We know; the family planner suggests that we’re emerging from the throes of winter but all you have on the brain is making it to spring break or summer vacation. For some, planning their next family vacation is stressful and overwhelming – especially when one has to manage doing it on top of all of the other daily tasks.
Don’t worry. We’re here to help in every aspect of the word. In this series, we’ll discuss pre-planning items like setting a budget, the best time to book your vacation and other need-to-know suggestions on where to book and what to pack. While there may not be an exact science to vacation planning, we hope this series will take some of the madness out of the process for you and your family.
Setting A Vacation Budget
Circumstance and finances play a large role in where we actually vacation as a family. Despite your bucket list of places to visit, when it comes to running a household with children families choose locations offering gorgeous scenery, relaxation and activities suited for each member of the household rather than breaking the bank by visiting a luxury destination and having to add-on all of the amenities. The key: set your budget, then plan your vacation. Doing the opposite often means a sacrifice of good financial intentions for spur of the moment vacation daydreams.
Questions To Ask When Developing Your Vacation Budget
- How much can we afford? After monthly expenses are paid, what can we put toward a vacation fund without inconveniencing the family?
- How much time do we have to save? Create a realistic calendar of saving for your family situation.
- What will be included in the price of our accommodations? Will there be separate charges for taxes, a deposit, cleaning fees, trip insurance, etc.?
- After accommodations, how much will we need per person per day for food, activities, gratuity and/or souvenirs?
- What activities are on our “must do” list? How much will these cost? Should we prioritize the list so we can eliminate a few?
- Are certain amenities included if we rent weekly as opposed to nightly?
Things To Consider For Your Budget
- Search your membership benefits with organizations like AARP, AAA or even Costco. You may find discounts on rental cars or airfare.
- A standard vacation budget is equivalent to about one month’s income.
- Whatever your budget total, add 15% to it for unexpected expenditures or emergency situations.
- Do not charge your entire vacation.
- Jump start your vacation fund by skipping specialty coffee or by avoiding meals out.
- If you have flexibility with your dates, explore last minute deals. If a vacation rental isn’t rented for a particular week then an owner may be inclined to discount the weekly rate by several hundred dollars or offer extra nights as a booking special.
- Renting a vacation home can provide a little wiggle room in your vacation budget. Families tend to save on items like meals and other amenities when booking a vacation rental rather than a hotel or motel.
Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. offers a wonderful selection of vacation rentals in the Southport-Oak Island area of Brunswick County, North Carolina. Ranging from small bungalows and coastal condominiums to expansive beach homes, we surely have something to fit your family’s individual needs (budgetary and otherwise).
What are your tried and true methods for developing and adhering to your family vacation budget? Share your tips and tricks on how your family sticks to your budget before and during your vacation in the comments. Stay tuned for tips and tricks on Where To Take Your Family Vacation.