In planning my next family vacation, there are many factors to consider. Where to visit? How to get there? Where to stay once we get there? What about meals? Most importantly, how to save money in the process? The following are some money-saving ideas for a cost-effective first-class family vacation.
Have a Budget
Having a budget is the most important part of planning a family vacation. As you may already know, impulsive spending and vacationing goes hand-in-hand. Therefore, to prevent overspending due to impulsivity, I create a budget with extra cash for unplanned spending. Another benefit of having a budget is it provides a security blanket for my finances. In budgeting for my family vacation, it gives me a sense of control and financial balance.
Stick to the Budget
Once I am done planning the budget for a vacation, I stick to it. This can be difficult at times, especially since I have children. “Ooh Mom, can I have that?” is the request I often hear when we are visiting a new place. Keeping the budget in mind, I have learned to say “no” and reinforce the budgeting concept for the children. After all, demonstrating self-discipline (in any form) is an excellent way to instill good values in children. Additionally, abiding by a budget reduces stressors related to overspending.
Shop for Bargains
Bargain shopping while planning a vacation is easier today than many years ago, compliments of the World Wide Web. While planning my family vacation, I use websites such as Groupon for money-saving deals and Hotels.com for hotel reviews and savings. Another money-saving idea is to simply ask for a discount. I was surprised to learn that many retailers factor bargaining into their pricing. Therefore, consumers often overpay for products and services without realizing there is room for negotiation.
Going on a Road Trip
For my next family vacation, I plan to take a road trip in our family car. While some people prefer faster methods of travel, my family and I enjoy long drives. Our car rides gives us time to talk and bond. Some money saving ideas for road trips are as follows:
- Drive a well maintained vehicle. A good working vehicle prevents unexpected breakdowns (expensive breakdowns) on the road.
- Travel with snacks and full meals if possible. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an apple for lunch is more cost effective and healthier than a high calorie fast food meal.
- Make frequent stops while on the road to stretch and maintain good circulation. Driving nonstop may seem easy, but it increases your risk for developing a blood clot, known as a deep vein thrombosis. This condition requires long term treatment and can cost thousands of dollars. Therefore, frequent stops are very important.
Saving for the Vacation
Saving for my family’s next vacation begins months and even years in advance. Saving small amounts of money over a long period of time gives me better control of my regular budget. The incentive: a fully funded family vacation!