I’m sure you’ve seen commercials for those family cruise lines, theme parks, etc. I see those and think, “Who has the money to do that?” Ok, I know plenty of people do. But for me and my family, we might be able to afford a vacation like that once every few years. I don’t know about you, but I need a getaway a little more often than that!
Vacations don’t have to be a week or two long. Although I sure wish they all were! My family and I are big fans of the mini-vacation. Mini-vacations are something we try to budget for at least twice a year. We take a 3 or 4 day long weekend and head to the coast or the city. These are vacations where we drive instead of fly. I plan ahead and watch deal sites for the best possible prices for our hotel and / or vacation rental. Sometimes, a vacation home rental can be significantly cheaper than a hotel, so shop around.
Find Free and Discounted Activities
Depending on your destination, you may have some great free entertainment like beach / water activities, kite flying, etc. But there may be some things you need to pay for like aquariums, zoos, museums and the like. If I have said it once, I’ll say it again. Check out their websites in advance. Follow them on social networks. It’s amazing how many coupons, pre-pay discounts for tickets, etc. you can find on the internet.
Plan Ahead for Food and Spending
Plan ahead for food options too if you can. We try to eat at least one meal a day at the house or hotel, one inexpensive meal out on the go, and one nice sit down meal each day. We bring snack foods from home to avoid buying costly alternatives while out and about. This is not to say that we plan everything and never act spontaneously! But when you are trying to stick to a budget, planning to an extent is required.
Set a budget for other spending. Let your children know in advance how much they get for spending cash while on your trip, and don’t give in. Set your spending cash in advance as well. I know when we hit the outlet malls I have “X” amount of cash to spend, no matter how great the deals are.
All this talk of vacations really has got me anxious to start planning (and saving) for my next one! How about you?
Ricki Pritchett is a wife, mama, and full time corporate workin’ woman. She has a passion for writing, crafting, nail polish, and good microbrews. She is also the designer and owner of The Rogue Baby and a contributor to the CareOne Debt Relief Services blog, a provider of debt consolidation in Pennsylvania.