Vacation time is such an exciting time, but we all know it does not just happen without a lot of planning. Planning involves knowing how much money is available to allocate to it. It also includes researching destinations, deciding the time of year, and many other things.
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Do you know what makes vacations even better? Having the money available to pay for the whole vacation before you even leave for it, makes the get-away even better. It is not fun to have to put everything on a credit card because there is no money available and then have to pay for it when you get back.
Who Will Go
Is this a vacation just for adults or a family vacation? This is important in deciding the destination. Some destinations are more kid friendlier than others. This also may determine the time of year. If it is a family vacation and there are school age kids, this will need to be taken into consideration.
One option for family vacations is to decide if there are families or friends that you like to vacation with. If so, look into options of renting a bigger room such as a house or condo. It is fun to for the families to be together, but I do recommend discussing with them ahead of time of what their definition and expectation of a vacation is. Some people love to get up before the sun rises and not stop until the sun goes down. Others prefer to sleep in and get a later start. There is no wrong or right answer, but setting the expectations ahead of time can be sure everyone gets what they want out of the vacation.
Don’t forget to look at the kid’s calendars to see what dates they are available if they are in activities such as band, sports, etc.
Vacations that include just adults have more flexibility of destinations and dates. Decisions about how long everyone can take off from their normal routine will need to be determined.
Food is another big expense on vacations. Research the destination to see the average price of meals. Options to reduce the food expense may include limiting the number of times that meals are eaten in a restaurant or getting groceries to eat sandwiches or the like.
I recommend deciding ahead of time how much money you want to spend on souvenirs and let each of the kids know ahead of time. This gives them a good budget teaching moment, which they don’t even realize. It also prevents, “Mom, can we buy that t-shirt?” The kids are able to buy one bigger item or multiple smaller items.
Price the activities that you would like to do on vacation. These can add up quickly, so it is best to be prepared.
One of the expenses that are easy to sometimes forget if you are driving is the gas expense. When traveling in the car, one way to decrease costs is to include a small ice chest of drinks and snacks. This will save money instead of buying them at stops along the way.
If you plan to fly, budget money for parking the car at the airport or arrange for other transportation. There are also parking fees associated with keeping a car at the hotel at some places. Check on parking fees and the taxes when figuring out the hotel costs. Some hotels offer breakfasts too, so this can be factored into potentially less meal expense. Some states have toll roads, so these fees should be a separate line in the budget.
If there are pets that need to be watched by someone, include this in the vacation budget as well.
There are so many options for vacations and various options to fit multiple budgets. Know what you have available to spend and make decisions accordingly. And then have fun!
What are some money-saving tips you do?