My Money Mindset Goes on Vacation

By Jessica Catalli

There are many elements to consider when planning a trip; the obvious ones, like booking a flight and finding a favorable hotel, often cloud over any thoughts about transportation, food and drink or entertainment.

Or at least this is what I found. I recently travelled to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and stayed there for one sunny week. By the end of my stay, I realized that I did not take advantage of everything the Sunshine State had to offer because I made a lot of bad budgetting decisions. However there were moments when I was thankful I had inquired about better offers, add-ons, or simply sought advice; ask and you shall receive! Here are three areas to be schooled in to get the most out of your vacation dollars!

You remembered your four-piece hairbrush set; but did you remember to outline your budget? (Pictured: The Atlantic from Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard)


1. Transportation

You do realize you’re paying to sit in traffic, right? (Pictured: Yellow Cab taxi)

inside car

The first burn was the cab ride from the airport to the hotel.  Had I done my research, I would have learned that the hotel where I was staying offers a shuttle from FLL Airport to their front door for only $15.00— half of what I handed over to the driver at the end of my ride.

On the plus side, many attractions and restaurants were within walking distance from the hotel. And in my voyages up and down Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, I discovered a Hop-On Hop-Off trolley; similar to a bus, but without scheduled stops and each trip was only fifty cents! (Check out for details! Amazing!)

The lesson here is to do your research. Get in contact with the place you are staying at and ask about what kind of extras they have to offer. Who knows, you may find another hotel down the street that is a little more expensive, but provides the kind of perks that will save you cash day to day. By equipping yourself with information, you are enabling yourself to make better budgeting choices. Remember: reality awaits your return! Be informed and get the most out of your time away.

2. Food and Drink

 Two for One anything is already a win! (Picture: 2-4-1 margaritas at Sangrias Restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale)


 Now that you’re settled in, you’re feeling a little famished. Not knowing where else to go, you walk onto the patio of the first restaurant in sight. Depending on what kind of luck you have, this could be a very bad thing! Restaurants located near hotels are notorious for having over-priced food and drink; tourists are willing to fork over the extra dollars for the experience, or rather, their inexpereince.

 The solution is simple; talk to the locals. Striking up a friendly conversation about which restaurant is famous for their 2-4-1 margaritas and which one is known for its over priced appetizers could mean the difference between a $30.00 bill and a $50.00 bill.

3. Entertainment

Good morning sunshine! How will you be spending your day after your (complementary!) breakfast? (Pictured: Blue skies over The Atlantic Hotel, left, and Sea Club Resort, right)

beach and book

From shopping boutiques to riding a speedboat through the Everglades, Florida offers its visitors many excursions; so how do we select the best ones? The important thing to keep in mind, before considering cost, is to evaluate the expectations you hold for your trip. Are you a sight see-er or would you prefer to shop? The challenge is to not become over exctied about all of your options and ruin your vacation by squeezing in too many destinations and too many trips to the ATM. By determining what kind of experience you want to gain from your trip, you are engaging in the preliminary steps of creating a budget. It’s as simple as planning ahead!

Don’t wait for the plane ride home to reflect on your experience; taking the time to consider your choices as you make them will ensure an enjoyable, relaxing vacation that does not require damage control when the wheels hit the runway. However it is also imperative to keep in mind that every extra dollar spent or saved is part of a learning experience. To get the most out of your vacation, do your research, be resourceful and plan ahead.





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