Keeping it All Together: Budget Your Vacation
This magazine’s theme is frugal family vacations, and we’ll be looking at a lot of different ways to save money and still enjoy relaxing time together as a family. This column will help to organize your vacation budget and finances (be sure to check the forms at the end of the magazine)!
Vacations do not have to be expensive, especially if you plan ahead. The most important step is to consider where you will need to spend your money—transportation, food, lodging, etc. I have included a worksheet at the end of this Digest for you to print out and use to help you plan the financial aspect of your vacation. First, you need to set a budget based on the cash you have on hand and whatever you will be willing to put on your credit card. If you are going to pay for part of your vacation with credit, be sure that you have a plan in place to pay off that balance as soon as possible.
One of the best ways to save money is to look for vacation packages that include lodging and entertainment in one price. Usually you have to book a room for a certain number of nights, but you’ll save money on tickets to theme parks and other local attractions. Often it is worth it to use a local travel agent, as they have access to deals that you cannot get on your own. You might want to call a couple of local agents to see if they have any specials available. You can also save money by staying at a campground.
Before you get in the car or plane to travel to your vacation destination, plan activities that will keep the kids busy. If they are busy, you might not hear, “Are we there yet?” as often! Head to the local dollar store, and buy some items for a travel “goody bag” like coloring books and crayons, search-a-words, handheld games, stickers and paper, Mad Libs™, etc. Wrap each item and have a schedule set so that the kids know when they can open up a new “present.” This could include times when you cross state lines, stop for a gas refill, see a certain roadside sign, etc. Make it a fun travel “treasure hunt.” Don’t forget to include some snacks and times to eat them. Hungry children do not make for a good trip!
If you are able to afford to travel this year, here are some more tips for saving money when planning for your vacation. At the end of this magazine, you will also find a vacation checklist to remind you of all of the steps to take to plan the perfect vacation.
For more of this article on planning a frugal vacation, CLICK HERE to purchase Frugal Family Vacations as a single issue.
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