For the majority of us, a vacation is a getaway from your everyday life maybe because you’re looking for something exciting to break up the mundane day to day or perhaps you’ve just been putting in those extra hours at work. Either way, it’s not expected that a vacation should cause stress. But hey, sometimes it does…it could be because of some bad luck like food poisoning or losing your valuables (both of which that have happened to me on a recent trip) but another big, important factor could be causing this stress: money.
Money is definitely a factor of anxiety during your normal every day life, for some more than others. Doing something new in a different environment can add even more to that stress and it’s something that I make sure to factor in before and during the planning of any trips I want to take.
Personally, I recommend two things:
1. Don’t be like a Sith..don’t deal in absolutes (for my Star Wars fans out there)
2. Over-budget for your trip, but only what makes sense for you financially
Confused at the two fairly broad statements above? I’ll explain.
My first tip is to not deal in absolutes, meaning don’t think in a binary way (either yes or no). When I say absolutes, I’m specifically talking about the type of vacation you’re going to have; don’t think there are only vacations where you only live luxuriously and also don’t think your only other option is to completely rough it and not enjoy the finer things too. To give you a better sense of what I’m talking about, let’s take a look at food. (Since some people might not want to do many activities or adventures, but we can safely assume everyone will eat out on their vacation.) Of course dining at a fancy restaurant is great because you get to eat local meats and produce while enjoying the best your destination has to offer. Realistically speaking though, unless you have the means, every meal will not be at one of those $$$$ restaurant you saw on Yelp. But that’s okay, because not only will you save some money going to a hole in the wall restaurant, but also the food is typically something locals crave and can taste even better than what some fine dining can provide. Personally I love hole in the wall places. Pro-tip: if you’re not a little bit scared of your environment, you’re not at a hole in the wall.
My second tip is to over-budget for your trip, yes.. over-budget. I’m not saying to plan for your food, hotel and activities costs and just add $100 to it. Rather, just have a section that plans for unforeseen circumstances. Maybe you plan to spend $100 on transportation to get around the city/countryside/wherever you’re going. For example, one night you stay out a little too late and take a taxi back to your hotel; it’s not a big deal since you factored in the cost of it. But then let’s say the next night you’re 10 miles outside your hotel and you have to take a taxi again because the buses don’t run on Tuesdays. That taxi ride might be a little more than you planned for. Hiccups like this occur all the time and it’s good to budget for those times. This tip is still valuable for those that don’t plan ahead and budget out their vacation. Think about traveling to another country that doesn’t have a credit card culture and only takes cash in hand. Going back to that taxi example, if you’re out of cash and don’t speak the native language, it’s not likely you’ll be able to convince your driver that you just need to step out to withdraw money from an ATM before paying them. Over-budgeting will help you survive those unlucky moments.
In a nutshell, plan ahead and try to experience both the luxurious and more modest aspects of your destination. Because anxiety from spending can stem from any unforeseen circumstance, it’s best to do whatever you can to have a stronger control over it.