Thanks to RBS Citizens Financial Group for this informative sponsored post. You can read the full CFO disclosure policy here.
Desperate for a getaway but wondering how to pay for it? Arranging a vacation on a budget can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Create a budget for your family vacation, and start saving money each month for your next big trip. In the meantime, consider planning a cheap weekend vacation with your family, and follow these tips and budget vacation ideas.
1. Create a budget for family vacations: Using a spreadsheet tool, outline the expenses for your trip. To do this, you’ll need to decide where and when you want to go. Don’t forget to include the costs of the following items:
- Wardrobe: Will you need a new swimsuit or summer dress? A new ski parka?
- Passport fees: If you’re going out of the country, be sure to get updated passports for the whole family.
- Toiletries: Buying travel size items can get expensive. Instead, choose a bag to check, and pack enough toiletries for the family.
- Camera: Will you need disposable underwater cameras? Don’t forget about extra batteries and a memory card for your digital camera.
- Travel fare: Save enough for plane tickets, rental cars, buses, trains, gas or public transportation.
- Activities: Plan out what you want to do before you go. Budget enough for these activities and the cost of any rental equipment required.
2. Book early: If you’re going to fly, book as early as possible. If you can fly mid-week or on a red-eye, it’s typically cheaper. Get a credit card that will earn you frequent flier miles, and start racking up the savings.
3. Travel during the off-season: One of the best ideas for a vacation on a budget is to travel during the off-season to save money on flights and accommodations. Plus, you won’t find your destination overrun by tourists. Consider Ireland in February, Jamaica in April, Las Vegas in August and Lake Tahoe in November.
4. Take short day or weekend trips instead of extravagant vacations: You might be surprised how many scenic parks, historical sites and other places of interest are right in your backyard.
5. Choose economic accommodations: When you’re planning a cheap vacation, consider splitting the cost of accommodations and meals with another family through a timeshare or vacation rental. Other options include home exchange, hostels or home stays, but be sure you thoroughly research these options. Finally, camping equipment may be expensive up front, but it can provide cheap vacation accommodations for several years.
Budget for your family vacation by opening a savings account
Take advantage of the above budget vacation ideas to save money during your trip, but remember that even planning a cheap vacation starts by opening a savings account. Look for an account that provides you with tools like automatic transfers and goal tracking to help you reach your savings goals. With the right tools in place, you’ll watch your savings grow – fast. To give your savings plan an additional boost, you may want to consider money market accounts or other high-yield savings options that can provide a greater return on your investment. Find a savings account that meets your needs, and set aside money each month so you have enough cash for your vacation expenses when the time comes.