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Your Vacation Travel Budget

Page 1: How to spend your dollars wisely

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Budgets: Ugh. Does anyone really like them? But unless your funds are unlimited, you will need to figure out approximately how much money you have available before you can plan a realistic honeymoon .

According to the informal survey on the Honeymoons/Romantic Getaways forum, most couples plan to spend between $2,000-5,000 on their trip. That's certainly enough to enjoy a great couple of days, or longer, away from home.

On the next page you'll find a useful vacation budget worksheet , which lists just about every travel expense you might encounter. Use it to determine the approximate cost of your trip -- and then you'll know how much vacation you can afford.

Are there ways to save money and still have a great vacation?

Absolutely! One of the easiest ways to cut costs is on transportation. If you can drive to a nearby destination rather than fly to a distant one, that's likely to save big bucks.

If you do fly, keep your departure and return dates flexible. Use the calendar-based fare tools on Travelocity and Expedia. They'll show you the cheapest dates to get to your destination.

Where you go, and the time of year you travel, will also affect the cost. Tropical islands and ski resorts can be frightfully expensive in winter. Europe is jammed in the spring and summer. New England gets booked up fast in fall. Visit these places during the off-seasons, and you'll save a bundle.

What else?

Taking a cruise or going to an all-inclusive resort are other smart ways to control a budget. You'll know the entire cost of the trip in advance, and major expenses, from food to lodging to activities, are covered in one rate.

If this is your first trip away from home, you may a) have more money in your pocket than ever before; and b) feel a bit overwhelmed by all the things you can possibly spend it on. You'll be surprised how fast it goes on things like meals and hotels, so part with it carefully.

Ready to find out what your trip is going to cost?

See page 2 > Do-It-Yourself Travel Budget Worksheet >

A few suggestions on what is -- and what is not -- worth the money on a vacation:

SAVE YOUR MONEY...
Not Worth the Cost
- Airport food and drinks
- Breakfast in bed
- In-room phone calls
- Cheap souvenirs
- Commercial photos
- Horse-drawn carriage rides
- Packaged bus tours
- Formal clothing you wear once
SPLURGE ON...
Worth the Expense
- A good hotel
- A great room with a balcony and view
- Dinner at a fine restaurant at least once
- A good bottle of wine with the meal
- Use bonus miles to upgrade
- A digital camera
- Good-looking but comfortable shoes
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