Thinking about a family vacation is fun!
Thinking about our family vacation budget is often NOT not as fun.
I would like to change your thinking about vacation budgets.
In reality, one of the very first things you should think about when planning a family vacation IS your budget. By doing so, it will help you in SO many ways...
1. Having a Family Vacation Budget saves you Time - These days, time is often far more precious than money. Having a set budget helps you stay focus and make informed, accurate decisions. Procrastination can be costly, especially when it comes to rising airfares. Knowing exactly what you can and cannot afford will save you hours of fruitless searching online for that unrealistic vacation.
2. Budgets Save your Travel Agent Time too - Yes, having a good travel agent on your side is VERY important to getting the most out of your vacation budget. Why you ask? - Good agents know all the hidden costs and pitfalls that novice travel planners fail to take into consideration. They can help coach you through all your expenditures and help you to stay on point. They have rates and contacts that cannot be found online. They can help you set up an affordable vacation payment plan while avoiding costly credit card interest. Most importantly, they can save you a great deal of frustration, worry and oh yes - Time. (refer back to step one). A good travel agent is not in just to make a quick sale. A good Travel agent wants to be your trusted partner helping you get the most vacation value out of every dollar you spend each and every year.
3. Having a Budget Will Help You Set Priorities - Often Vacation "wish lists" exceed our budget. Compromises must be made. Making the right compromises is what is important to your family's vacation experience and enjoyment. If it is your child's wish to swim with the dolphins, then perhaps shaving one day off of your stay or changing the view from your hotel window will make your child's dream a reality. A good travel agent can help with these types of decisions (refer back to step 2)
4. Vacation Budgets help to Relieve Stress - One of the main reasons we all take vacations in the first place is to relax and escape from stress. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to relax and actually ENJOY your vacation with peace of mind even after you return home? Do you want to spend your valuable vacation time worrying every time you reach into your pocket? Do you really want to return home and dread having to face opening that credit card bill knowing that it's going to be bad...REALLY bad? Setting a travel budget will help to avoid this type of anxiety.
5. A Vacation Budget Is a Great Example To Set For Your Kids - We parents all want to raise financially responsible offspring. Vacation planning and budgeting is one of those wonderful teaching moments that give parents the opportunity to lead by example. Trying to teach older kids and teens how to budget and balance a household may be overwhelming. Teaching kids how to save and allocate spending for your family for just one week while on vacation is a bit easier. Giving the kids a voice in the decision making for how the family spends their vacation dollars can be very empowering for all.
As busy, hard working parents, we always want to make every penny we spend count. This is especially true when it comes to family vacations. A family vacation is not just about a week at the beach or theme park. It's an investment in your child's character and it's about creating memories that will stick with them for a lifetime. Invest wisely!