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Financial Planning for Family Travel

Posted March 1, 2013 by Robb to Travel 0 0
This post was written by a EasyFinance.com Community member. The views expressed below may not reflect the views of EasyFinance.com.

The average American family vacation can easily cost a few thousand dollars for a week of fun. That can be a daunting figure for a lot of families. But savvy travelers know there are deals to be found; however, even with those deals, you’ll need to budget and save to cover the rest.

The most important part of planning a family vacation is to plan it together. Incorporating your children into the process can go a long way in keeping them happy, allowing mom and dad to kick back and take it easy. The key to finding good travel deals and staying within your budget is to do your research. Make sure to look into these sites:

1) Discount Travel Websites: Kayak, Expedia, Travelocity combine flights, hotels and car rental options on one sight for easy shopping. And several of these sites have advice on when you should buy tickets based on price forecasts. This guide to finding the best airfare is a great place to start.

2) Car Rentals: Hertz, Budget and Enterprise rentals will often be cheaper than flying. You can haggle with your local dealer by giving them the price quoted by a competitor and seeing if they can beat it.

3) State Tourism: Many states take an active role in bringing tourists to their attractions with good deals, and they can also give you information on seasonal activities.

4) Avoid Big Events: If at all possible avoid big ticket events. For example, if you’re planning on going to Daytona Beach, try and go on a weekend other than the Daytona 500, when a large influx of travelers will push up prices on everything. As a rule of thumb, it will be much, much cheaper to travel in the off season, which varies from location to location, but is most often Sept. through April.

Once you've done a little shopping around and research, you'll start to get a feel for what the prices will be like. Based on this information, you can start to create a realistic budget.

The Financing
Start a separate savings account for your trip. With every paycheck, put part of it in this account. The longer you save, the less you’ll have to take from each check. Another good tactic is to plan ahead and pay in increments. You can pay for your hotel and car rental at separate times, spreading out the burden.

Bang for Your Buck
Not all vacations are created equal. By vacationing near a national park, your family can spend the majority of the trip doing a fun activity that won’t cost much at all. Camping can be an adventure and cost much less than a hotel room. Cutting corners in the right places will allow your family to splurge on other things.

Airport Planning
If you are going to fly, buy your tickets as early as possible. Try to avoid the busiest travel weekends, like major holidays. Make sure you pack light so you can avoid checked baggage fees. You should also consider purchasing flight insurance or cruise insurance, in case of an emergency or a cancellation, having a backup plan to cover unforeseen expenses can be the best way to prevent a disaster.

About Robb: From the Pacific Northwest; loves to travel as well as talk business.

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