How to Budget for a Family Vacation

How to budget for a family vacation?

budget for a family vacation

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

There is nothing quite as exciting as bringing the whole family on vacation. This is a chance to see amazing sights, learn about new places and cultures, and share all of those awesome experiences with your kids. However, while we all love the idea of taking a trip, some people don’t even begin to plan because they believe that the endeavor is just too expensive.

We are here to tell you that there is hope. By creating a budget, making smart choices, and carefully researching potential destinations, you can go on that dream getaway without breaking the bank. Let’s talk about the importance of vacation and how you can make it work while on a budget.

Vacations are important

Even though working at your job is important, so is going on vacation. Too often, we get wrapped up in work and forget to take some time to breathe, and it’s not good. Working without a break can quickly lead to burnout, and if left untreated, it could lead to stress, anxiety, and even death. The COVID-19 pandemic has really made this point clear, and now people are revising how they think about work and are making a conscious effort to enjoy themselves when they can. In fact, recent numbers show that 42% of millennials make it a point to dedicate the money they have in savings for travel expenses.

While we now know that going on vacation is important, going with your kids can be especially meaningful. Going away from home with your family is a great way to get the quality time that we sometimes take for granted. This is a chance for everyone to unplug from their devices, enjoy the beautiful sights and appreciate each other’s company. By taking a trip somewhere out of the country, you can also educate your kids on new cultures, which is much better than simply reading facts from a book.

To get these benefits, you should involve your kids in the planning of your next trip. Have a family meeting and let everyone make suggestions, then have a vote on where you want to go. Many great destinations are perfect for families, including natural parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. If you want to leave the country, then consider Japan or Singapore. Both destinations are rich in culture, and there are many attractions to visit, new foods to try, and amazing people to meet.

Budgeting for your trip

When you factor in the cost of transportation, meals, and entertainment, the average vacation ends up costing about $1000 per person. Do you have that kind of cash on hand?

If not, then you need to create a budget so you can get a good picture of your finances and see where you can cut costs. Write down all of your income sources and then track every one of your expenses, from the mortgage and utilities to the smaller costs like trips to the gas station, money spent on coffee runs, and maintenance around the home. Now, think about what you can cut. For example, do you have to go out for coffee every day or can you make it at home? You may even find a recurring expense that you forgot about, like that streaming service that you never watch.

By creating a budget, you can see if you are short on funds for your trip and, if you are, how much you need to make up for the deficit. This may be a good time to introduce a side gig into your routine, like online writing or tutoring. If you have older kids, you might educate them on some of the most beneficial summer jobs, such as babysitting, dog walking, or becoming a camp counselor. Teach them about how to be smart with their money and have them set aside a part of their earnings for your big trip. They’ll likely be thrilled to have some spending money while on vacation.

Since parents will need to pay for the majority of the trip, it is a wise idea to put a saving plan in place now so you’ll have enough money when it is time to go. Working parents can speak to the human resources department at their job and set up their paycheck so that a portion of all earnings goes into a separate savings account that is reserved only for the vacation. Consider opening a high-interest savings account where you can get a higher interest rate and save even more cash just by being responsible.

Save money during your trip

Keep in mind that even though you have a budget in place, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend every dime. Instead, you can look for opportunities during your trip to save money that you can use for your next getaway. Start with how you buy your tickets. If you need to travel by plane, then plan and buy your tickets as far in advance as possible and if you really want to save money, then you need to avoid peak times, including the summer and the holiday season when everyone is trying to take a trip. Not only will plane tickets be more expensive, but tourist destinations may charge more since they recognize the high demand.

You can also save money by finding a hotel that is near all of the attractions that you want to visit. That way, you don’t have to spend cash on a rental car, and you can walk or ride bikes to the places you want to see. While eating at new restaurants may be fun, you can save money within your food budget by going to a local store and making many of your meals at the hotel before you go out. 

If you crunch all of the numbers and discover that you simply do not have the funds to fly somewhere exotic, then you can still go on vacation if you modify your plans. For instance, consider taking a road trip to a nearby state where you can visit the museums, beaches, and tourist destinations of the area. You could even invite another family for a larger vacation as you share the costs. In the end, just remember that it isn’t always the destination, but the fun you had along the way.

As you can see, with a bit of research and some smart budgeting, you can take the family vacation that you always wanted. Remember, although you may spend a bit of money, the memories you’ll make are priceless.

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