How to Budget for an Affordable Family Vacation
Nearly everyone would like to take a vacation. It’s great to get away from life’s responsibilities, enjoy time with the family, have some fun, and make some memories. Unfortunately, most vacations cost money and many people feel like they’re not in a financial position to afford a family vacation.
If this is the situation you’re dealing with, you might feel like a vacation simply isn’t possible for you. The good news is that may not be the case.
Here are some tips on how you can afford a family vacation on nearly any budget.
Budgeting for a vacation takes planning. If you want to be able to afford a family vacation, you’ll need to start thinking of it well in advance and make a plan to save money to make your trip possible. For instance, if you want to take the family across the country to a big theme park, figure out how much this is going to cost then look at how much you’ll need to save each month to make it possible. Is this a number that makes sense?
Look at your budget and see what works for you. Are there any areas where you can reduce your spending so that you can put more aside each month? You may need to adjust your plans to make it happen. For instance, you may have to move your planned vacation back until you’re able to save enough to afford it or you might have to learn to live without certain things so you can put that money towards your trip.
A vacation doesn’t have to mean flying a far distance and staying in a big hotel or resort. You can choose to take a car trip, a train trip, or travel by bus instead of flying. Not only are these transportation methods often much less expensive than flying, but they give you a different experience as well.
You can also save money by staying in different accommodations. A hotel or a resort might be the first place you think of staying, but you could save money by staying in a smaller bed and breakfast or an AirBnB home, for example. You may even want to look into a hotel that’s slightly farther away from tourist attractions as this can reduce the cost. Read reviews online and see what you can get that’s in a lower price range without sacrificing too much.
Choose Another Time
Almost every location has its own “busy season” when prices are higher. In most places, this is during the summer or during time periods when many people have time off (such as winter holidays or March break, for example). If you travel outside of these times, you can save a lot of money and you’ll probably avoid some crowds as well.
Take Separate Vacations
One big reason why a lot of people have trouble booking a family vacation is that they have to wait until it’s convenient for every member of the family. This makes planning more stressful and it limits the times that you can travel, which can increase the cost since you may not have a choice but to travel during a busy time. Plus, if you’re going as an entire family, you’ll need to buy more tickets and that may be financially difficult.
You can save some money by having one parent take the kids on a vacation this year, for example, and then switch it up next year. Everyone will still get to have some fun, but you can be more flexible with your travel dates and save money.
Budget on the Trip
Budgeting isn’t just important during your daily life, it’s also a good idea when you’re on vacation. Look for ways to save money when you’re travelling. For instance, instead of eating out at restaurants or buying food inside attractions (which is often very expensive), visit a local grocery store and buy food and snacks there. Even if the place you’re staying doesn’t have a full kitchen, you can still prepare simple meals like cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch on your own, saving yourself some cash.
Stay Close to Home
There’s a good chance that you haven’t fully explored your own town and the surrounding area. Doing so can be a great way to have a family vacation without spending a lot of money. Not only will you not need to fly or pay for a hotel, but you also won’t need to take a week or two off of work. Instead, give yourself a long weekend, turn off your email, leave your chores alone for a couple of days, and spend time enjoying the local area. You might be surprised at what you find and how much fun you have!