Summer is right around the corner, and chances are, now that the world is emerging from more than a year of lockdowns, you’re already dreaming up the trip of a lifetime. When you’re on vacation, it’s easy to feel like money is no object. This, however, can lead to an imbalanced budget that can make subsequent months unbearable. If you want to skip the fall financial blues, there are ways to keep to your budget while on vacation.

Vacations cost money; this is no surprise. The mistake that so many make when booking a vacation is accounting only for the cost of the flight and hotel. If you want an accurate picture of what your vacation will cost, budget for associated expenses such as food and drink, leisure activities, and souvenirs. A realistic mindset about how much money you’ll spend will help you set a realistic goal for how much you need to save.

Keep reading to discover how you can have a stellar summer vacation without breaking the bank.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Okay, you want to be able to be a little spontaneous. How often do you get to go on vacation, after all? Here’s the trick, though: budget for your spontaneity. Review restaurant menus and the excursions you’re interested in ahead of time to get an idea of how much fun costs in the area that you’re visiting. Then, create a daily budget that gives you a little bit of wiggle room should an unexpected opportunity arise.

Again, the key here is realism. Find a happy medium between a daily budget that will leave you broke and a daily budget that you’ll only be able to achieve by sitting in your hotel room. Keep to it!

Save Your Pennies

If you’re just starting to save up for a vacation, creating a separate account for your trip is a fantastic way to put money aside. When you try and save within your regular account, it can be confusing to keep track of how much you’ve saved and how much is allocated for bills and living expenses.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of opening a new account, try the five-dollar challenge. Every time you break a large bill and are left with a five-dollar bill, put it into a collection jar. When the time comes, you’ll likely have more cash than you thought possible for your summer vacation. This is also a great way to stash away a little spending money for that already-planned vacation.

Again: Be Realistic

Here’s a pill that’s hard to swallow: it may not be your year to take a week-long trip. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time at home. There are a multitude of fun day trip options, right in your own backyard. Don’t discount the fun you can have on a staycation. Save money this year by exploring your hometown or region, and perhaps next year you’ll be in a place for your dream vacation.

Plan, save, and use common sense. These three simple steps will give you a summer you’ll never forget.