Planning and Budgeting a Family Summer Vacation

Planning and budgeting are definitely the keywords to having a successful family summer vacation. During times when money has been tight it can be hard to wrap my mind around actually being able to take a vacation. We are lucky enough to have family to visit that live a few steps away from the beach…and to actually live close to the beach ourselves.

Taking drives up the coast and stopping anywhere that we want to explore a new beach or just drive has been the closest thing to a vacation that we have had lately. Our last trip up the coast was to Santa Barbara which is one of the towns that Brett and I just adore! It is so beautiful and relaxing. Even if we don’t stay the night–a day trip is all the fix we need to make us feel like we “got away.”

I remember as a child we would take road trips to destinations thousands of miles away. We took a plane maybe once or twice–it was always by car. As a child I never thought about the planning and the saving that my parents had to do in order for us to have a great summer vacation.

Since budgeting and planning are both one of my weaknesses I decided to search for some ways to learn how to budget for a vacation (in case we get to take one!). What I found was an excellent article that covers everything you need to know about vacation budgeting. My family and I have sacrificed a lot and we deserve to take a vacation. Vacations are times to rejuvenate, relax and enjoy each other without the distractions of every day life.

It all starts with deciding what you really want and planning for savings…

What I really want is at least three days where my family and I can enjoy each other. My ideal vacation would be camping in a lodge near a lake. For my in-laws 40th anniversary we stayed at Cypress Springs Lake in Texas and I loved it! The planning part should be done at least 6-8 months in advance. We probable wouldn’t need to worry about plane tickets because we live driving distance away from national parks.

I found this helpful planning chart on a credit counseling site. It covers all the expenses of a great family vacation; transportation, lodging, food, and activities. This was a perfect find because I need things laid out in an orderly way.

The most important thing about taking a family vacation is not going into debt over it or slacking on other monetary responsibilities in order to travel. It was really interesting that I found this information on a credit counseling website because I have actually used credit counseling before, but never thought about using them for tips on planning a vacation. It makes sense though because when you are free of debt it makes it a whole lot easier to budget and plan with a clear mind.

Hopefully, my family and I will be able to take a vacation really soon. But for now we will just enjoy the amazingly free beaches that we are blessed to live near. Take our walks through the wildlife preserve and continue to take our drives up (or down) the coast.

I would love to hear some of the ways that you save money or plan for a family vacation that doesn’t “break the bank”!