Smarter You: Better Vacation Budgeting

Posted by on Jul. 12, 2013 at 12:00 AM
  • 38 Replies



Budgeting for a fun family vacation can be tricky. And it's always way too easy to overspend on vacation, too. Here are few tips to help you create and manage a realistic vacation budget that won't break the bank and still ensure you have all the fun in the world with your family this summer.

First, be sure to plan your budget well in advance and include some funds for emergencies and also random unforeseen extras, like tickets to a carnival or show you did not existed, or money for movie nights in case it rains (heaven forbid!) a lot.

Additionally, try to plan your budget around the REAL cost of things where you are going. Unfortunately, many lovely vacation spots jack up prices sky high to make the most of tourist season, and next thing you know, you are paying $50 for something you thought might cost $25. So don't just budget your usual dollar amounts for groceries or ice cream or incidentals when you are vacation planning; make sure you are setting aside enough to cover the ACTUAL costs once you get there by researching ahead what things cost there.

Given the above, and with some thought and planning ahead, think of what you can purchase for cheaper at home and bring with you. For many people, this adds up to a TON of stuff: all your regular favorite groceries and also beverages, cleaning products and detergents, toiletries, sunscreen, sand and water toys, sports equipment, medication, pet supplies, art supplies, etc. Not only will this pre-planning save you a whole bundle of cash, it will save you time on your vacation so you can relax and have more fun, and it will ensure that for all those many necessary items, you stay within whatever price range you want, since you can shop around and make use of great local sales and savings instead of overpaying at your vacation destination.

Following these simple steps will not only help you feel confident about how much spending money you can afford to bring with you, it will hopefully also help you save time and money and have a better vacation overall.

Do you budget for your family vacations?Do you have any tips to share?

© iStockphoto.com/MileA

by on Jul. 12, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
MixedCooke
by Silver Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 2:05 AM

YES!  Well I bought the Florida resident tickets for 3 day park pass for $119, which considering each indivual Disney park ticket is like $75 each, that was a great deal!  I then got a discounted hotel reservations for the Radisson for only $59 per night through Travelzoo.  I then got a discounted rate on a rental vehicle as a AAA member!

I also go during off-peak times so there are less people and hotel prices and ticket deals are out.  I also coupon to save money for the trip.

 

Flaca43
by Ruby Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 7:24 AM
We haven't been on a vacation in so long. But we would probably try to budget and put in a little extra for unforeseen things.

We would prepare as much food we could ourselves too, rather than going out to eat all the time too.
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SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Jul. 12, 2013 at 7:29 AM
We don't usually go during the peak summer season. If you can wait until after Labor Day weekend, prices drop for almost everything and vacation becomes a lot more affordable and a lot less crowded!
Juniper53098
by June on Jul. 12, 2013 at 8:00 AM

We stay at our vacation home and cook all of our meals.  Then we can pick and choose what to spend our money on.  This year, we were given waterpark tickets, so our kids had a blast for NOTHING.

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by Pam on Jul. 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM
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Well, we usually get a lot of income tax money back and use this as vacation money. We usually take our family vacation during spring break in March.

mumamy
by on Jul. 12, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Overseas trips we book accomodations 9-12 mths ahead of time and then pay for the rest here and there leading up to it....We cut back on "want" vs "need" items for 3 mths before interstate holidays.

mackiebugsmom
by Silver Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:42 AM
That's a great tip!!

Quoting SarahSuzyQ:

We don't usually go during the peak summer season. If you can wait until after Labor Day weekend, prices drop for almost everything and vacation becomes a lot more affordable and a lot less crowded!
fraujones
by Amanda on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:43 AM

We could do better at this. Tfs!

sunshinepraying
by Gold Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:45 AM
Great tips! I always make a budget beforehand. We also usually buy bagels beforehand and bring bagels and water bottles with us as a substitute for at least one meal a day to help save.
mackiebugsmom
by Silver Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM
We haven't had a big family vacation yet but we take family road trips to Lake Michigan. Not a lot of planning or saving goes into that trip. Eventually I want to go to Disney world on vacation. I will save a year for that.
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