Monday 25 December 2023

Smart family travel - How to save for your next big adventure

This is a collaborative post

Dreaming of your next family holiday but also looking to avoid any big expenses?

We hear you, moms! As difficult as it may seem to simultaneously enjoy a family vacation and maintain a budget, it’s actually doable with the right financial strategy. From timing your travel holiday during off-season to redeeming free rewards from the right institutions, you can save hundreds of dollars of travel costs without the stress of overspending. That said, there are many ways to save money even before the travel period itself. And you don’t have to make any major lifestyle changes to achieve your dream holiday either.

Here are some useful tips to help you reduce your expenditures when planning for your next big adventure.

1. Refrain From Satiating Impulsive Spending Habits

It can be tempting to dine out in that newly-opened restaurant with your family and friends, but if you’re short on cash, it may be better to hold off on that activity for the time being. Dining out—among many other recreational activities—is a sure fire way to drain your savings account, delaying your travel fund goals. If you’re set on taking a flight or cruise out of town, then it’s essential to curb your spending habits through as many avenues as possible.

That doesn’t only mean dining out less. It also means limiting your shopping fund and indulging in less-costly activities before your intended travel date. If possible, bring the rest of your family in on this saving habit too. Eat at home, pack lunch, and consider cooking budget-friendly meals for the rest of the family. 

Furthermore, if your or your family’s usual hobbies are costly, consider substituting recreational activities for less costly ones for the time being. This way, you’ll be able to save more money and be able to truly make the most of your trip when it happens.

2. Save Your Change

Every cent counts, and if you find yourself with extra money at the end of every bill cycle, you should save it and allocate it into your travel fund. If the temptation to spend is too strong, you can make it easier for you by setting up an automatic savings system with your bank account. This way, you can get a guaranteed portion of your income to your account. This can then be later used to fund your travels with your family.

In addition to that, you can also set specific saving goals at the end of every period to work towards, whether it’s a week or a month. You can set it as a shared family goal or even game-ify it with your children to see which family member gets to save the most every month. Saving enough is understandably difficult if your living pay check to pay check. However, if you’re raising a family, it’s incredibly important to have some money for a rainy day.

If you find it hard to stay in the loop of your financial health, you can use budget trackers using simple spreadsheets to see and evaluate your expense breakdown.

Related: Savings by Age

3. Shop Smarter

Let’s face it: you have life priorities to juggle outside your travel goal. Things like paying for utilities, healthcare, and grocery expenses don’t just disappear when you’re working towards building your travel budget.That said, it’s more than possible to adjust your spending to lessen the financial squeeze. 

For example, you can take advantage of credit card rewards to purchase your appliances and home furnishing. This can save you hundreds of dollars, assuming that you’re making timely payments on your credit card. Certain credit cards also come with many travel perks, such as free flight upgrades and hotel bookings. You can redeem these things and save a lot of money during the trip itself, all while living in luxury during your vacation.

Besides these reward systems, you can also be on the lookout for shop-specific promotions like discounts and cashback offers. This can save you a couple of hundred of dollars over time, thereby reducing the amount you’re spending for virtually the same thing. It’ll come with extra work on your part scouting for these discounts, but it’s generally worth it.

4. Sell Your Old Items

Do you have a bunch of old items accumulating space in your garage or attic? Have clothes wasting away in your closet? Is your child’s room filled with toys they no longer play with or use? Instead of letting them accumulate dust, consider selling these items to your local community. You can consider setting up a garage sale and displaying your items in your front yard for your neighbours to peruse.

Alternatively, you can consider putting up these items on online marketplaces like eBay or Facebook Marketplace. This way, you can reach a broader audience and potentially connect with interested buyers more quickly. Not only will you be earning a quick buck from these ventures that can fund your travels, but you can also do some spring cleaning to your home. Set aside a free weekend to display your belongings out in the open for purchase—your wallet may thank you for it!

Woman putting money into a piggy bank
Photo credit Sasun Bughdaryan via Unsplash

5. Develop a Travel Budget Goal

It’s important to be realistic about your financial health before embarking on a family adventure. Spending more than you can afford can set you back for months, if not years, so don’t even think of attempting to bite off more than you can chew.

One way to avoid compromising your finances is by setting a budget goal specific for travelling. Get a total cost ceiling of your trip and stick to it. Calculate a breakdown of how much you should spend for food per day, souvenirs, and other miscellaneous expenses during your trip.

Afterwards, inform everyone in the family about how much they’re allowed to spend on the trip. For kids, you can give them a fixed allowance to spend on things so that they’re not entirely deprived of fun. For parents, it’s important to balance having a good time on holiday and spending too much.

While many people enjoy going with the flow when planning a trip, families will need to have some semblance of an itinerary. This way, they won’t go overboard with their budget and will be able to easily bounce back to working on actual goals once the trip is over.

6. Make Early Bookings

Most frequent travellers already know this, but this can’t be reiterated enough: book your plans early. From flights to hotels, many travellers are rewarded with better prices when they make early bookings. In fact, you can save up to hundreds of dollars by just confirming your reservations a few months in advance. This is especially true if you book early during off-peak season or during weekdays, as it’s likely that demand is low for bookings and there won’t be much reason for hotels and airlines to drive prices up.

Of course, early bookings come with the risk of decreased flexibility, so be 100% sure that the dates you intend to travel are truly feasible for you and your family. Once you’re set, having early bookings can give you and your family ease of mind during the travel itself, knowing that your shelter and transportation are all taken care of at a prior date.

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