How to Start Saving for Your Summer Vacation

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Summer VacationOne of the great traditions is the summer vacation. The kids are out of school, and many parents have saved up vacation days or flex time that can be used to go on vacation.

Unfortunately, a summer vacation can get a little expensive. Whether you drive or fly, you need to come up with the funds to pay for your excursion. You shouldn’t go into debt for your summer vacation, though. You should come up with a plan to save up enough money for a summer vacation.

What Do You Want to Do?

Your first step is to figure out where you want to go, and what you want to do. You also need to decide how you’re going to get there. For a larger family, it is sometimes more cost-efficient to go on a road trip.

No matter what you decide, though, you need to estimate the costs. Research vacation packages and airfare online. If you are going on a road trip, AAA has a calculator that can help you estimate fuel costs for your car, depending on the gas prices in the areas you plan to travel.

Consider food, lodging, and other costs that you might incur as you get ready to go on vacation. When my family took a three-week road trip while I was growing up, my parents had to factor in the cost of doing laundry on top of other costs.

Put together a list of what needs to happen, as well as a list of things you can do to reduce your costs. Look for discounts on everything from admissions to attractions to hotels. Consider that you can save by bringing some of your own food, or by getting accommodations with cooking facilities (and then shopping at a local grocery).

Now that you know how much you will need to go on vacation, it’s time to create a savings plan.

Can You Save Enough for Your Summer Vacation?

You will need to develop a short-term savings plan if you want to save for a summer vacation. Once you know how much it will cost, you need to divide the total cost by how long you have to save until you need to head out the door.

If you figure that your vacation will cost $2,000, and you have four months, you will need to save $500 a month to make it happen. For those who want to go on a bigger vacation, it might make sense to keep this year’s “vacation” to camping and other inexpensive, short-term trips and then save up for a year. I know a family that goes on a big vacation every other summer. In between, they save up for 24 months to get the money needed.

Determine the time frame that makes sense for you, and then get everyone involved in the savings effort. Many children are happy to contribute a portion of their earnings/allowance to help fund the trip. Keep the money in a high-yield savings account to help the money grow a little faster. You can talk abut cutting back on unnecessary expenses to make the vacation happen, or you can look at ways to earn extra money.

No matter how you do it, saving up for a summer vacation can be a fun way to get the whole family involved in a shared financial goal.

What are your tips for planning and saving up for a summer vacation?

(Photo: Ken_Mayer)

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “How to Start Saving for Your Summer Vacation”

  1. Shafi says:

    A couple of years ago, we went to Disney World. Every morning we would listen to the sales pitch of the resort areas on the premises. For us it was educational. However, after one hour of sitting there listening, they would gives 4 tickets to go inside Disney. We saved at the time more than $280 a day in tickets.

    We stayed in a hotel for more than a week. It was $28 a night plus tax with continental breakfast included.

  2. SLS says:

    Instead of going on one large vacation, my partner and I like to do briefer road trips to places about 2-4 hours away every couple of months for 2-3 days each. I try to take advantage of groupon/ living social/ deals for hotels in the areas we like. I try to make sure there’s a fridge and micro in the room so we can bring some food in a cooler to cut down on eating out. And I try to find coupons and deals for events and restaurants in the areas we’re visiting as well.

    I have a specific “travel savings” account that I add to little by little as well, in addition to my regular savings account and emergency fund.

  3. admiral58 says:

    Vacations are a luxury. Save for retirement, education, and emergencies, and take small vacations

  4. Shirley says:

    When the kids were young we would take road trips each summer in a van outfitted to sleep 2 adults and 2 children and store our food and cooking tools. We slept in the van and cooked our meals in a different campground every night while traveling wherever the mood directed. We used laundromats and bought perishable foods along the way.

    These were wonderfully fun-filled, inexpensive and educational trips that usually lasted for two weeks and they were great family times that created both fond and hilarious memories that are still often mentioned now, 40+ years later.

  5. We save money each month throughout the year in a vacation fund. This allows us to not to have to worry about where the funds will come from. We also look for ways to stretch the money like staying at a hotel that offers breakfast for free.

  6. We vacation local and start saving for the next summer as soon as we get back from this year’s trip. This makes it so we don’t have to save a lot in a short period of time. We also keep in mind that the place we sleep will most likely not be the place we will spend the majority of our time. If we end up in a really small hotel room that is fine since it will give us more flexibility in choosing the other things we do. Also, always remember to bring a cooler for beverages so you don’t have to purchase on the go.

  7. Guest1 says:

    These are excellent ideas/suggestions. Thanks for sharing everyone!

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