Taking a family vacation is a great way to build lifelong memories with your loved ones. What’s more, studies have shown that a change of scenery not only reduces stress but improves your productivity.
Not to be a Debbie Downer but, as you take that vacation, you need to bear in mind that you still have a life to get back to. It’s alarming that a whopping 6 in10 Americans can’t cover a $500 expense in case of an emergency. Do you fall into this category?
If so, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Taking a vacation doesn’t have to deplete your resources.
In this article, we explore the ways you can budget for that much-needed family vacation. Read on.
Can You Afford A Family Vacation
The first thing you need to be candid about is whether or not you can afford to take a family vacation. The answer to this will depend on what type of budget you have at that particular point in your life. Use the different types of budget below to get an idea of where you fall.
The Survival Budget
Just as the name implies this type of budget is for those who are struggling to make ends meet. Ideally, the focus of this budget would be the bare essentials.
You know, keeping a roof over your head, paying for the gas, water, and electricity, putting food on your table… You get the idea.
The Debt-Free Budget
This budget is for those who are more secure in their income. They’re no longer living paycheck to paycheck and can assert a little more control over their future. The major focus here is avoiding or getting out of debt by spending less than what you earn.
The Financial Freedom Budget
You need this budget when you’re planning for the long term. You’re now able to save and invest a substantial portion of your income.
Financial freedom brings with it more choices for how to live your life. You can choose to take a few months off to travel or even change careers altogether.
The Retirement Budget
Ultimately, your decision to stop working rests on whether or not you can afford it. This budget basically looks at how much it costs to live the lifestyle you want and weighing this against expected income in retirement. This could be from your investments or social security.
Your retirement age can be whatever you want it to be. The goal here is to have an expenditure amount that can be covered comfortably with the income from your assets without having to track every penny.
How to Budget for A Vacation
If you’re not on a survival budget, then you can comfortably go on vacation if you plan right. Here’s how to go about it:
Brainstorming destinations for the best family vacations on a budget is the first step. Look for places you’d want to visit.
2. Identify The Big Expenses
Once you’ve figured out where you want to go, use a travel budget template to itemize the things that are likely to take up a large portion of your budget. You need to get a rough idea on how much transportation is likely to cost, what the price of accommodation is, and how much your flight tickets might cost. You should also look for vacation packages that may be available.
3. Don’t Forget The Little Things
Now that you’ve itemized the big expenses, don’t forget about the little ones. Visualize what kind of activities you’ll get up to while you’re there – literally.
Start from the time you wake up on the first day of your vacation. Imagine what you’ll do and write these activities down one by one. For instance, when you get up in the morning, you’ll want to have breakfast – add that to your activities list.
- You’ll probably go sight-seeing after – write that down to. What kind of places will you go to?
- Do they charge for admission? If so, how much will it cost?
- Will you want to buy some souvenirs? How much will you need?
- Will you have lunch there? How much do you estimate you’ll spend? You get the idea.
Repeat this process to account for every day you’ll spend there. The little things are what end up taking up a huge chunk of your budget. If you’re not careful, you may end up spending way more than you had intended to.
4. Add Everything Up
Once you’ve itemized everything you’ll spend on your family vacation, it’s time to sum everything up. Don’t forget to include enough money to be able to cover an emergency. You can use a spreadsheet to piece everything together.
5. Start Saving For The Trip
Now that you’ve established how much your vacation will cost, you need to determine when you’ll go for your trip. This is based largely on the amount of money you can afford to set aside every month.
You can open a savings account dedicated for that singular purpose. So, if you want to book the trip in 8 months, spread the cost of your vacation over the 8-month period and consistently save towards that. You’ll be surprised how fast your vacation savings account will grow.
If you need to go on your trip a little sooner, you can take a loan from a credit financing company. Bonsai Finance Loans, for instance, don’t even need a credit check.
6. Budget While On Vacation
While on you and your family are on holiday it’s important to stick to your vacation budget. Don’t do any frivolous spending if you had not planned for it in advance.
To make sure you stick to the plan adopt the “envelop system “where you only carry cash that you’ll spend on that specific day of your vacation. That way you’ll only use what you bring with you.
You can also use a vacation cost calculator to keep track of your expenses while you’re there. You’ll quickly discover how easy it is to take amazing family vacations on a budget.
Some Final Thoughts
Taking a family vacation has the potential to leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, or broke and frustrated. Use the tips in this article to help you create a realistic budget to get the most out of your vacation. The effort will certainly pay off.
Are you looking for a romantic getaway for you and your partner? Check out these top 5 romantic places in Australia.