10 Tips to Help You Plan a Budget-Friendly Vacation


Last Updated: July 22nd, 2022



Do your thoughts about taking your family on vacation automatically trigger feelings about your current debt status? Do you want to treat your family to a quality getaway without risking putting yourself further in debt? If so, you are not alone. Consumer debt reached approximately $4 trillion at the end of 2018, with the average debt being roughly $12,000 per capita. This means that mounting debt is a factor for many American families.

The cost of taking the family on vacation can add a considerable amount to the debt level of American families. According to NYU, 30 percent of families spend an average of $2,000 to $5,000 on family travel. This statistic shows that the fear of family vacations adding to the debt is genuine for many Americans. Here are ten tips to help you plan a budget-friendly family vacation.

People jumping for joy on a beach

1. Decide on a family-friendly destination

When deciding on a vacation experience for your family, begin by narrowing down your vacation to a specific destination. This process begins by compiling a list of potential destinations that would be ideal for family travel. Do your research on the family-friendliness of the destination and discuss each option with your loved ones.

2. Avoid peak travel seasons

When you book a vacation during the peak travel seasons (spring break, summer vacation, winter break), you can expect to pay the premium across the board for everything from car rentals to lodging. Avoiding these times will yield significant savings on your family vacation.

3. Establish a vacation budget

Plan ahead by establishing budget goals for your trip. Decide how much you need to save and how long it will take. Create a weekly or monthly saving plan to cover your trip expenses.

4. Save by planning short trips

You can save a ton of money by planning short trips that are packed with fun and excitement. Spending an action-packed weekend can be just as entertaining as spending a full week if you properly plan all aspects of your trip.

5. Look for great deals

Hunt for the best deals you can find on luxury destinations, and take your family on a dream vacation for less than you thought you could. You can get a cheap package on a vacation to an exotic destination by looking for a great deal.

6. Get group discounts

There is strength in numbers. You can increase the power of your dollar by planning a group vacation with other families. Travel agencies, resorts, and cruise lines often offer discounts for groups.

7. Get creative with lodging options

Thinking outside of the box can yield tremendous benefits when planning for your lodging accommodations. Resorts, bed-and-breakfast locations, and the like, may give the enriching, yet cost-efficient options for the lodging you seek.

8. Manage your family’s expectations

When traveling, family members can be quite demanding. If you are not careful, meeting the numerous minor demands and requests of your family can end up sending you way over your proposed budget. Avoid this by discussing exactly what is in the plan before leaving for your trip.

9. Plan your activities ahead of your trip

Plan plenty of fun activities and get your family’s input during the planning process. This will help create a dynamic experience without the need for excessive spending. This will also help to manage your family's expectations. By planning, you can make sure your family gets a chance to see the best that the destination has to offer.

10. Be flexible

Deals will often come in unexpected ways. You may be able to secure tickets at an unbelievably low price or pay half off on some other aspect of your vacation if you are willing to be a bit flexible. Flexibility may mean that you are willing to take your trip on a specific date determined by the deal provider.

Many deals are not frequently offered to the public, but with a little inquiring, you may be surprised what you can secure with a few friendly questions. Find out if there are any special time-sensitive rates when planning your trip.

The bottom line

Don’t let the fear of mounting debt keep your family from enjoying a luxurious vacation in the destination of your choice. Careful budgeting and creative planning can provide the perfect opportunity for your family to set sail on the vacation you all deserve.

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