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Published: May 24, 2023 3 min read
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Skipping your daily croissant and large French roast for a couple months probably won’t generate enough savings for a flight to Paris — but a new budgeting tool can show you how far those spending cuts can take you.

The Vacay Valuator, a free calculator from the travel search engine Kayak, asks users to choose from 15 different spending categories — like alcohol, coffee and streaming services — and pick a hypothetical length of time to nix those items from their budget. The calculator then spits out an estimated cost savings based on those inputs, along with some round-trip economy flights in that exact price range.

Kayak, a U.S.-based company, says it released the new feature after finding that 65% of travelers surveyed in the United Kingdom said they’re having difficulty paying for a vacation this year. Eighty-five percent of survey respondents were willing to cut non-essential purchases to fund a trip.

The Vacay Valuator’s estimates are shown in British pounds and are based on the average cost of living for U.K. consumers, but anyone can use it with an online currency converter. According to the tool, three months of forgoing dinners out and alcohol will save you about $395. If you’re departing from New York in September, that’s potentially enough to bankroll a round-trip flight to Atlanta ($98.25), Orlando ($90.79) or Bermuda ($358.19).

Users can customize some of the criteria, like their departure and arrival locations, when and for how long they want to travel, and whether they want a direct flight. They can also choose from several options for the type of trip they want to take, like “romantic” or “family.”

That said, the calculator is somewhat limited: Users can’t add spending categories outside of the handful that Kayak provides, or adjust for how often they want to abstain from their selected items. (It can tell you how much you'll save if you stop drinking your daily coffee for three months straight, but not how much you'll save if you cut down to, say, a few cups of coffee a week.)

The tool's estimates are also based on average costs, so users who spend more or less on things like gym memberships — which Kayak calculates at about $50 a month — won't get perfect results.

All said, the Vacay Valuator can give you some idea of where to travel by rerouting your spending, but be sure to read the fine print: “Prices, cancellation, and policies may vary.”

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