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How Much Should a Vacation Cost

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The cost of a vacation can vary depending on a number of factors including budget, location, time of year, and length. But depending on how much you have to spend, it could be extremely affordable or outrageously expensive. Even so, there are some averages that people send when on vacation, so let’s look into how much should a vacation cost.

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How Much Should a Vacation Cost

Considering a vacation could be a weekend away to a trip around the world, what you spend on your vacation will depend on where you’re going, how many people are going, and how long you’re going to be there.

Not to mention how you’re getting there and what you’re going to do once you’re there as well.

So, let’s look at some average costs that will help you make a vacation budget and then work towards your goal.

Here’s what You should Be Spending on a Vacation

The average cost for one person to travel is $1,145 dollars.

That makes the expense for a family of four $4,580 dollars.

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1. How much to spend on airfare 

If you plan on flying, your transportation costs are going to be pretty high.

You can expect to pay, on average, $350 dollars per person for a round-trip ticket if you are flying in the United States.

If you plan to go overseas, then the cost jumps up to $1,300 dollars per person.

Yes, flying is certainly the fastest way to get somewhere if you’re traveling more than 10 hours away, but you will pay for that convenience. 

In the United States, our railway systems aren’t the best.

That’s one thing I love about England or Europe. You can jump on a train and go pretty much anywhere. 

But, in the U.S. that’s simply not the case.

There are trains and you can travel by train but it’s not easy.

If you decide to go this route you can expect to pay $500 or more for a longer trip.

If you’re just going from one city to another it isn’t as bad.

I’ve taken the train from where I live to Chicago. It’s about a 3-hour trip. 

It typically costs between $45 and $60 dollars round trip depending on the time of year.

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2. How much to spend on hotels and lodging

If you stay in a hotel, the average daily rate is in the range of $125 per night or more depending on where you are going and how much time you plan to spend there.

Having said that, the only hotels I’ve ever seen for this price are along the interstate.

If you’re going somewhere nicer such as a resort that offers a lot of perks, expect to pay at least $200 dollars per night and even $300 dollars per night.

One thing to keep in mind is once you get to the hotel always…always ask if they have any free upgrades.

If you are nice about it and ask nicely you’ll be surprised what can happen.

One time when I was in Vegas, I asked about free upgrades and I got my regular room upgraded to a 1,600 square foot suite. 

It was kind of crazy.

You might not get that big of an upgrade, but even a small one is nice.

Just don’t ask before you get there. They don’t like to do upgrades over the phone.

Also, you never know what will be available once you are actually there.

I also got an upgrade at a nice hotel in Chicago as well.

I was upgraded from a standard room to a corner room which was larger and about $60 dollars a night more. 

And yes, the upgrade was free.

Don’t be afraid to ask. All they can do is say no.

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3.How much to spend on food

This depends on where you are going and how fancy you want to be when you go out to eat.

Even so, the average for a family of 4 is about $130 dollars per day.

You should expect to pay more if you have cocktails and of course, don’t forget the tips.

Also, some cities are just more expensive than others.

When I was in Paris, France with my sister, we went to one restaurant where we had a cheeseburger and fries each and she had a glass of wine. It cost us $85 dollars. Yikes!

Try to buy some items you can eat in your hotel room for breakfast and lunch. That way you’ll only have to pay restaurant prices for one meal a day.

That’s what we did in Paris. 

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5. How much to spend on fun

Again, this depends on you.

If you like to shop and buy souvenirs, then you will need more money.

What you’re going to spend depends on what you’re going to do while on vacation.

If you are going to just be walking around sightseeing then you won’t spend much.

If you’re on a golf vacation then you can expect to spend quite a bit.

If you’re traveling domestically expect to spend $50 dollars a day. Internationally, it goes up quite a bit to $200 to $300 dollars a day.

I went to Key West, Florida once. It was a great trip, but it cost me about $300 dollars per day. That included the hotel and all food and entertainment.

I lived in Florida, so I drove which saved money on transportation.

If you’ve never been, Key West is a great spot for a getaway.

How to Save Some Money on Your Vacation

1. Make a Budget and Don’t Let Yourself Go Over It

Just like you budget for Christmas or a car, if you have a vacation budget and stick to it, your vacation will be more fun.

It is nice to have a small contingency fund in case of an emergency or some unforeseen event.

You do not want to plan too much just to find out you have no money to do it.

I know someone that went to Italy and then became very ill. 

It was a nightmare and quite expensive for him to get back to the United States, not to mention dealing with hospitals and such in Italy, so having travel insurance and a little extra saved up is always a good idea.

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2. Shop Around for Hotels

Anywhere that has tourist traffic will have hotel chains offering discounted rates because they are guaranteed business (even if there is a recession).

Knowing which hotels offer discounts is worth a great deal of money in the long run, no matter how many times you go on vacation a year.

3. Book Your Trip Early

This will ensure a better deal.

Costs tend to be lower when you book early.

When I went to Paris, I planned to take the Chunnel from Paris to England. 

It didn’t occur to me that the price of the tickets would go up the closer it got to my travel dates, so I didn’t book early.

I ended up spending twice the amount that I would have if I had just booked a few weeks earlier. I’m not sure why I didn’t.

Lesson learned…

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4. Vacation at Home

Some of the best vacations are when you do not leave town, but rather spend time sight-seeing fully within your own area, visiting museums or parks or theme parks or whatever it is that is interesting to you.

For many of us, we never take advantage of all of the tourist attractions in our own cities.

If there are some interesting places and activities in your area, be sure to go.

This is a way to have some vacation fun without spending a lot of money.

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5. Start a Vacation Fund

If you know that you want to take a vacation down the line but don’t know where you want to go yet, start putting money away for it in a vacation fund.

Doing this will help the trip be more fun and relaxing when it finally happens because you won’t have to worry about paying for the trip or having to use your credit cards.

Compare prices and places online, think about how much fun this is going to be with your family or friends, and plan accordingly.

6. Go Camping

If you like camping, this can save you considerable money in the long run but requires planning ahead to make sure you have all the equipment and necessities.

Camping is great if you’re just looking to get away from your normal routine.

And it’s cheap.

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To Sum it All Up:

For the most part, traveling is expensive. You should expect to spend around $1,500 dollars per person you are traveling with. Start a vacation fund now, so you will be able to take your dream vacation later on.

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