3 tips to avoid blowing your travel budget

 Three images side-by-side: a couple in a Mediterranean city, a family walking through a rocky canyon and a couple hiking in grassy hllls.

Whether you've been dreaming of hiking in the mountains, seeing the sights in a new city or simply relaxing on a beach, you don't have to overspend to have a great time. Following these tips can help you keep your budget on track.

Be flexible

Rather than picking a destination and then trying to find a deal, why not pick your trip based on what's on sale? You may discover a location you might have otherwise overlooked. This doesn't necessarily mean traveling during off-season. You could just as easily snatch up a discount for an up-and-coming destination, and even better, you'll get to say you went there first!<

Shop around

Unless you're picking an exclusive, ultra-luxurious location, in the age of online, do-it-yourself travel planning, there's no reason to overpay for your trip. Sign up for daily or weekly travel deal emails from companies like Expedia, Redtag or Kayak. They aggregate specials from a variety of tour operators and airlines, offering you an easy way to keep a pulse on the best deals.

Set a budget

Before you can stay on budget, you need to have a budget. Decide the maximum amount you want to spend and stick to it. This may mean being more selective when choosing souvenirs or skipping them altogether. (Do you really need another T-shirt or novelty shot glass?) While it may seem counterintuitive, tracking your purchases on a debit or credit card may be easier, and safer, than using cash. At the end of each day, check your account to make sure you've stayed within your daily budget. All-inclusive vacations are another great way to keep costs down. Lock up your wallet in the room safe and don't pull it back out until you leave to avoid tempting impulse buys.

Not ready to travel but want to know how much to save for your next big trip? Use our online investment calculator to estimate how much your savings could be worth when you're ready to travel.