Estimate Your Vacation Costs
Take the time to sit down and do some research to determine exactly how much your family vacation is going to cost. Include air fare or travel expenses, lodging, food, souvenirs or other additional purchases, and tips.
You can an idea of your travel costs by visiting travel websites, asking friends and family who have taken similar vacations, or calling a travel agent. Don’t forget to keep in mind your designated travel and lodging dates, since fees can vary between peak and off-peak times.
Set Your Travel Countdown
Now that you have an idea of the expenses for your family vacation, the next thing to do is to pick a firm date and start saving. You will also need to know the dates of any payment that you will need to make. Once you have that information, sit down and determine how much you will need to save each week for your summer vacation.
For example, let us say that your ideal family vacation will cost $1,700 and must be paid in four months, or 16 weeks. You’ve already managed to save $600 in your vacation fund, leaving you a balance of $1,100 to save. Divided throughout the time remaining, your family should save $69 a week (rounding up).
Develop a Savings Plan
Now that you know how much you need to save per week, you can develop a plan and then start fulfilling it. How will you find the extra money? You may be able to eliminate eating out once a week, reduce your grocery bill by shopping sales and using coupons, having a yard sale, cutting out a hobby or activity, telecommuting or ride sharing to reduce your gas usage, temporarily not buying anything new, baby sitting or getting a part-time job, etc. Remember that you will need to calculate how much extra you are saving or earning, and match it to the requirements of your vacation fund.
Maybe Make Some Compromises
After reviewing everything so far, you may determine that the amount that you need to save, weekly, for your summer vacation is more than you savings plan can accommodate. In other words, you aren’t able to save or earn enough each week. If this is the case, it may be time to make some hard compromises for your summer vacation. You may decide to change the way you travel, such as driving to your destination instead of flying, shortening your vacation time, changing to an off-peak time, downgrading the accommodations, or even putting the family vacation off a year to give you more time to save. You now know what it really takes, so you can save for your family vacation with success.
Following these four steps to saving for a family vacation can turn a dream vacation into a reality. Have fun!