Family vacations are not only a great way to escape the daily grind, but they are also a wonderful opportunity to create memories that can last a lifetime.
However, they can also be expensive. But with a little bit of planning and budgeting, you can enjoy a summer vacation everyone won’t soon forget.
The key to memorable summer vacations is to have unique experiences. This doesn’t mean you need to pack up the family and jump on a plane to the hottest new destination. You just need to find a destination or activity you and your family haven’t done in the past.
Before you book anything, the first step is to look at your budget and decide how much you’re comfortable spending. There is no right or wrong answer here, although financial planners will tell you to budget between five to 10 percent of your annual income. However, it is very much a personal decision. Some families choose to save a little each month during the course of the year, and others borrow or use credit and then take the year to pay back. Whatever your comfort level is, find it and stick to it.
Your budget should include money for all of the basics – accommodation, food and transportation – but you should also set aside a portion for unexpected expenses, such as the t-shirt or that must have lamp from wherever your travels take you.
With your budget in place, determine how long you would like to be away. Remember that just because you have two weeks off, it doesn’t mean you have to be away for the entire time. Build in some home time at the end to get your house back in order. There is nothing worse than returning to work, more tired than when you left.
With your budget and an idea of how long you would like to be away, it is time to start filling those days with memories.
If you are the type of person who enjoys planning, then you will probably enjoy creating an itinerary full of fun and surprises. If not, you can find vacations with every detail planned down to the minute.
Three-day cruises or resort getaways are a great option for those who want to leave the planning to others. Cruise companies have been offering three-day trips for many years now. They are not only a great way to have an inexpensive vacation, but they are also good to determine if cruising is the type of vacation suited for you and your family.
Look for last minute bookings. If you’re the planning type then you probably already know the internet is your best friend. Online you will be able to research where you want to go, and avoid the pitfalls by reading reviews of those who have been. As with any online purchase, do your research, read the fine print and know what exactly it is you’re committing to buy.
Finally, camping is a wonderful option for an affordable family vacation. The United States is full of national and regional parks offering an overload of Mother Nature for you to discover. Don’t have the equipment or budget to buy it? There are a number of outfitters who rent everything you could possibly need to go from roughing it to being as comfortable as home.
Your family vacation doesn’t need to break the bank. With some planning, research and a little creativity you can give your family memories they will be talking about till next year.