How Much Should You be Budgeting for Your Family Vacation?

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated October 11, 2018

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Money Saving Tips
October 11, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Unless you plan on tent camping, staying in relatives home while out of town, or are independently wealthy, you probably need to budget for your family vacation. Certain considerations — like unexpected or hidden costs — are necessary to ensure that you have enough money saved to enjoy your vacation fully without having to practice extreme frugality for months after you return home!

Have a savings account dedicated to your vacation savings — even if it means using an old fashioned piggy bank or empty coffee can to store these funds. This should be a separate account from your regular savings for emergencies, college funds, or retirement.

Ask all the family members for input on their dream vacation. This may mean a cruise, a trip to a beach, theme park, or a rustic ranch. Once all the suggestions are in, the adults can decide which vacation fits the budget and how much you can afford to set aside each month to pay for it.

Remember, the best time to start planning and saving for a family vacation is about a year before vacation date, or at least several months. This gives you plenty of time to save the necessary cash.

Think of all the variables. For instance, if you’re going to be staying at a hotel, determine how much it will cost to eat out every meal. If that adds too much to the cost, consider getting lodging that includes a kitchen. If everyone helps to prepare meals and clean up, it allows you to save quite a bit on food costs. Restaurant meals can be a special treat.

If you’re planning a road trip, take into account all the stops you will make at gas stations, diners, and tourist attractions. This are all places where you’ll likely spend money.

Cruising is an affordable way to take a vacation because your rooms, food, and entertainment are all included. But, like with any vacation, there are hidden costs. You must include port charges, taxes, and excursion costs in the total amount you will need to save for a cruise. Although cruises often have unlimited beverages, like tea, lemonade, and coffee, they charge a high price for sodas.

After thinking of all the scenarios of where you’ll spend money –including souvenirs — calculate the cost and divide it by 12 — or however many months you have until you leave. Now you can start saving for your memorable vacation!!

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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