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Ah, budgets. Not the most fun topic in the world, but certainly one of the most important.

When planning your celebration trip, you want it to be as stress-free as possible, so you should figure out your budget early on in the planning process. Some questions to ask yourself:Who is paying for this trip? Will costs be split evenly between guests? Are you able to treat your family and cover some or all of their costs?Will you be putting any guests under stress by asking them to contribute to the cost of a trip that might be out of their price range? What’s the maximum price you and/or your guest(s) can manage?A celebration vacation is an exciting expense. If guests will be covering their individual costs, consider giving plenty of notice to allow adequate time to save.

  • For an overseas trip, consider sending a ‘save-the-date’ 10-12 months in advance
  • For a trip across the country, 6-8 months’ notice should be sufficient for many
  • 3-6 months’ notice for close-to-home vacations should be a safe bet

If you’re still concerned about the money factor and how much is reasonable to ask your guests to pay for a celebration, have no fear! Doodle, a popular polling tool can be used to survey your guests to find out just how much they’re able to spend on the trip. It has a feature that allows for responses to be hidden from other guests, so this information can remain private. Working with an event planner local to your destination can be an extremely helpful way to minimize stress during the planning phase all the way through to the end of your trip, especially if you’re planning on hosting parties or events to mark the celebration.

Not sure how to find an event planner?

Here are some tips:

Check with the concierge of the hotel at which you plan to stay. They may have an on-site event planner, or a local planner who they’d highly recommend. Check local review sites like to read reviews of event planning companies in cities that may be unfamiliar to you. Don’t forget about social media! Take a look on Instagram or Facebook and search for event planners in the city you’ll be visiting. If your initial search doesn’t yield many results, try using hashtags like #MontanaEvents or #VermontEventPlanner. Social media can act as a digital portfolio for event planners, so you’ll get to see if their style fits yours in no time.If you don’t need an event planner or it’s out of budget, consider tapping in to local and (often) free resources to find out more about the destination, to receive recommendations and insider tips, and to ask questions.

Some helpful resources include:

  • A trusted travel agent
  • A friend who has visited the destination
  • The local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
  • The local tourism agency
  • The visitor’s center at a National Park
  • A blogger local to the destination city