The Secret to Not Blowing Your Vacation Budget
Adrianna Domingos-Lupher

There’s nothing more exciting than planning your next vacation! Researching hotels, must-see hotspots, local restaurants, and, of course, no vacation planning would be complete without a vacation budget, right?


When you put a dollar figure to each category of your vacation budget, you know exactly how much money you need to save for your next vacation. But how do you make sure you stay on budget during vacation?

Good question.

One of the hardest things to do when you’re on vacation is to stick to your budget. Chances are, you don’t want to carry a ton of cash on you and you don’t want to risk running up any credit card debt. That’s where a prepaid debit card can come in handy.

Many prepaid debit cards allow you to easily check your balance online or via telephone. Some cards, like the PNC Smart Access Prepaid Visa® Card even lets you check your balance and monitor transactions while you’re on vacation using the Smart Access Mobile App! Text and email alerts notify you of purchases, deposits, balances and more.

Because prepaid debit cards operate very similarly to a regular credit card or debit card, you can set aside vacation money in a savings account and then load the funds to prepaid debit. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Are you ready to get saving for your next vacation? Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you plan your next vacation:

Everything You Need to Include in Your Vacation Budget


Once you figure out where you’re going, the next step is determining how you’re going to get there. Make sure you factor in the cost of gas (if you’re road tripping in your own car or renting a car), car rental fees and taxes, airfare, and/or public transportation, like metro or bus fares. You can even estimate the cost of fuel with a handy online road trip calculator.

Meals, snacks, and drinks

Food is a must on vacation. Typically, you want to allocate $10-15 dollars per meal per person per day, plus an additional $5-10 for a daily snack. You can keep costs low by finding hotels that offer free breakfast as part of your stay.  You can also keep breakfast and lunch simple, pack your own snacks and water bottles, and be selective with splurging on dinner. The key here is to plan to splurge.


Lodging is one of the biggest budget categories for vacation. In order to keep costs down, make sure you check out discount booking sites and look into vacation home rentals in the area. Depending on your vacation destination, vacation home rental might be an affordable option, too!

Sightseeing/Admission/Tours Fees

As you build your vacation itinerary, scout free activities and free admission to museums, parks, and zoos in advance. You’d be surprised how much you can do without ever spending a dime! If your plans include admission or tour fees, make sure you determine those in advance and include them in your overall vacation budget.

Souvenirs and Tchotchkes

You can’t have a vacation without souvenirs! Make sure to include a small budget for trinkets and treasures from your travels.

Are you ready to start saving for your next vacation?

Prepaid debit cards are a powerful tool for keeping your vacation budget in check so you can focus on what’s most important: making beautiful memories with your family and friends.

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