For many families, the worst part of planning a family vacation is figuring out how to pay for the trip. A solid plan can ensure you can take your dream trip this year, even if you have to make a few tweaks to ensure it is affordable. Getting the kids involved is essential, as this teaches them how to manage money.
How to Plan an Affordable Family Vacation
Be Smart About Savings
While there are plenty of ways to save money, they all boil down to reducing your expenses or increasing your income. Because increasing your income often requires you to take on more work hours, reducing your expenses is often a great starting point. Evaluate your current debt, especially if you still have student loans. If you are thinking about applying for a refinance, it’s a good idea to take some time to learn about the impact on your credit score. When you get a rate estimate, some lenders run a soft credit score inquiry, while others require a hard one. These both can affect your score, and you can look at a guide with more information on these checks and how they can impact you.
Get the Kids Involved
You can get the kids involved by getting together as a family to come up with ideas on how you can save for the trip. You can collect loose change, and the kids can save some of their cash so they can buy themselves something while you are on your trip. Help them go through their belongings and sell outgrown clothing or toys. As you progress toward your goal, help them learn essential life lessons. They can see that a little saved here and there can pay off and add up. This can help them learn the patience required to save for a financial goal.
Be Smart with Credit Cards
You can spread expenses over several credit cards instead of putting everything on one. This can be one of many powerful savings tips that you employ. You might get different rewards on different credit cards, so airfare could go on one card while restaurant meals could go on another. It’s a good idea to ensure total credit card debt is no more than 30 percent of the total limit on that card. Create a payment plan for the items you put on credit cards. Plan on paying the remaining balance within six months or less after the trip. This can prevent you from taking on more than you can pay back, and six months is a reasonable amount of time to do so.
Evaluate Other Savings Options
The best way to increase your savings is by putting everything on autopilot, so you don’t need to remember to put savings aside each month. If you contribute just $100 a month, you will be setting aside $1,200 each year. Consider the cost of living, especially if you will be gone for a while. If you typically spend several hundred dollars a week on groceries, travel to and from work, and entertainment, you can put these dollars toward your vacation because you will not need to pay for these things at home.