Financial Adventure Activity - Family Vacation Budget

This month Financial Adventure is challenging you to create a family vacation budget with your kids. Vacations can be a fun and exciting time, but if not carefully thought out and planned they could be devastating. Our Family Vacation Budget Activity will help kids & teens learn about budgeting, saving and money management skills. Not really planning an upcoming vacation? Use this activity to learn more about a place you may want to visit in the future or if you have young kids you could even set your vacation budget to be close to home and simple by planning a “trip to the park” vacation with lunch and an activity. Your Family Vacation Budget Activity can be as elaborate or simple as you wish.

First, set an amount you would like to spend on the trip. Be realistic about what you can afford and talk with your children about why you are selecting this amount. Do you need to make sure you have money set aside for other things that may come up or have higher priorities over the next few months?

Once the main budget amount is set, discuss how you are going to break down this amount in greater details. How much will you spend on accommodations, transportation, food or even tickets for special attractions? Travel websites are a great way for you to get ideas on these costs and perfect for your kids to do a little research on their own. It may also be a good idea to set aside about 10% of your budget for unexpected expenses that may come up.

Talk with your kids and have them help make decisions such as finding a more expensive hotel and spending less on transportation or making sure you attend certain special attractions but opting for a less expensive hotel to ensure you have enough money in your overall budget. Talk about ways to save money. Are there coupons or discounts available for you to use on your vacation? If you book early do you save money? Is there an off-season which is less expensive? Can you make dinner yourself rather than eating out? Are there activities you can do on your trip that are free?

Once you have your budget and your trip planned, talk about how you will pay for this trip. Is it a good idea to save up the money in advance so you know you can afford it, or is it a good idea to put the full amount of the trip on your credit card and pay for it later? If using the credit card option, how much will it actually cost in the long run? If setting up a savings goal make it fun and get the whole family involved. Create a goal chart with fun photos of where you will be visiting so you can see how close you are to getting to your vacation goal.

After the trip is over, sit down with your family and go over the budget numbers and compare them to your actual amounts spent. How well did you stick to your budget? Where did you go over your budget and how could you prevent this from happening in the future?

Most importantly when you are on vacation remember you are making memories with your family that will last a lifetime. Enjoy the precious time you have with each other and the time you spent on your Family Vacation Budget Activity.

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