Find great tips on budgeting for a family vacation of a lifetime!
If you’re like us, you’re ready for a family vacation. Summer is upon us, and we know vacations with the family can get expensive, but at the same time, vacationing is very needed. So, if you’re ready to take the family on vacation but can’t quite see how it’s possible, with some planning and following these tips to budget for a family vacation – it’s quite doable. Let’s get you to stretch your funds to maximize your travel experience!
Tips On Budgeting For A Family Vacation
Step 1: Figure out your overall travel plan.
Ask yourself these questions.
- Where do you want to travel? Abroad, Disneyland, or anywhere in the Lone Star State!
- What time of year do you plan to travel? Summer, spring, fall, or winter.
- What do you plan to do when you get there? Any activities, new experiences, or attractions?
- What type of lodging will you need? Do you want a place that has free meals? Do you prefer a hotel or a short-term rental?
Answering these questions will give you a great head start toward the next step.
Make A Rough Estimate For Your Trip
Step 2: Calculate the total cost of your trip.
You’ll need to research the costs of the transportation, lodging, food, and activities to estimate the total amount you would need to spend if you paid cash (hint) and included everything on your wishlist (another hint). Now you can plan backward from here to reverse engineer your trip.
Using cash is much better in the long run. Sometimes that’s doable, but if it’s not, make sure you can pay off the credit cards in a reasonable amount of time.
Start Saving For Your Family Vacation
Step 3: Determine how much you can save per month for your trip.
Divide the total cost by the number of months until the trip to determine how much you need to save per month. You’re all set if you have room in your monthly budget to allocate this amount to your travel fund.
If you’re like most of us, you either don’t have extra money to go toward travel or don’t like the idea of paying “retail” when you can get a discount or make small sacrifices on your trip.
This brings us to the other side of the family vacation budget, where you lower the trip’s price from your original estimate.
Ways To Reduce The Cost Of Your Family Vacation
Step 4: Use points instead of or in combination with cash.
If you already have credit cards with points and rewards, figure out if you have enough to cover your entire trip or at least a portion of it. There are reward cards for hotels, airlines, gas, and lounges that may lower your food costs during travel. Some rewards programs don’t involve credit cards (train, car rental, rideshare, etc.).
Scope Out Travel Discounts And Promotions
Step 5: Look for promotions to reduce costs.
Promotions can include discounts on hotels, food, bus tours, and attractions. A simple web search can often reveal many travel discounts.
Cruise lines may offer promotions from time to time or discounts based on state of residence. Cruises can sometimes be cheaper than traditional vacations since most food and travel are included in the price. However, if you travel without a plan and daily budget, you may be tempted to overspend on shopping, food, alcohol, or excursions.
Be Flexible As Possible
Step 6: Figure out where you can compromise.
You can sometimes save money by having flexible travel dates or staying in a lower-tier hotel room or hotel. Sometimes staying at a hotel closer to the airport is cheaper than staying close to the attraction of choice. Also, many airport hotels have free transportation between the hotel and the airport. You can reduce costs by picking a more economical destination or time of year to travel.
Rather than eat out for every meal, you can save money by bringing food or staying at a hotel that provides free breakfast. Some hotel chains have lounges with breakfast and dinner for rewards members at higher levels. Ensure the lounge is open if you have access, as they sometimes close for the weekend.
Also, if you know what kind of trip you want to experience, consider finding a cheaper location with the experiences you’re looking for. For example, if you want to go to the beach in Florida, consider Corpus Christi or South Padre Island in Texas. Or, if you want to visit theme parks in California or Florida, consider visiting theme parks in San Antonio or Arlington in Texas. Or anywhere closer to home.
More Ways To Save On A Family Vacation
Step 7: Consider using public transportation.
Light rail or bus travel is often cheaper than renting a car or using rideshare services. We tend to travel to destinations that have light rail options. It’s a great way to see the city from a local perspective. It also allows you to allocate the cost savings to other parts of your trip. You can also combine this step with the previous steps. For example, when we visit Atlanta, we typically stay at a hotel near the airport. The hotel can be accessed from the airport via a tram. We then ride the tram back to the airport and hop on the MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority). My family can get to many Atlanta attractions this way for $9 or less per day if buying a single-day or multiple-day pass.
Take the Atlanta Streetcar for a $3 one-day pass for bonus points.
By using these strategies, anyone should be able to make travel plans on a budget they can afford.