The school year is over and temperatures are already making everything sticky. That can only mean one thing: SUMMER VACATION. But as you glance between browser tabs — from the beach picture you bookmarked on that travel site to your checking balance — a summer getaway suddenly begins to feel worlds away.
Your dreams of sunshine don’t have to be dashed so quickly, though. If you’re willing to be flexible, it’s not too late to plan a summer getaway that’s within your family’s budget.
Base your destination on your budget
Sure, you probably won’t be able to save up enough between now and August to book a two-week stay at a five-star hotel for your family of four, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on a trip altogether. You’ll just have to make some adjustments. For instance, stay closer to home instead of leaving the state. Utilizing the CO-OP shared branches and ATMs will allow you to leave the comforts of your local credit union for fun in the sun and sand without paying ridiculous fees.
Make short-term sacrifices
Regardless of where you go, you’ll need the means to get there. But even if your vacation savings aren’t fully funded right now, you can build them up quickly. You already know what your goal is; now you just have to put in the work to make it happen. If you’d like to set aside a little more for your vacation, consider your spending in other areas of the budget and see if there are places to cut back slightly over the next three months. For example, eating out once a week instead of twice a week, buying $1 coffees instead of $4 lattes.
For family vacations, last-minute sacrifices can function as an educational tool to help children learn how to delay gratification. They might give up ice cream tonight if it means going to Disneyland in a few months. Show them how to track their goals with a colorful chart that shows their sacrifices are well intentioned. Oh…and use stickers. They love stickers.
Splurge on priorities, save on the rest
Finally, keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong way to take a trip. Splurge on what you care about most and cut back on everything else. If you can’t afford room service every night, that’s OK. The little deli down the street from your hotel will suffice. Another way to save is to rent a home, as opposed to booking several hotel rooms. Having a kitchen and dining area can make a big difference to your trip’s budget. Pro-tip: Bring a crockpot along on your trip and get dinner started in the morning. Have it set on a low setting so it’s cooking all day while you’re out exploring. Then dinner is served by the time your family is done playing.
And remember that sometimes cheap travel comes to those who wait. This can apply to hotels as well as airfare. Check travel sites often for last-minute deals. If you need an extra push to get to your beachside goal, consider direct depositing some extra dollars in Vacation Savings Account every paycheck. By the time that vacation rolls around, you won’t have to worry where those funds are going to come from because you’ll have been saving all along!