Going on a large trip can be a daunting project, but if you plan accordingly there will be no surprise costs. A common mistake most people make is not thinking about the budget after the plane tickets, hotels, and admission fees (if attending amusement parks) have been purchased. The day to day expenses are often times where people find themselves unprepared.

There are a few simple things to keep in mind to set an appropriate travel budget so you can enjoy your vacation and know exactly how much money you will need once you arrive at your destination.


While on vacation, you are going to spend a large chunk of money on food. You’ll have to eat, but more importantly, you’ll want to try new things! Eating out can get expensive quickly. Make sure to include tips for sit down restaurants in your budget. Also include additional money in your budget for higher priced food. Tourist attractions are notorious for gouging the price on food. If you are going to be doing a lot of foot travel, also include the price of snacks. You’ll work up an appetite much faster than you think.

Additional Entertainment

Vacations are a time to try all kinds of new things. You may already have planned a trip to an amusement park or a national museum, but have you budgeted for unexpected experiences you won’t want to say no to? Most people do not account for the local entertainment because it wasn’t included in the travel information they originally looked at. You ultimately will not know all your destination has to offer until you are there, so plan accordingly!


Souvenirs are the easiest thing to cut out of a budget, but also the most unexpected expense. You may tell yourself you do not need to spend money on souvenirs or gifts, but you will never truly know until you are tempted with an item you can’t refuse. Allocating a little extra money for souvenirs can be the icing on the cake. If you use the money, you will have some great souvenirs and be happy you bought them. If you resist the urge, you come home with more money that you expected.

Avoid ATM Fees

ATM fees will add up quickly, especially if you find yourself in a “cash only” situation. Rather than running to the ATM and racking up expensive fees every time, set aside a decent amount of cash to bring with you. If you do not want to carry large amounts of cash on you at all times, most hotels include a safe for you to keep excess money in.

Unexpected Costs

No matter how well you plan, there will be expenses that you did not originally account for. Someone in your party could end up sick and need medicine immediately, you may run out of sunscreen faster than you anticipated, or even need to replace lost or stolen items. You don’t want to find yourself in a predicament and be out of money.