The first step in planning the family vacation should be creating a budget for the trip. Set a realistic dollar limit for the trip and be prepared to discuss why that limit exists. For example, if there is a home renovation project scheduled that particular year, explain how that affects the overall family budget and the resources for the trip. It's an important lesson in balancing fun and family priorities.
After these limits are discussed, work with kids to create a detailed budget for accommodations, transportation, food, special event tickets and souvenirs, particularly souvenirs kids might buy for themselves. For tips, check out these saving strategies for travel and this online calculator to help plan.
Putting the kids in charge of travel planning gives them an opportunity to learn about trade-offs. For example, a long-range trip that involves substantial transportation costs might contain a valuable lesson in finding affordable accommodations. Depending on the age of the children doing the research and how much advance time is available to plan the trip, they can also learn how traveling in season and out of season might help the budget. Many peak summer destinations become significantly more affordable if a family chooses to travel over the winter holidays.
Above all, trip planning can teach an important lesson in spending and savings. If children want to buy souvenirs or treats on the trip, that's an opportunity to have them set aside part of their allowance or chore money to pay for their special purchases on the trip. To get them started, help them save for their goal using this online calculator.
This article is intended to provide general information and should not be considered health, legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.