I sometimes see budgets where people do not account for vacations - as if they never go anywhere and always stay home. Whether you go on short trips or long stays, always incorporate this money into your budget. This will keep you from using your credit card and then wondering two months later how to pay for that extra room service and coconut monkey heads.
Fortunately for this trip, we stayed with family so we did not have lodging costs, but we did pay for gas, food and miscelaneous sundries. We often go on short trips to visit family and camping, so it is not difficult to pay for expenses out of pocket. But, if planning for an extended vacation at a specific destination, it's best to get an ideas of the costs and start budgeting early.
An article regarding vacation costs (dated 11-25-2010) on whattoknow.org states:
Looking at these [survey] averages, it appears that the majority of people, around 45% surveyed, spend just over $1000 on a summer vacation. This is somewhat comparable to Money Magazine which surveyed travelers and found that the average American family spends about $1600 on a summer vacation. Both AAA and Money Magazine have the average vacation cost to be around $1600 and that seems to be accurate in today’s market as well. Inflation may put that up a couple of dollars over the next year or so, but that number seems to be pretty healthy at this time.
While your family may spend more or less on vacations, the article points out some factors to consider as you budget:
2. Number of travelers
3. Seasonal timing
4. Available discounts
AAA is a great resource to help you budget. If you are a member, you can call or visit and they can help you price your vacation. You can use the internet to price hotels and meals. Get input from friends who have "been there, done that". Do a little research, and add in extra for those unexpected finds.
Having a vacation plan and a budget will help you have the peace of mind to go with you relaxed state when you return.