How to take a Vacation on a Budget

By April 15, 2009Debt, Your Credit

So you want to take a vacation but simply don’t feel that you can afford it? Then look to take a vacation under a budget. Here are some tips to help you take that long wanted vacation. A dream vacation can be planned for and much more enjoyable when prepared for properly. With planning your vacation can be a dream come true.

First, you must decide what kind of vacation you want to take. If you want to go skiing in the Alps, then start by taking some skiing lessons to prepare for that. You are working for your goal of a vacation in the Alps by giving yourself a bit of what you have to look forward to. This is true for any major vacation that you want to take. For example, if you want to go to Paris, then start by learning French. This helps you stay focused on your goal and can be very cost effective.

Secondly, start to save money each paycheck towards your vacation goal. Setup a savings account with a title of your vacation dream. For example, name the account CRUISE and each paycheck deposit money into that account. Each time you make a deposit or check the balance on the account you will be reminded what you’re saving that money for and thus be more inclined to leave it alone.

Third, do not use credit for your vacation. By doing this your taking a splurge that technically you can’t afford and could cause you more financial problems. These financial problems may taint your vacation and then instead of having great memories from a great vacation, you have a bad taste in your mouth. “I should not have taken that vacation, look where we are today” is often a cry from someone who did not properly prepare.

Fourth, save money today for your dream vacation. For example, if you have a plan on going out with friends to Dinner and a Movie you can save money and still have the same type of experience. By the time you hire a babysitter, go to dinner and then a movie, you could easily spend $100 – $200. But if your family and your friends family get together, you can save quite a bit. Start by hiring a common babysitter at one home for both families. Then at the other home, prepare a dinner party. Cook a nice dinner together and spend the evening watching a movie from your DVD collection (or rent one from the local video store). Instead of spending $100-$200 dollars, you will probably only spend around $50 total. The memories could be better and thus the experience stronger with your friends. Once you have saved the money. Take what you normally would have spent and put it into your “CRUISE” account.

Fifth, decide what is important to you. Changing your vacation plans or preparing for emergencies is not uncommon. But I know many families that do both every month. They have been putting money into their “nest-egg” account so they have saved for any emergency. Currently, they have 6 months worth of living expenses in the account. This means that they could live on the money in the savings account for 6 months without any additional income. They are also saving for a vacation (actually more than one) because they want to have some special memories with their children. They are putting money away (a little more than the other) for a trip to Disneyworld. Their children are very young and would not remember the trip now, but when the kids are between 8-12 years old, they want to take that trip so the kids can remember everything. They are also saving for a trip to Australia. Since that trip is planned with just the husband and wife, they are putting a smaller amount away for that trip. They figure that if they can save enough to take the kids before they leave home, great, but if not they have saved the money so that they can enjoy the trip with the kids, they will do share the experience.

This does not mean that they are not doing anything between those plans, it means that they have those two major goals in mind. Each year they take a family vacation and do so by taking a cost effective vacation. This year may be camping, next year a trip to see family, it just all depends on what the needs of the family are at the time. So preparing a vacation can not only be fun but a good learning experience for your family.

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