How Much Does An Average Vacation Cost?


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
Right off the bat, I will answer the all-too-common question of “how much does a vacation cost?” It would cost an arm and a leg – if you don’t plan it well, that is!

See, I used to think that all vacations can cost a small fortune until I figured out exactly what I’ve been doing wrong. Believe me when I say that I’ve made a lot of mistakes when it comes to travel-related decisions. Thankfully, after some time, I managed to go around the usual pitfalls of a vacation budget – especially one that involves a big group involving family and friends. I may have already mentioned some of the realizations I’ve made and have tried to rectify in past posts. But for today, I want to share the stuff you can avoid so as not to pile up on the group vacation costs.

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Bring What You Can (To Avoid Buying Later On)

Usually, I would advise my readers to pack light so you won’t have to waste time on airport baggage carousels waiting (hopefully not in vain) for your precious luggage to make an appearance. But whether you’re making a road trip or traveling by plane overseas, it’s wise to bring the stuff you can from home instead of buying them where you will be vacationing. Your wallet will thank you for it in the end.

I was wary about having to bring toiletries and personal hygiene stuff with me on a plane because of certain restrictions I didn’t want to be bothered looking up. So I would leave them at home and opt to buy these items on my vacation. The problem was, not every location had certain products I needed or were too expensive because they were priced for tourists (sunblock lotions have shocking price tags, in particular). So the best recourse is really to pack under airline restrictions and to bring just enough supplies to last the entire vacation. Yes, you will need to do some research beforehand, but you will learn soon enough how much of which to bring after a couple of trips. I know I did.

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Nix the Tourist Traps

I may have mentioned this particular travel hack several times before, but it’s worth re-sharing if only to underline the average cost of a vacation. Those tourist attractions that are little more than a couple of rides and mascots with overpriced candy and treats? You can forego them and have fun going on nature hikes or spending a day at the beach, instead. This is especially true if you’ve been to a tourist attraction before and don’t want to revisit the same old sites while paying exorbitant entrance fees for them.

For me, it was a matter of looking up “secret” spots in certain places to make the travel worth my while. I look up blogs and social media pages catering to these topics, and I always find a couple of tips worth exploring. It’s like the digital travel diary of the road less traveled, and I’m glad to have discovered them instead of relying on the usual touristy itineraries.

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Be Smart Where You Park

Parking is another item on a traveling itinerary that could punch a huge, ugly hole into your entire trip’s budget. I mentioned several parking tips in a post written some time back, and I stand by every single one of them. There is no reason why you should pay hundreds of dollars just to park in a safe place! Make sure to use parking coupons for seasonal parking slots in your favorite resorts, theme parks, and even glamping spots. And while hotels would always have valet parking, they can really rack up the final bill when you check out. This is why I prefer scoping out parking garages in the vicinity of where we will be staying, instead. They are cheaper, safe, and convenient, to boot.

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Find Alternative Lodging

…alternative to the usual hotel accommodations that is. My favorite “alternative lodging” comes free because it usually involves couch surfing or guest room accommodations courtesy of family and friends all over the world. But of course, I can’t have kith or kin in every place I travel to, so the next best thing would be Airbnb accommodations! I crowdsource recommendations for safe and comfortable Airbnb inns and homes from people I trust, and it’s always worked out great for me. In fact, I already have a reliable reference for my favorite listings for each vacation place and have gained new friends along the way.

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Practice Meal and Food Planning

I wrote an entire post in the past on how to save money on food while traveling. Food plays an essential role in the success of a vacation and weighs heavily on vacation expenses. If you don’t take it easy with the gustatory adventure, you could be spending almost $300 on food for every day of your vacation alone! There are great ways to enjoy meals without blowing your entire travel budget on them. My favorite one is taking advantage of breakfast buffets with hotels I check-in, or even going for the simple bed and breakfast menus of quaint inns and hostels.

So unless it is a food-themed trip you are taking, you don’t have any reason to indulge or gorge yourself on expensive food every single day of your vacation. Stick to your meal and food budget, get creative, and be practical while you’re at it.

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The Verdict?

The average cost of a family vacation can run up to nearly $5000 a year for a family of four going on a week’s worth of domestic trip alone. That figure would more than double on a 2-week international trip, with plenty of unforeseen costs tacked along the way. A lot of the expenses depend on the number of people traveling, what kind of food they prefer eating, entertainment or tourist itinerary, and other factors. Yes, traveling does cost a considerable sum of money, but it doesn’t mean you have to blow your entire life’s savings on it. You simply need to be practical, creative, and disciplined.

Catch you later!
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