How Much to Spend on a Vacation

Travel doesn’t have to be expensive to be amazing. However, it is important to avoid spending a lot on little things that don’t matter. A nice meal in a quality restaurant may be a good spending choice if that matters to you, but eating out every meal can be a big waste of your resources.

Average Spend by One Person for 1 Week: From Frugal to Luxury

Depending on your destination, you have a range of options. If you’re flying overseas, staying in a high-end hotel, and eating at a nice restaurant each day, plan to spend up to $700 daily. If you choose to drive to a state park and do some rough camping, you’ll need to spend money on gear, food, fuel, and water, but you should be able to spend less than $100 per day.

What Percentage of Your Yearly Income to Spend on Vacation

Try to keep your yearly vacation expense under 3% of your yearly income. For example, if you make

  • $20,000 per year, take a long weekend, and spend $600 on an Airbnb in a city that’s within easy driving distance.
  • $50,000 per year, you can take $1,500 and enjoy a cheap flight to a city further away and enjoy a week in an Airbnb while you visit the museums, amusement parks, or other nearby facilities.
  • $100,000 per year, you can use $3,000, find a flight overseas or take a cruise in another country

You can also save up for a longer vacation in a particular destination. For example, if you want to take your children to Disneyland or Disneyworld for an unforgettable family gathering when your youngest child is five years old, you may need to limit your vacation spending when children are a bit younger. Cheap travel can include car trips to visit family, take a camping trip, or stay home and enjoy a staycation. During your staycation, you can sleep and eat at home while checking out your local museums, zoo, and parks.

How to Travel Frugal

Frugal travel is easier than you think, but it will take some planning. It may also take some extra time. Flying on Friday and Monday can be quite convenient, but it’s also more expensive than flying on Tuesday and Thursday. Taking the bus or train can be cheaper than flying, but your trip will take longer. In these cases, try to make your travel time part of your sightseeing time.

In the states, take the train from Fargo to Seattle, so you can enjoy the mountains without having to drive through passes that take your attention. Take the bus through Michigan and Wisconsin to enjoy the snow without having to drive in it. You will need a tote bag, snacks, an e-reader or other tool to stay entertained, and a neck pillow. Another useful tool for your low, slow travel is a zippered hoodie, preferably sleeveless, which you can flip around to cover your face when you need darkness to help you sleep.

a tourist girl walking on a paved road
Photo by Michael Barón on Unsplash

If you’re renting a car, consider renting a minivan. It will take a bit more fuel, but you can put a cot or a camping mattress in the back, pack a bag, a cooler, and even a porta-potty for our convenience. In a minivan, you can stealth park in many cities, skip the hotel fees, and travel further for less.

For those who already own a car, there are also ways to stretch out and sleep in your car. If you need to nap a bit, just make sure there’s nothing behind your seat and flip back. If you can fold down back seats to create a flat space, put down an inflatable mattress and your sleeping bag so you can enjoy some privacy and rest.

To make sure you have darkness and privacy,

  • visit your local hardware store and get long dowels that you can position behind the grab handle above the door
  • visit an office supply store and get a box of binder clips
  • invest in lightweight windshield covers or black fabric and hang on the dowels with the binder clips

These covers will not take much space in your vehicle, and the dowels can stay behind bars. These covers won’t provide insulation; if you’re camping in a cold country, you’ll need Reflectix or some other thermal product and some black paint.

Should I Sell Some Stocks From My Portfolio for Travel Expenses

No, never sell stocks unless you’re going to use that principal to make an investment that will also earn money. However, you can go ahead and save your dividends to cover your vacation fund needs. You can also pick up a second job or a side hustle to raise funds, such as grocery shopping or doing small maintenance projects for someone who needs help.

Here you have five of my favorite dividend investment stocks:

CompanyStock TickerDividend Yield
AT&T IncT6.51%
Exxon Mobil CorporationXOM5.80%
Pfizer Inc.PFE3.93%
Williams Companies IncWMB6.49%
Lumen Technologies IncLUMN7.17%

Figure out where you want to go, how much money you’ll need to get there, and what you want to do. If you want to fly to a particular location, consider getting a credit card that offers points to a major airline that goes where you want to travel. Use that card for all the purchases that you would ordinarily use your debit card for, pay it off each month, and use the points for free travel. For those who aren’t really able to manage credit cards, skip this step.

Read more: 8 Best Investments to Get Regular Monthly Income 

You may also be able to make a little money while you’re on your trip. For example, if you do any freelance work online, take your laptop and block out just an hour a day to keep working. If you make $20 an hour online, you’ve just earned enough for a destination tee shirt, two coffee mugs, or a memorable lunch on your own.

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