More than a third of Americans were planning to take a vacation more than 50 miles away from home involving more than 2 immediate family members. The survey conducted by the American Automobile Association demonstrates that Americans are continuing to prioritize safe family vacationing, taking the time and effort to plan and save up for such a special getaway. Unfortunately, a lot of families take a substantial financial hit when it comes to paying for these holidays, with as many as 74% of respondents on a 2017 LearnVest Money Habits and Confessions Survey stating they have gone into debt of more than $1,100 due to a vacation.
Half-way through 2017 it was already predicted that travel and vacationing will cost substantially more in 2018. Many of these predictions have already materialized with both airfare and hotel prices increasing by approximately 3.5% while the U.S Passport execution increased by $10 on 2 April this year. This fee adjustment will see the overall cost for a U.S passport increase to $115 for children 16 and younger and $145 for adults – a small yet notable increase that needs to be compensated for in the family vacationing budget.
Save in advance
Allow yourself as much time as possible to save for your family vacation, taking into account possible price hikes due to inflation. While the average vacation cost for a family of 4 amounted to approximately $4.580 during 2014, holidaymakers can expect to add a minimum of about $350 to the same vacation during 2018 – amounting to about $4, 930. Over a 6-month period, you would have to save $821 a month to reach the total required. If, however, you allow yourself an entire year to save, you will only need to save $410 a month – which in reality will enable you to save over and above your original target. If you have doubts as to whether you can save enough money in the allotted period of time you can always consider making use of personal finance options to boost your budget for your next family vacation, taking into consideration the repayments that you will now have to compensate for.
How to budget during your vacation
Prepay for as much as possible as spender’s remorse has the ability to turn even the most memorable vacation sour afterward. Depending on where you are vacationing and what your family’s spending habits are, you might consider making use of a physical envelope system for your holiday. Such a system allows you to carry all our cash with, allowing you to only spend what you have. When traveling overseas you can make use of ATMs that will help you save on foreign exchange charges. Unfortunately, the envelope system is not always viable, especially if you are planning to holiday somewhere that may not leave you feeling entirely safe carrying around a substantial amount of cash.
Empower your children and make use of apps
By making use of travel applications such as Trail Wallet (a free app available for Apple products) you will be able to stick to a travel budget easily while keeping track of your daily expenses. When it comes to the children, arm them each with a prepaid card with a set amount of money on that they can spend on items and activities of their choice. Children are generally more hesitant to spend their own money on garbage with such a system teaching them valuable budgeting skills to implement in the future.
Keep abreast of foreign exchange rates
If you are planning to holiday abroad it is imperative to stay abreast of foreign exchange rates. The U.S dollar has been fluctuating against strong currencies like the British Pound the entire year. The best exchange rate to date was recorded at 0.7402 on 01 January 2018 with the worst being 0.6973 on 16 April 2018. What may seem like a negligible difference can add up to substantial amounts in terms of a holiday budget. Regardless of where you plan to travel abroad, make sure you keep a close eye on possible changes in the exchange rate and set (and stick to) a budget to the best of your ability.
While everyone would like to believe that they can pull off a perfect family vacation chances are that one or two minor mishaps will occur along the way. The important thing is to plan sufficiently to cover all your bases, especially the financial aspects, allowing yourself to deal with any unforeseen circumstances swiftly. Even if your vacation does not play out exactly as planned the memories made by spending quality time with your family will far outlive any possible distractions and complications.
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