Plan a Vacation without Breaking the Family Budget

According to the U.S. Travel Association, approximately 54 percent of American households are planning a summer vacation. If you’re one of 38 million U.S. adults that have not yet decided whether or not to take your family on a summer vacation, here are some great ideas to plan a vacation without breaking the budget.

First, you need to decide what kind of vacation that you want. Do you want to go sightseeing? Or relax at a resort and do nothing? Or maybe connect with nature? Whatever your family chooses, make sure it’s a vacation that everyone is going to enjoy. If members in your family have different ideas on what they want to do, then try to compromise and plan a few activities that will appeal to each family member.

Now that you know what you want to do, you need to create a budget and set a date. Consider traveling during off-peak times if possible, and avoid traveling during holidays. Compare airfare, hotel and rental car costs at your selected destination. If you’re considering a travel package, make sure the break the package into individual components and see if you’re really getting a deal. Sometimes it’s cheaper to bundle your airfare and hotel and then get the rental car separately. Also, you might be able to get them at a lesser rate if you’re willing to travel during the week rather than on the weekend. Not only will you save money, but it will be less crowded and you’ll probably get better service.

Another way to save on your vacation is to eat-in by cooking your meals at the hotel rather than eating out. You might pay more for the hotel room that includes a kitchen, but if you factor in the costs of feeding a family of four at a restaurant versus eating-in at your hotel, you’ll probably find that the upgraded hotel room is a greater savings. Bring pre-packaged snacks and water for your day excursions, and avoid paying the higher prices for snacks at the theme parks.

Make sure that your family budget includes shopping for souvenirs. U.S. Travel Association notes that the most popular domestic trip activity is shopping. It’s an easy way to break your family budget while on vacation. If you’re traveling with kids, let them know ahead of time what their souvenir budget is. It will make everyone more conscious of their spending and reduce buyer’s remorse.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Nicholas_T