How to Plan a Vacation as a Family

Summer means many things.

School is out; the kids get to splash in the pool and go to summer camp. It is also the time when most families take a vacation.

Well, or they would like to.

The reality is you may dream of a vacation where you can spend your days relaxing on a beach or a porch in the mountains. But, the truth is you can’t go anywhere. Or can you?

Ask your family if they want to take a vacation, and my guess is yes.

If they want it, then they need to help pay for it.

No, I am not asking anyone to break open a piggy bank. Not at all.

You need to get your family involved in the planning and saving process. After all, if they want to do something fun, they should be involved!

There are some fun tricks you can use to get your kids to want to save as well.

When we took our kids to Disney a few years back, we were able to instill their help.

Even though they did not know Disney was happening when it was (we surprised them), they got in on the fun of saving to make it happen.

Show them the costs

Kids usually don’t know how much vacations cost. Show them!

Go to the site where they want to go and show them the price of the tickets, the hotel, airfare — everything it takes to make the trip happen.

Once they see the numbers, it helps them better understand that if they want to go, that it is going to cost money!

We do this often with our kids. They say they want to go somewhere (my youngest thinks a Disney cruise would be awesome).

I pull up the site and show them the exact cost per person.

They know that we can’t afford to go places — or that if they want to go, we have to save up for it.

Visualize the savings

As adults, we see numbers increase in our savings accounts.

We don’t need to see the coins or paper money to know we are working towards a goal.

Kids aren’t like that.

They need to see the money.

Get a jar and start adding your savings to it! Switch to a cash budget and put the savings into the pot!

If you budget $50 to dine out and skip it for the week — put the $50 into the jar.

Make coupon-clipping a family affair

If you use coupons or apps to save at the store, get the kids involved!

Have them search for and print the coupons you need.

Ask your teen to use their phone to add apps to save and ask them to

find the offers to save.

There is no reason mom and dad have to find the coupons or online offers when it comes to saving (because let’s face it – teens are better at tech than many of us).

Make cuts as a family

If your child wants to go on that dream vacation, it may mean making short-term sacrifices. They may have to forgo that big birthday party or not get to go out to dinner as often. It could even involve canceling a streaming service or app that they love.

Decide as a family where your priorities lie and what you are each willing to give up to find extra money to pay for the vacation.

Start doing odd jobs

Kids can make money too!

In the winter, they can shovel driveways.

Summer may be an opportunity to take care of the neighbor’s dog when they go on vacation. Get them involved in finding ways they can make money so they can add to the savings.

Have them find an affordable option

That fancy theme park may be the dream vacation, but the reality is that it is out of reach. Decide as a family where you can go instead.

Want to do a theme park? Find a smaller one closer to home.

Looking to spend time on a beach? Maybe you can go to a local lake and rent a boat and get out on the water.

Some options will work within your budget limitations and make sure your kids understand that too.

Be reasonable

A vacation can be a lot of fun, but it should never cause you financial stress. Your family wants to enjoy the trip, so they should be involved in the planning and saving process.

–By Tracie Forbes


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