If summer isn’t the time of the year you like to travel because beaches are overcrowded, highways are under construction and hotel rooms are expensive then maybe fall is your time to get away with the family.
Labour Day is approaching and what better time to pack up the kids and take a great family vacation before everyone goes back to school. If you’re planning a little getaway here are six steps to help plan your next family vacation:
Set a budget per person
This is similar to setting a weekly spending budget instead of a monthly one. It’s easier to track expenses over a smaller time frame i.e. 7 days than it is to control spending over a large period of time i.e. 30 days.
If you’re a family of four decide how much it will cost for each person to take the vacation and then you can add up all the little expenses and figure out if your overall cost fits into your budget. Don’t forget to factor in an additional 10% for miscellaneous expenses per person which can be an extra snack or souvenir.
Decide on a destination everyone will love
Disneyland is a great family destination, but do your kids really want to go there? Part of the fun in planning a family vacation is getting the family involved. Sit down with your kids and ask them where they would like to go. Give them a few days to search online and ask their friends. Then call a family meeting and decide on a vacation destination as a family.
If you want to be extra savvy (and take the workload off yourself) give your kids some vacation parameters such as a destination within a certain number of miles from your home or within a certain budget. Kids are always online, it’s time they did something productive.
Choose a mode of transportation
Flying may be the shortest option when planning a family vacation, but it’s also probably the most expensive. If you can bare being the car with your family for a few hours then taking a road trip as oppose to booking flights may be more economical.
Just remember to set expectations so you don’t hear a lot of “Are we there yet?” and make sure your kids have a lot of activities to keep them calm and quiet. You can even give them duties such as being co-pilot and navigating the directions or keeping track of gas stations and rest stops for fill-ups and breaks.
Plan as much as you can ahead of time
Planning both your daily activities and your meals ahead of time is a real money saver. Maybe you cook a few nights and go out the others. Searching online for local grocery stores and family friendly restaurants will save a ton of money and time because you can plan where you’ll be eating and how much you’ll be spending.
If you are hitting up a theme park plan where you and your kids want to go before you leave. It saves time and you won’t find yourself wandering around aimlessly while everyone decides what they want to see and where they want to go.
One thing to keep in mind is you have to accept the fact you can’t do it all. Family vacations are a lot of fun, but they also come with both budget and time restrictions. That’s why it’s a good idea to plan ahead and set realistic expectations before you leave.
Tell us all about your family vacation this year – where are you going? What are you planning to do? How much is it costing?