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10 Ways to Plan a Budget-Friendly Family Vacation



Nothing can dim your post-vacation glow quite like realizing you've overspent and gone way over your vacation budget. It's a fact that when you don't have the right tools and strategies in place, even trying to plan a cheap family vacation can be a huge and very expensive challenge. That's why today I want to offer you a little insight into how we plan a budget-friendly family vacation. I want to share with you some of the best strategies that help me and will also help you stay on track next time you take a family trip.


10 Ways to Plan a Budget-Friendly Family Vacation

Don't sweat it! Go ahead and spread some aloe vera on your sunburn, take the time to shake the sand off your sandals, and take note of my great travel budget tips, sure to help you plan an affordable family vacation, stay on track before, during, and after your vacation. Read on!

Before you go on vacation

Do your homework. This is very important because a little bit of research can go a long way and save you lots of money. Make sure to read up on your destination before you go and get a feel for what you can expect to spend on accommodations, food, entertainment, and shopping. There are great blogs and useful travel websites out there that offer fantastic information and great helpful tips.

Understand exchange rates. This is very important if you are traveling abroad. Make sure you understand the exchange rate and what fees, if any are associated with the credit cards you use while traveling. Whenever possible, try to choose a credit card that waives currency conversion fees. My family uses Capital One Platinum MasterCard for it's travel-friendly advantages but there are many other credit cards out there that also don't charge foreign transaction fees when using your credit card oversees. Just call your credit card provider to find out before you go!

Look for deals before you go! Online coupons and discount sites are great ways to find hidden savings for your next vacation spot. Take a little time to browse online to see what great coupons you can find for tours, attractions, and more. Some of my personal favorites are GroupOn and Expedia but there are just so many out there! Find the ones that work best for you.

Also, build your travel budget and try your best to stick to it! Once you've done some research and sought out some great deals and coupons, you'll have a better idea of what you can expect to spend on your family vacation. Plan out your travel budget but don't forget to also leave yourself a little wiggle room for some spontaneous family-fun!


While on vacation

Work as a team! Budgeting is easier if all family members are on the same page. Talk to your family, including the kids, about your family vacation budget. I always make sure to tell the kids what we'll be doing on vacation and even point out some of the things we won't be doing while on vacation. That way, when we decide to indulge in a little something extra like a fancy lunch or a little extra shopping, no one is upset (or having a meltdown) when they don't get that extra something or dinner turns into some quick take out or even leftovers from that fancy lunch.

Track your expenses. This is another way I keep our budget-friendly family vacations on track. I write down every dollar we spend and this helps me better see the big picture. And it doesn't have to come with any guilt attached; I just jot it down and don't give it much thought. Then I continue enjoying carefree vacation days! Once I get home I take a closer look at our spending and identify any patterns that can be corrected for next time.

Focus on making memories. We like to focus on experiences when we travel as a family. Research clearly shows that experiences make us happy so it makes sense to have more of them every time we travel! While on your next family vacation, take that tour or try a new activity. The memories and happiness you create for your family will last much longer than that over priced snow globe!


When you return from vacation

Assess your spending. As soon as we get back from a family vacation I like to sit down and look at our bank statements and the notes I jotted down about our spending during the trip. This helps me better understand where our money went. It makes no sense to be too hard on yourself if you find that you've overspent during this trip. Having a clear picture of what went right or wrong will make it easier to plan for your next trip and help you get back on track faster.

Make a plan. If you find that you have racked up on travel expenses during this trip, make a plan to stay on top of that spending. It's easy to be tempted to ignore that travel bill or just plan to pay it a little at a time. DON'T! Make a plan right now to restrict spending in the weeks and months ahead and commit to paying off that travel debt as soon as possible. Just think, the sooner you get current with your bills, the sooner you'll be ready to plan your next budget-friendly family vacation!

And with that being said, know for next time! Even if your last trip was a big budgeting nightmare, take it as a lesson learned! Keeping in mind the lessons you learned this time around, from best vacation activities to spending patterns, will make you better equipped when planning your next family vacation. Plus there are so many different ways to save money for around the world travel. It's never to early to start planning your next trip!

Happy travels!

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