• The Formerly

Pay-cation: Budgeting for Your Next Trip

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

So you are scrolling Instagram and every single blogger, influencer, your cousins girlfriends sister seems to be in an over water bungalow in the Maldives…

Cool. Cool.

And then you have media sites being like click here to see how you can take a mini vacation right in your city. Get a pedicure, head out for coffee with an old friend, take a different route to dinner! Alright Buzzfeed that’s not exactly what I had in my mind, but thanks anyway.

So how does one plan a trip on a budget?

1) Be Realistic

You probably can’t afford to go to Bali. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you… If you can, good for you! But we have to start off by being realistic. How much money can you spend? Do you have any weddings or other trips planned that might not allow you to spend as much? Are you going alone? With friends? A significant other? Are they on the same page as you on how much they are wanting to spend? All things you need to take into consideration. Pick a realistic amount and then we can work backwards from there.

2) Prioritize

What’s most important to you? The hotel? The length of time you are there? The destination? Time of year?

If you are a hotel feen and just can’t possible bare the thought of traveling without 5 star butler service, lets just say you might be staying somewhere for 1 night that you can drive to. Reality sucks but just put Amanyara on your vision board for now (it’s on ours). Decide what is the most important aspect of the vacation for you. If you want to go abroad, you can maybe save on an airbnb instead of racking up hotel fees. If you get the chance to drive and skip out on airfare, you might be able to stay for 5 nights instead of 3. Establish what’s most important to you. Then fit that within your budget.


  • Don’t travel on big holiday weekends.. I know it’ll suck when you’re scrolling on Instagram but at least it will be quiet at work and you can slack off much easier : ) jk not really

  • Be careful when booking through places like Expedia because you might miss the daily hotel/resort fees & taxes when booking

  • Try calling the hotel you want to stay. They sometimes will honor lower prices you find on websites and can let you know about deals such a stay 3, get the 4th night free

  • If you get the travel bug, look into going somewhere close for one night. Even just a short stay can make you feel refreshed

  • Book an early AM flight so you don’t have to pay for an extra night at the hotel but you still get the whole day! Then pass out by the pool drinking mai tais

  • Look into booking off-season. A hotel in Meixco is cheaper in August than it is in January but Mexico in August is still a hell of a lot better than sweaty, pavement-y NYC.

3) Plan in Advance

Easier said than done but you know this one already. Try to book as early possible… not only will flights be sooo much less expensive, but it gives you the time to save up for incidentals. And who doesn’t love being able to look forward to a trip.

4) Use Points and/or Miles

Using credit card points and miles is always an amazing way to save money when traveling. The only thing about points and miles to rack up a lot means you have to spend a lot. Try not to use your points for a set amount of time that way they have a bigger impact when booking that flight.

5) The More, the Merrier

If you aren’t traveling solo, it’s much easier to split the cost of a house for a week with 8 people instead of 3. Granted you might not even like 8 people, but hey if it gets you to a beach…

6) Get Creative

If you start doing the math and it just doesn’t make sense to go anywhere, anytime soon try planning a staycation for a night in your own city. Check on last minute deals and apps that allow you to book for a discount. It might not be as enviable but I’ll take room service in a hotel bed any day plus it will make you feel like you got a mini vacation and give you the chance to keep saving for your desired vacation.

Good luck saving… I’ll be waiting for your Instagram story of your legs on a beach and a drink in the air.