Are you financially ready for family vacations? Not a question that we usually ask ourselves, but maybe we should. Depending on where you are traveling, how you plan on getting there, and how many people are in your family, taking a family vacation could cost a substantial amount. And if you don’t have the extra money in savings, traveling with your family may not seem like an option. Here are some of the best ways to budget your money and save for vacation.
This post is sponsored by CreditRepair.com. All opinions are mine alone and are honestly conveyed.
With so many every day expenses, how do you fit in saving money for travel and budgeting for vacation? Just like any other aspect of your budget, you must carefully plan and maintain financial discipline. Being able to afford vacations and more expensive items doesn’t just happen by accident. So instead of stressing out over how you are going to spend your relaxing vacation, utilize these tips to make it easy!
Vacation savings account
You may have a savings account, but do you have one specifically for travel? Because vacations can be pretty expensive, especially when you are going with your entire family, it is definitely an expense that you should budget for each month. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have a separate savings account that you don’t pay other bills from. As with any other type of savings, it is easier to not spend money that you don’t have—either as cash, or in your regular checking or savings account. So, if you can set up an automatic deposit into a separate account, that would be ideal. If taking family vacations is a priority for you, build it into your budget just as you would any other monthly expense.
Budget Your Trip
Not all vacations are created equal. Some vacations may be a lot more expensive due to airfare, event tickets, or if it is peak season for your destination. Not every vacation that you takes needs to be an expensive, luxury vacation. But in order to be able to afford those bucket list vacations, you will need to plan for them. And in planning for them, you may need to have a couple of years of low-key, less expensive vacations. Taking mini vacations, off-season trips, or just searching out some free or cheap fun, can be fun alternatives to regular vacations while you find ways to relax and save money.
Also make sure that you are not utilizing credit cards to finance vacations, unless you have a plan to pay those charges off. But, what you don’t want to do is take a vacation that you actually can’t afford and go into debt because of it. There may be travel benefits that you want to take advantage of—and that might even save you money!
Get a credit card with travel rewards
Do you have a credit card that pays you back when you use it? There are several credit cards that offer rewards and points—several that offer rewards and money back on travel specifically. So, it definitely makes sense to find a credit card that can help you pay for your family vacations!
Getting the right credit card is important. Some cards offer better benefits than others. Don’t know where to start? Here are a few credit cards that offer great travel rewards**:
Marriot Bonvoy Business Card—if you are a small business owner, it might make sense for you to take a look at using a business travel rewards credit card each month (to cover expenses which you pay off in full each billing cycle) to earn some free travel within the Marriot hotel chain. Earn 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points. After you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.† ANNUAL FEE: $125
Marriot Bonvoy Boundless Card—even if you aren’t a small business owner, you can still take advantage of a travel rewards from Marriot on typical purchases that you make each month. Earn three free nights rewards after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening (each award valued up to $35,000 points).† ANNUAL FEE: $95
Chase Sapphire Preferred—if you don’t want to be limited to one hotel chain in particular, this card might be the one for you. Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening— that’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.† ANNUAL FEE: $95
Need help cleaning up your credit so you can qualify for a travel rewards credit card?
Is your credit not at the point that you can qualify for a new credit card? You may want to check out CreditRepair.com and see if they can help you get your credit cleaned up and increase your score. While I don’t want to advocate for having a lot of credit cards, you may find it beneficial to book reservations for your next vacation—hotel, airline tickets, etc.—if you have a credit card in good standing that you can utilize and earn rewards. Again, any time you use a credit card, you should view it as you would cash—and have a plan to pay it off monthly.
Travel budget worksheet
As you are planning your vacation, it is helpful to know exactly how much money you will need. Using a travel budget worksheet can help you to plan out and budget for the expenses that you will incur. So as you start planning, if you can get airline tickets a few hundred dollars cheaper than you budgeted for, you may be able to upgrade your hotel, get a few more souvenirs, or just have that extra money at the end of your trip to go towards your next adventure!
It is also very easy to see how your budgeting is working. Is the vacation you want turning out to be way more than you expected? Are you needing to shuffle your budget around to accommodate some items that are costing more than you thought?
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Sometimes, even all of the diligent budgeting in the world can’t help you to afford the vacation that you really, really want to take with your family. That dream vacation may take a few years to save up for… Remember, not every vacation needs to cost you thousands of dollars and be a huge splurge. You can have fun and make memories taking smaller, less costly mini vacations, day trips, or even a staycation. The point of vacation is to go different places than you normally do, experience something new, relax, and have fun with your family—and that doesn’t mean that you have to go very far from home or spend very much at all!
So, if you are at a point that you want or need to take a low-key, less expensive vacay, you might want to check out some of these fun and budget friendly staycation ideas.
** These credit cards are personally used and recommended by the writers at Money Savvy Living. This is not a comprehensive list of all travel credit cards. Affiliate link.
† see full terms, conditions, and restrictions before applying for credit card