Tips for Family Vacation Planning, Part 2: Budgeting

Photo By Todd Kravos

Welcome back to my vacation planning series. Yesterday in Tips for Family Vacation Planning, Part 1: Deciding Where to Go, we looked at a few things to think about when deciding on the right destination for your family vacation. Today, it’s all about making sure we budget well for the trip.

Budgeting plays a vital role in making your vacation less stressful because you have a better idea of how much money your trip will cost and how much cash you should take with you.

Here is how I budget for my trips:

As with any budget, set up the categories in which you will be spending. I have listed below several to help get you started. In addition, I’ve included my Vacation Planning: Budgeting Chart for you to download if you wish.Budget Chart

The first three really don’t need much explanation; they are pretty straight forward, and you know how much they will cost before you leave home. However, don’t forget to write them down in your budget because they are part of your trip costs.

  • Hotel– Remember to check and see if there is are additional charges for high speed internet, valet parking, or other guests services that might be of interest to you.
  • Airline Tickets (if flying)
  • Car Rental (if applicable)
  • Gas – If you are taking a road trip try to determine an approximate number of miles you will be driving so you can get an idea of how many fill ups you might have on your trip – going, coming and at your destination.
  • Attractions, Amusement Parks & Entertainment– Most large attractions and parks can be found on-line, and you can usually find ticket prices on their websites, or by calling. Sometimes there are additional costs once you get into the gate, so double check and see if those costs are also listed. In addition, some places require a fee to park your car, so allow a little extra for that.
  • Meals & Snacks– This may be a little tricky. However, by determining whether you are going to eat fast food at lunch and at a nice restaurant for dinner, for example, will help you make an educated guess. Also, don’t forget to check and see if the hotel where you are staying provides a continental breakfast, a breakfast that will be added to your hotel bill, or no breakfast at all. Remember, too, that in most amusement parks, food is available, but it is usually very expensive.
  • Souvenirs– I find that the best way to handle souvenirs is to set a dollar amount for each person and stick to it.
  • Extra Cash for Emergency– You never know when an emergency is going to arise and you need cash to cover it. Put aside a little extra cash for emergencies, but try not to touch it for anything else on your trip.

Of course, there is no way anyone can budget to the dollar every expense for their trip. Nevertheless, if you compile a list of any expenses that you can foresee, even if some are only estimates, it will help give a better idea of how much your trip will cost and how much you should take along. Happy budgeting!

The next part in this series is Tips for Family Vacation Planning, Part 3: Don’t forget to take… In this segment, I will be listing a few things that you might not think about taking on your trip, but might wish that you had. You’ll also find a packing checklist available for you to download and print.

This post is linked to We Are THAT Family for Works for Me Wednesday.

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Posted on April 28th, 2009 in Kids and Family | 8 Comments
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