1. Give yourself a year (or more) to plan. This will give you time to save and research.
2. Do preliminary research and determine how much your trip will cost. This can be your best estimate based on current flight averages and hotel costs. Divide that by the number of months you have until the trip and set that amount aside each month. In our house we have an amount that we set aside every month and tailor our trips to that because it is all we can afford in our budget. Figure out what works for you.
3. Over the next few months, track prices on flights and hotels, even activities you want to do. You will get a feel for the prices and know when to buy.
4. I'm a planner so I plan everything from what we are going to do even down to when we will eat out and when we will eat in (breakfast in the hotel room, for example). Of course, you must allow for some flexibility in your schedule but planning like this helps with your budget. We take oatmeal that we can make using the coffee maker in the hotel room, fruit, and lots of snacks to cut down on some of our food costs. Planning your activities can also save some money. We went to San Diego a couple years back. Our main goal was to go to Legoland. We even had a "get a kid's ticket free" pass. But through research and planning we found the Go San Deigo Card would allow us to go to Legoland and some of the other attractions we wanted to see for far less than if we had paid individual admission prices. Finally, I want to comment on spending money. Our kid has a big jar he puts change in that we then cash in every year for vacation souvenir money. You'd be surprised how much change you can collect in one year! I also save some of my clothing budget money right before our trip. For me, buying clothes and accessories on vacation is the perfect souvenir. I get something new that we may not have back home and every time I look at the item it reminds me of our trip. Being that I am a fashion blogger, I have to share some of my favorite travel finds with you!
This lovely yellow bag is a a favorite from a trip I took with the hubby to Chicago.
I picked it up as an emergency blazer for a work trip to Washington DC and I always think about that great city when I wear it.
I love this Betsey Johnson belt I snagged at Filene's Basement in DC a couple of years back.
This belt I picked on sale at United Colors of Benetton during a trip to Chicago.
Thanks for having me and I hope to see you over at Shoestring Fashion soon!