Tonight I’m welcoming Guest Blogger, Justin Bennett. He’s an author and blogger. He loves to collect resources from all over the web to share with his audience.
Part of being healthy is having fun. There’s nothing better than a good vacation, and the two biggest travel holidays are coming up – Thanksgiving and Christmas.
You don’t want your next trip to be a series of “Can we really afford this?” moments. Author and speaker Justin Bennett presents some tips, on how to plan a vacation without overspending.
Vacations are expensive. Kids are expensive. So, it’s hard to imagine vacationing with kids being anything other than a drain on your pocketbook. And at the end of the day, can you really relax on vacation knowing you’re putting your budget at risk?
Part 1 – Save on Travel and Supplies
Vacations don’t have to be wildly expensive. There are plenty of ways you can reduce how much you spend when you travel. For example, it might cost less to drive to your destination, or, as The Points Guy notes, a budget airline might be the better call. You can also invite another family along to split costs or travel during your destination’s off-season when you’re more likely to get favorable rates.
Search for deals on supplies for the road like luggage, changing bags, toys, and basics like diapers and snacks. Whether you’re driving or flying to your destination, also be sure you have a car charger or a portable power bank — you’ll likely rely on your phone to help you get around on your trip, so it’s important to make sure it’s always powered up.
Get the Kids Involved
Unexpected activities and excursions can be a major financial drain on your finances, but an easy way to avoid them is to get your kids involved in the vacation planning stage. If they’re very little, they might be limited in what they can help with, but even a toddler will enjoy giving their opinion between two options (though their opinion may change with the wind). If your child is preschool or elementary school-aged, print a list of activities at your destination and have them pick two or three they’re interested in. Not only will this give them a chance to take ownership of part of the planning process, but it will also be a fun bonding activity for the whole family.
Part 3 – Start Planning Early
On top of the tips listed above, the simplest way to ensure you’re not worried about money on a trip is to plan ahead and make sure you can afford the trip to begin with. Start by making sure work is prepared for your absence. If you’re going to spend time worrying about clients, your business, or coworkers, it’s going to be much tougher to truly enjoy your vacation.
Money Helper suggests setting aside a savings category in your budget just for vacations, and putting a sum of money into savings each paycheck. Do the math to see how much you’ll have set aside by the time a good vacation opportunity arrives, and then plan a vacation around that budget. Always plan to spend less than you have — eating into a buffer is better than spending each day worried about strict spending limits.
If you’re jonesing for that last-minute, follow-your-heart kind of vacation, there are ways to make it financially responsible. Just plan so that by the time you take it, you’ve set aside twice the money you’d expect for the trip. You probably won’t use it all — and you shouldn’t plan to — but you’ll know you have it in the event that your spontaneous plans go south. You can put whatever you have left over toward your retirement, emergency fund, or next vacation.
Part 4 – Look for Deals on Entertainment and Trips to Disney
To stretch your dollars further, look for ways to save money on entertainment. For example, if you’re set on seeing a ball game, find tickets through a ticket deal site. Or if you want to take in a few different activities like mini golf, laser tag or a water park, look to sites like Groupon, and see what sort of local deals they offer for your destination. Remember too that the earlier you work out your entertainment plan, the more you can save.
You can also find deals for fun destinations like Disney, a trip of a lifetime for kids the world over. Use MouseLifeToday.com – a free resource for Disney enthusiasts and consumers – to find great money-saving deals and learn how to use their member reward points for ongoing bargains.
When everyone is involved in planning a budget-friendly vacation, you’re a lot more likely to be able to enjoy the trip without worrying about your bank account. Search out great deals and start early so you know you’ve done the work to make your trip as affordable as it is exciting!
Justin Bennett is an author and the creator of Healthy Fit, which collects valuable fitness resources from across the web. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!