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Family Travel Planning Made Easier

Save it for a Sunny Day. Pain Free Ways to Build Your Vacation Budget.

As soon as they get their first piggy bank, kids learn that saving is not as fun as spending. Where did that nickel go? Mom and dad know the feeling too. But there’s often no greater incentive than the promise of a family getaway to make that coin drop feel a little more magical. Let’s look at a few easy ways your family can save in small steps towards big family fun.


Cash in on your calendar

Stashing a little away throughout the calendar year can be a simple way to save. We have told you about the 365 Day Money Saving Challenge, where you start by saving a penny on day one, two pennies on day two, three pennies on day three and so on. By day three-hundred-and-sixty-five, when you add $3.65, you will have saved nearly $700. Another fun approach is the 52-Week Savings Plan. In this plan, you start week one by saving $1 and adding a dollar to that amount every week. By week fifty-two, when you add the final $52 dollars, you will have saved $1,378. Alternatively, the Monday to Sunday plan prescribes the following formula: Mondays save $1, Tuesdays $2. Wednesdays $3, Thursdays $4, Friday $5, Saturday $6, Sunday $7. By the end of a year you will have saved $1,456. Make these kinds of saving plans a family challenge and instill daily habits that can last a lifetime.


Coffee coinage

It’s the small sacrifices we make that can add up to bigger rewards. Think about that four-buck coffee you might buy on your way to work. If there are two-hundred-sixty work days in a year, that equates to over $1,000 dollars you could put towards a family trip. Next time you are magnetically drawn to that drive-through, seek out your local roaster instead. One pound of good beans can pay for itself after just a few cups.


Walk the walk

Isn’t it funny that we say want to get more exercise but will pay higher parking to avoid walking a few more steps? Think about that heated parking garage, so tempting to pull into when you’re running a little late. Sure, it can save you time, but your car is the only one who truly gets to enjoy every minute. Is there a surface lot a few blocks away you could use for less, or better yet, a side street nearby with free parking? If you typically pay for parking every day, try going without it for a month, and then a season, and see how much you can save. Or leave the car at home entirely and opt for the bus or your bike. You’ll set a great example of fitness and sustainability for your family, and might earn a good pat on the back at the dinner table. “What did you do today? I saved $10 for our trip by walking a few more blocks.”


Stop primping away your pennies

As parents, we have earned every bit of pampering we can get, but are we paying more than we need to for self care? Perhaps there are some services we auto-schedule more out of habit then need. Remember, as good as you feel coming out of a salon, nothing tops the feeling of being on vacation. Can you master a home manicure or men’s haircut for a while? Can you and your partner learn the art of a good sports massage? Treat yourself to a salon service once you’re at your destination, and until then, see what services you might be able to tackle with your own hands.


Selling for your siesta

The thing about kids is, they are always outgrowing something. Why not sell a few of their unused items on eBay or a local Buy-Sell-Trade Facebook Group and teach them the value of cast-off goods? One Saturday a month, make it a family game to find things that are no longer of use in your home. You may be surprised at what people will buy and it truly is a lesson in recycling. Set up a dedicated PayPal account for your family travel and watch your savings grow.


Put a face on your fundraising

When you’re planning your next trip, think of vacations that are more the dream of one particular family member than that of the whole group. Has Ella always wanted to visit the Eiffel Tower? Make your trip to Paris about her, and make sure your circle knows it. “We are saving to take Ella to Paris” has a more inspiring ring than “We are saving for a family trip to Paris.” Set up an online fundraising campaign (they are not just for hardship) and teach your children how to spread the word. One great option is What is on Ella’s Paris bucket list? Put it in writing and share it with your community. Relatives might love the ease of helping her dream come true at the mere click of a button.


Delayed Giftification

They say we’re living in an “experience economy” – one where younger generations value experiences over possessions. With that in mind, let’s revisit an idea we shared in 2017. Instead of wrapping up the latest gadget for your child’s next birthday, why not wrap up a picture of an activity you know you’ll be buying them on your next trip? Maybe that means your child won’t get the latest video game or the latest fashion must-have, but they will get a day of zip-lining through the forest, a surfing lesson on the beach or a horseback ride at the grand canyon.

Stand up paddleboarding in Door County, WI on Lake Michigan

Saving, for travel or otherwise, should be a daily ritual. Making that ritual fun for your family builds excitement for your trip and reinforces the value of time well spent (in more ways than one). What travel saving methods work for your family? Tell us in the comments below.


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