7 Ways to Plan Your Most Amazing Vacation on a Budget

With all of the vacation options we have today, budgeting for a vacation can be done easily and painlessly. Today’s modern family doesn’t need to take a traditional one-week vacation to reap the benefits of getting family time away from our obligations, work, and school schedules.

So, let’s talk about how to plan your vacation.

Do you see yourself spending more time being active outdoors? Or, sipping a cool drink relaxing on the beach while the kids splash around in the water? Are theme and amusement parks on your radar screen? Or, would you like to catch dinner and a show in the big city?

The following vacation tips can help you plan your most amazing vacation this year in 2018!

Start Planning and Saving Early.

Planning a vacation is just part of the deal. The earlier you start planning and saving, the more time you will have to reach your overall savings goal. Have a family meeting to discuss what you can afford to save each month. Everyone in the family can help. Start first by taking a look around your home. Are there items you are no longer using that can be sold online or at a yard sale? Finding ways as a family to generate income can actually be fun. When planning a vacation, you are also more likely to take a look at your regular spending habits as a family. Do you frequently go out to eat? Do you stop at the coffee shop every morning on the way to work? Do you spend money on unnecessary items? By preparing your meals at home and making your own coffee and taking it to work, among other things, you can substantially add to your vacation savings!

In addition to saving for your trip, you can also seek to reduce your vacation-related costs. Search online for internet specials, coupons, discounts (senior or AAA), and other deals offered by area attractions, parks, and museums. By booking your own travel or using an online discounted travel service, you can also get reduced rates on hotel stays, car rentals, and airfare.

So, now you have it. With both your vacation plans and savings plans in sync, you are now ready to get to the fun part!

Consider following these vacation tips:

1. TRAVEL DURING NON-PEAK TIMES.

Try to be as flexible with your vacation dates, your schedule permitting, of course. Hotels and area attractions usually offer special discounts to attract more tourists during the off-season. Research the specific off-season times for your destination and plan your trip accordingly.

2. SHORTEN YOUR STAY.

Instead of taking the traditional week-long vacation, opt to take an extended weekend or limit your trip to a mid-week stay. You may also save on costs, if you book during the week instead of during peak travel days. By vacationing mid-week, as well as during non-peak times, you’ll most likely avoid the crowds too!

3. STAY LOCAL.

Elect to stay at home and explore what your local area has to offer. You can also take day trips that are only a few hours away. Research recreational areas, state and regional parks, museums, and other local attractions, such as festivals. Visit places with local flair to learn more about the culture of your state and local area.

4. TAKE A ROAD TRIP.

Get out a map, select a route, and plan a road trip vacation to various destinations along the way. To save money, you can opt to do a hybrid hotel and campground stay. Tent camping, or renting an RV at a campground are also cost-saving options. If you decide to rent an RV, many campgrounds are in need of camp hosts, who stay free of charge in exchange for supervising the campground area; however, in order to take advantage of that option, you will need to plan far in advance.

5. TAKE AN EDUCATION VACATION.

Plan a series of visits to museums, zoos, aquariums, historical facilities, and smaller local museums, many of which are free of charge, have minimal fees, or ask for donations. Nearby universities and other educational institutions may also offer free visits to their museums. Arboretums, gardens, and city parks are often free of charge and offer natural places to wander and stroll. Ocean and lake beaches are enjoyable local habitats to explore and visit. Walking and biking trails offer opportunities to explore natural flora and fauna.

6. GO DUTCH.

Longing to spend time at the beach? Spending a week in the mountains? When planning a vacation on a budget, that might not seem like a possibility. Consider travelling with another family or couple to split the costs of a rental house, meals, as well as tasks, such as cooking and cleaning. If you are travelling with another family, you can offer to babysit the other couple’s children with them repeating the favor so that both couples can enjoy “date night”.

7. TAKE A RAINY DAY APPROACH.

Make a “rainy” day plan for your destination with plans for doing activities indoors. Research movie theaters, indoor gyms and rock climbing facilities, bowling alleys, and escape rooms. Make sure to schedule a visit to a fun or unusual breakfast place or diner where original local cuisine is served. Whether or not the weather is inclement, you will have a unique indoor plan in place.

There are two more vacation tips: Keep an eye on your budget, even while on vacation. Before you travel, establish your daily spending budget so that you aren’t tempted to impulse spend. Make sure that your budget also includes ancillary items and other last minute expenditures, such as medicines, sunscreen or clothing, as well as souvenirs.

Lastly, don’t forget to splurge. Set aside money for that one “extra-special” item for the family, whether it’s dinner at a fancy restaurant, or a visit to a once-in-a-lifetime show or attraction. Enjoy planning a vacation that will create long-lasting memories for you and for your family!

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