaway. The rule is to be smart with your money and do some things like sightseeing that are free.
2. Along with planning and budgeting your money, you should also do the same with your days. Figure out ahead of time what you have to do while you are there and what you want to see. What are the things that are most important versus if you have extra time would be nice to do? This will help you plan how much you need to set aside, but also make sure you get to where you are going.
3. Don't overpay for a hotel. You are only sleeping there, not living in it. This is something near and dear to my heart. If I cheap out on the hotel or get a good deal, then it's only better for me later on in the trip when I want to spend that money elsewhere. You are only spending your eight hours sleeping and showering there, and will not be hanging out in a hotel your whole trip. No point to go crazy for a fancy hotel when you are there to explore, and not be cooped up in a hotel room. You can also check different websites and do some investigative work to find the best deal.
4. You can cheap out on the food too (with the exception of a nice dinner). What I like to do, instead of paying thirty to sixty dollars for a nice meal three times a day, is cheap out on some meals with fast food. I do a nice dinner or nice meal later to make up for it. Get coupons for places like McDonalds and Arby's that are already cheap, but you can get an eight dollar meal for two, including drinks. This will help you save money on most meals, while going all out on only one instead of six for the whole weekend.
5. Have fun and enjoy your time away from home. While you're being frugal and saving all that money with your budget, enjoy your vacation. You deserve it, and when you get back home, you won't have a pocket full of receipts and wonder how you spent so much in just two days.