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Friday, June 25, 2010

Planning a Family Vacation on a Budget

The Frugal Vacationers: Planning a Family Vacation on a Budget
Many families today are cutting back on unnecessary expenses, such as going on lavish vacations, in order to cope with the harsh financial blows resulting from a failing economy. However, this doesn't mean you have to completely deprive yourself and your family of all fun when summer arrives. You and your family can still enjoy the summer without having to spend a lot of money. How? Plan your vacation wisely!

How Much Can You Afford?
Regardless of where you plan to go, the first step you need to consider when you're planning a family vacation is the budget. How much can you afford for a family vacation? Your budget will most likely be the deciding factor for most of the questions regarding your family vacation. Which resort will your family stay in? Are you going to travel by plane or by car? How many days or weeks are you going to be on vacation? How many souvenirs are you going to buy? Your budget determines all these things.

Want to maximize your savings? Prepare a detailed outline of your expected spending before you make arrangements for your family vacation. For instance, while putting a price limit on your overall meal expenses is good, it's even better to itemize all costs in advance. You can limit your eating expenses to $5 per person per day for breakfast, $8 for lunch and $10-$12 for dinner. It's easier this way to see at a glance whether you're still well within your budget or if you're already in danger of going over.

Plan Weeks or Months Ahead
To gain the most accurate estimate of how much your family vacation is going to cost, do some thorough research weeks or even months prior to the trip. Take advantage of the resources online in order to estimate how much you will spend on your family vacation. Finding out the costs of accommodations, meals, and airfare is not difficult at all. All it takes is one phone call to the hotel, restaurant, or airline and you can get an exact figure right away. You can also use travel sites to help you have a fairly good idea of how much the attractions and entertainment in a particular place are going to cost.

Anticipate Additional Costs
It's a good idea to have more than what you've initially estimated. Even if you've done your research quite well, be prepared for unexpected price increases, additional taxes and other incidental costs. A summer vacation can easily be ruined if you suddenly find out that you have no more cash in your wallet despite having a few more days to spend on your vacation. So while you're on the planning stage and you're working on your budget, add 10% to 15% of your total cost to your budget. That's for incidentals, which you can spend on souvenirs or use to take your family out to a really good restaurant on your last night on vacation.

Take Advantage of Freebies
Many vacation hotspots will have various free offers, such as a free meal or a complimentary souvenir, for tourists and out-of-towners. Inquire about such freebies and take advantage of them to further reduce your family summer vacation expenses.

With adequate foresight, thorough planning, and a little bit of creativity, you can definitely enjoy a wonderful summer vacation with your family even on a very small budget.


Julie said...

My dd really wants to go to the beach. However,the closest ocean is 12 hours away by car and we really should not spend the money to make the trip. We do have lakes near us that have sandy beaches so we are going on a "faux" beach vacation.


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