Nancy Schretter: Making a budget for your family vacation is one of the most important things that you are going to be doing as part of this planning process. It's important when you're looking at the budget to include everything that you might possibly spend.
Sometimes families leave things out and then at the end of their vacation they find that oh, no feeling when you're sitting there and you see the bill and you think we haven't budgeted for that.
So make sure to include things like accommodations, meals, drinks, snacks, souvenirs or a huge item. Also think about things that you are going to be doing on your family vacation, such as tours, tickets and for attractions, babysitting costs and other items.
If you are driving, make sure to include gas. Gas can be a huge component of your trip. Also, set aside a little bit of money for those unexpected things that might happen. Sometimes when the weather is really bad, you might end up wanting to do something else other than what you planned. So set aside some rainy day money for you to be able to really enjoy your vacation and not find yourself skimping or saving at a time when it's not the best thing to do. It's important for you to start and look at your budget at the very beginning of your planning cycle rather than later. Because the budget is the most important thing in setting where you are going to go and what you are going to be able to do.
First of all, work together as a family in saving for your family vacation. It's never too early for kids to learn about the importance of finances and planning. So, work together and talk to the kids about this is what we are going to be doing and here is about how much we need to be able to do this.
So here is some things that we are going to be needing to do in order to save. Set aside a jar and put your extra coins in that; it may sound crazy, but one family I know paid for their entire Disney vacation by using coins that they had stored away.
Set aside money that you are going to be able to give the kids for souvenirs and then say these are some additional things that you might be able to do such as tours or other things in order to have more money for your souvenirs when you go.
Another way you can work together as a family to save for your vacation is to have a garage sale or sell things on eBay or Craigslist to come up with your family vacation money. A really popular way that families save for their vacation is to take some money off the top that they never see every month.
Get your bank to set up something that's a direct deposit from your checking account into your savings account and set up a vacation's savings account for you. So every month set aside 25, 50, 75 dollars; whatever is comfortable for you and put that right into your vacations savings account. Overtime you'll be able to set up a lot of money for you to be able to go.
Then take a look at your credit cards and think about how you might be able to use credit card points to be able to budget for your family vacation. A lot of credit cards have flexible points that you can use for hotels or air fare or different things like that and that's another way to save as well.