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Lodging is another category that can eat up a lot of your budget.

Fortunately, you have lots of options for where to stay.

Hotels are the most popular form of lodging, but they can also be the most expensive.

Some hotels include breakfast and even dinner.

Others offer shuttles from airports or bus stations.

Booking at one of these places can help you keep your costs down in the “food” and “transportation” categories.

But it’s only helpful if you will be at the hotel when those meals are served!

Hotels also have other standard amenities.

Many have swimming pools and fitness centers.

Most provide televisions, internet access, and toiletries.

But there is a tradeoff.

While hotels might include more amenities, they are often more expensive than other lodging options.

To save money, you might be able to sacrifice some of these extras.

Research other lodging options like hostels, bed and breakfasts, extended stay condominiums, and couchsurfing.

Hostels are popular in Europe and other areas throughout the world, but there are some in the United States, too.

In hostels, you stay in dorm-like rooms with other travelers and share commons areas and bathrooms.

If you are a social person, a hostel might be a good choice for you.

You can meet other travelers easily and you might make lots of friends.

But hostels offer less privacy and can sometimes be noisy.

You will have to take your belongings with you when you leave the hostel or rent a storage space while you’re out for the day.

Hospitality websites specialize in linking travelers like you with hosts, or property owners who rent out their living spaces.

Accommodations on these websites vary widely.

Depending on your budget and location, you might be able to stay on someone’s couch or air mattress.

But you might also be able to rent a private room, apartment, or house.

You could even stay on a boat or in a castle, tree house, or igloo!


Hosts set the price of each rental, and prices vary widely.

But don’t be afraid to explore some crazy but really cool options!

If you enjoy the outdoors and have the equipment, you might want to camp on your trip.

Lots of state parks and camping sites have bathrooms and showers, so you don’t have to totally rough it on your vacation.

And of course, if you have friends or family in an area, you could save a lot by staying with them.

But you might want to budget some money to buy them dinner or a gift as a thank-you!

Think about how much time you plan to spend at your lodging site.

If you only need a place to sleep, you might be able to choose a less luxurious option.

That leaves you more money to spend on activities, meals, or souvenirs.

But if you want to relax in your room a lot or have a unique lodging experience, it might be worth it to spend more.

When researching lodging options, weigh the importance of predictability, amenities, and security against the cost and uniqueness of other options.

Find an option that works for you and your budget.

Now It’s Your Turn: Research the costs of lodging during your vacation.

Add lodging costs to your vacation budget spreadsheet.

Choose an extension

Watch this video for tips on transportation options for your trip.


Watch this video for tips on finding a place to stay on your trip.


Watch this video for tips on finding places to eat on your trip.

Attractions and Souvenirs

Use this video to help budget for things to do and souvenirs to buy on your trip.

Review of Formulas and Visuals

Watch this video to review how to use formulas and add visuals to your budget spreadsheet.