Vacation expense categorization techniques

Returned from a 2-week vacation - my first while using YNAB and wanted to share.

I created a generic payee called #Florida_Mar_2020 that I would use for all the local, one-off merchants (e.g. Alligator Farm, Fred's fruit stand) so I didn't clog up my payee list. In the memo field I tried to follow a format of "description", "merchant", "city" (since we were driving around Florida).

For the non-one-off payees (e.g. Starbucks, Walgreens, etc) I would be sure to add the  #Florida_Mar_2020 hash tag into the memo field.

As for categorization,  I eventually decide to put everything in the Vacation category.  I had considered putting a few expenses into my "normal life" categories like Dining Out, up to the budgeted amount and then putting the rest into Vacation.  I didn't want to throw of the "average spent" for future budgeting.  This became too much work and now with the coronavirus lockdown I see that all my categories are going to get out of wack regardless so why bother. 

This way, the Vacation category has ALL my vacation spending.  I can add a filter on #Florida_Mar_2020 to see everything I spent while on this specific vacation.

Entering transactions on a daily basis throught the mobile app was key - especially for cash transactions.  It was hard at first but with practice it become easier and faster.  At first I let it go a few days and had a big pile of receipts to go through. Linked credit cards are delayed a few days and the merchant name doesn't always match the actual place I was had. 

Thoughts and opinions welcome.

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  • I do much the same, including generic Payees and the specific hashtag. I save in dedicated categories because of overlapping timeframes, and categorize (or recategorize upon my return) to the generic Vacation category for ease of reference.

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  • Daily Impressions said:
    Entering transactions on a daily basis throught the mobile app was key

    If money is tight, this is indeed key.

    If that's not the case, the other options are save more than you feel you'll need or reallocate when you return (or both). Spending decisions are a bit more of the "wing it" variety. On the flip side, my intuitive measure of spending pace without using YNAB is pretty good.

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