My next family vacation is probably going to be a nice trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota. We have been there once before, and absolutely loved the scenery and culture of the people we got to meet out there. Like any trip, it will take money to do right. One of the biggest mistakes families make is forgetting to plan on spending money while they are on vacation. Even though you can do the Black Hills on a budget, you still have to open your wallet if you really want to enjoy yourself.
How does one go about preparing for a vacation like this? For starters, six months prior, I decided to put $200 per month away in a special account that we keep just for vacations. This way, it actually earned some small interest (okay, very small) and was protected from our other expenses. When you have it saved separately, you can look at it every day and see how much more you need, or don’t need, for your vacation. I found that within a few months, I had $1200 sitting in the account for our vacation. This isn’t a special method really, but it does force you to look at your savings each month and see where you stand.
Another good way to save for a vacation is to change where your money goes for a week. For example, if you usually stop at McDonald’s and order $5.00 worth of food every morning for breakfast, make a promise that this week you’ll put that money into your account and take a cheaper snack to work. If you do something new each week, you don’t even notice you are missing anything AND you quickly add up the dollars!
Saving money on a vacation is easier than ever with sites like hotels.com and hotwire.com. Look at them for the best deals on hotels, and some of them even let you name your own price. Why not?
Vacations are meant to be fun, so be sure you don’t skimp. If there is a fun park to go to but it costs $20, spend the $20. You’ll not regret it in the end. Figure things into your vacation budget, and you’ll be just fine!