More often than not, we give ourselves budgets while planning future travels. While it’s only realistic to list down anticipated expenses for that to-and-fro 10-hour bus ride from one city to another, the nightly dorm bed to rest your head and sustenance even if that means trips to the grocery store instead of eating out at fancy restaurants, budgeting for your trip rarely works.

Psychologist and certified financial planner Brad Klontz who concurs that the “concept of budgeting is flawed”, says, “Your emotional brain responds to the word budget the same way it responds to the word diet. The connotation is deprivation, suffering, agony, depression.” You’ll only be setting yourself up for guilt, frustration and failure any time you make a little splurge or indulge in more than you limit yourself to.

Here’s what you should do instead:

Plan – At the start of the year, calculate how many off days you are entitled to and decide on how you want to spend those. Do you want a week away in a luxury resort or a one-month sabbatical in another continent? Once you’re set on the destination, start looking at your options for flights, accommodation and also deals should they be available. Make a rough list of expenses and make it a saving goal.

Save – Decide what works for you as far as saving is concerned. Whether you’re comfortable with putting away cash every day, week or month, making small increments as the dates for your planned vacation get closer so you wouldn’t have to be stressed out financially before you jet off. Alternatively, you could also invest in the stock market to potentially make returns to go into your vacation savings.

Skimp, but not always – There really is no point going on vacation if you aren’t going to be enjoying yourself or giving yourself a little leeway to enjoy something out of the ordinary. It could be that traditional Catalan restaurant you’ve been dying to try in Barcelona, or a lavish but once-in-a-lifetime experience you know it’s now or never for whatever reason that may be. Live a little.

Make peace – It’s you who is making these lifelong memories, so if that ridiculously priced but totally mouth-watering box of macarons by the window of that renowned Parisian bakery catches your eye and you know you can’t just walk away from, go for it. Experiences are always worth the money, even though they may seem reckless in the beginning. Have the time of your life!

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Carmen Chong
YouTube-obsessed and a beauty junkie at heart. Find her on Instagram: @carthemen