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Family vacations are some of our childhood’s most exciting events and memories. Unfortunately, they can often be costly, especially if you go into them without a budget in mind. Setting budgets and being careful with each trip is the best way to ensure you have money for more vacations.

It’s important to remember that an expensive vacation does not automatically make for better experiences and memories. A budget-friendly vacation can create those same memories; it takes more work.

With that in mind, here are some budgeting tips for your next family vacation.

Set a Budget

When planning a budget-friendly vacation, the first thing you will want to do is set a budget. Often, the budget will help decide where one can travel. Don’t worry if you’re unsure of how much to set aside for your vacation. Experts recommend the 50-30-20 rule. This means fifteen percent of your income goes to needs, thirty to wants, and twenty to savings. Your vacation budget should come out of the thirty perfect for wants. 

Plan (and Book) Ahead

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to save money on your vacation. This includes booking in advance, as often last-minute bookings will cost significantly more than the alternative. Remember that many companies, including airlines and hotels, offer discounts and incentives to those that book ahead.

Consider All the Details

Many parts of a vacation bring additional costs. It’s essential to try and plan for as many of these as possible, as they will add up. Basic expenses include resort fees (separate from the hotel room), gas, food/groceries, water, parking, tolls, theme park fees, entertainment costs, exchange rates, and shopping.

Price Alerts

Did you know that some services will watch the prices of certain vacation expenses (airfare) and alert you when the price has gone down? This is an excellent way of saving money on the basics so you can spend it elsewhere.

Time It Carefully

Most vacationers have likely heard about the busy season versus the off-season. Naturally, visiting a tourist trap during the off-season will save you money. If you’re comfortable with this, it’s an excellent way to save money.

That isn’t the only timing to consider when planning a vacation. Flying costs change depending on the day of the week. For example, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are much cheaper for flying than the rest of the week.