This post is all about how to save for a family vacation.
Travel has always been high on my priority list but last winter looking up the cost of a trip for a family of four during spring break left my head spinning. We wanted a short trip to somewhere warm and sunny with a palm tree or two but it was nearly $3,000 for plane tickets!
Combining that with a stay, our travel budget was bursted. Planning a vacation can feel super defeating when you haven’t planned accordingly. If wanderlust is in you – they key to attaining the dream trip or meeting your frequent travel desires is all in the planning! How to save for a family vacation is just ahead!
In my “9-5” I work to help families plan for the future while enjoying today. Here on my lifestyle blog, I work to share the best of family travel with unique experiences that provide value. This summer, after coronavirus ruined our original travel plans, we took a road trip to a very special Airbnb. After being in the house for months, the sea, the air and the home made it a magical vacation but it wouldn’t have happened with out the following tips, savings and how to save for a family vacation.
Sounds obvious and while scoring last minute deals can still happen, the earlier you start planning for your family trip the better. Dream of Leaf Peeping in New England? Start planning spring through July. How about escaping the winter cold air? A year will do. The big legacy trip of a life time with extended family? A year or more. Wherever it is that your heart desires will take some advanced planning if you need it to be affordable to you.
You want to book hotels prior to whatever season you want to travel in. When the demand is high the prices will go up or worse, you won’t be able to find accommadations to your liking. A quick google search can tell you the most ideal times to travel per your destination.
Determine Exactly How Much You Need for Your Trip
Once you’ve set your heart on a destination get to researching. I can’t tell you how many Pinterest Boards I create and how long I scroll as I’m narrowing down a destination. From there it’s figuring the cost…times four for the four family members in my family.
Although we aren’t flying much these days, keep in mind that children under 2 fly for free and you’ll want to take advantage of that if you’re planning close to a second birthday.
Here are the expenses I take into account: How much will it cost to travel to this destination? Plane tickets, train tickets, gas, tolls, parking once I’m there? If you have the option to choose between flying and driving, weighing those costs plus the pros and cons is key.
Next, what will it cost me to stay? From hotels to airbnb’s ensure to estimate taxes and fees. The cleaning fees on Airbnb’s kill me every time! How many days will you stay?
Food and entertainment – be sure to accurately estimate this cost.
Build Out a Travel Savings
Have a place to keep your savings specifically for travel. Wether this is a glass jar with a lid or a savings account earmarked for travel, this will help you save little by little and you’ll be excited when you get to use your dollars you’ve worked hard to save. The larger the trip amount the longer time frame you may need to save.
I often help clients build out custom savings goals and travel is one of the top savings goals. We decide on an annual amount and work backwards. For this purpose let’s say that amount is 5,000 a year toward travel. (Travel and Lesure) That’s saving $416/month into your travel account. The best way to save systematically – automate it!
A great app I really love to save WITH someone else is Twine. You can save with your girlfriends for a trip or your significant other. A quick note, I cannot use the app and have not tested it as I’m not allowed to in my industry but I love the idea and think it’s worth checking out for short term savings goals and a fun way to save with someone else.
Use a Side Hustle to Pay for Travel
If you have a side hustle or need to find one, using your side hustle as a way to enjoy life is a great rule of thumb. This blog is my side hustle and I love being able to use the money I earn from the blog for our family vacations. From doing odd end jobs to selling your stuff on apps like Poshmark and eBay, travel can be a fun way to spend your hard earned side hustle money. You’ll also enjoy your side hustle more knowing you can to spend your money on something enjoyable.
This money may not come in large amounts or consistently but if you save every earning and let it stack up, you’ll be amazed at how it will grow. Let’s say you sell clothes you know longer want anymore from your closet and earn $100/month. After a year, saved each month, you’ll have $1200 towards your travel fund which is a big chunk! Being intentional about our extra dollars is a great best practice to learn.
Take Advantage of Every Trip Perk
Does the hotel offer a free continental breakfast? Do that. A free night’s stay when you book 3+ nights? Choose that. Are kids under 12 free to a local activity? Is there a tourist passbook of some sort that lets you get two tours for the price of 1? LOOK for savings and perks and read travel blogs. DM others and ask. Other families will let you know what they did with kids and for free.
Philly tip – if you’re visiting Philadelphia and you head to the famous Franklin Fountain, they offer a kid sized cone not on the menu. You have to ask for it but it’s cheaper than the small. Savings!
Of course, most nature experiences are always free.
Lastly, if you don’t ask the answer will always be “no”. More than ever hotels need to go out of their way to wow guests from a struggling travel industry. Ask for the manager on duty. Introduce yourself. Say hello. Great hospitality professionals WANT you to have a wonderful trip.
Yeah, not kidding on this one. You know what your kids love to eat and what they don’t. Packing their favorite snacks for road trips and travel will help you save dollars from buying overpriced snacks and food that they probably won’t like anyway. Pack your favorites too.
Planning is Key
Overall, planning is super key in saving for and taking a complete family trip. Travel memories for your kids is one of the best gifts you can give them and time as a family. DM me with any questions or for any tips!