Summer Vacation for Budget-Minded Families
May 31st, 2018 by Bunch & Brock
A summer vacation is traditional for many families, but what if money is a little tight this year or you’re trying to stay out of debt? It is definitely wise to live within your means, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to forgo a family vacation altogether. By making smart choices, you can enjoy summer-fun family time and stay debt free.
If you include a summer vacation in your regular household budget, you can set aside monthly money to plan for the trip. In fact, involving the kids in vacation planning is a great way to teach them about finances. You can let them know you are on a budget and encourage them to save their allowance or chore money for souvenirs or special vacation activities.
For budget-conscious families, an ideal goal is to avoid using credit cards at all for your trips. The combination of charge cards and relaxation makes it easy to overspend, so save money and plan to take just one “emergencies only” card.
Budget-Friendly Summer Vacations
What if you didn’t plan ahead but still want to enjoy a low-cost family trip this summer? Below are some tips for summer vacations on the cheap:
Camping is the least expensive way to travel, and it gets your kids offline and into the great outdoors. Campgrounds cost about $20-30 a night, and if you’re a good shopper, you can find great deals for tents and other essentials. Camp stove, sleeping gear, lanterns – a discount store can completely outfit a family camping trip for about $300. Or, you can save even more by using borrowed or pre-owned items. Craigslist always has listings for low-cost camping gear.
About 3.5 hours southeast of Lexington, The Great Smoky Mountains are a beautiful place to camp and spot wildlife (maybe even some black bears). Closer to home and very budget friendly is Daniel Boone National Forest, which offers fishing, camping, hiking, rock climbing, and more.
Plan an Action-Packed “Staycation”
If you don’t want to camp but can’t comfortably afford other lodging, a “staycation” may be the answer. This might mean you sleep at home, but plan to take several exciting excursions over a week’s “vacation” time. You can plan things in town and/or go to nearby Louisville, which has a great zoo, family-friendly museums, and water and amusement parks that kids love.
In an upgraded staycation, you might plan to travel a short distance and stay in an Airbnb rental. This website and Homeaway provide hundreds of listings for private homes and apartments that can accommodate a family – at prices much lower than hotels. In addition to Louisville, nearby options for a budget stay-away include Nashville, Chattanooga, or Cleveland in the Great Lakes district.
Travel off season
Another option for the budget-conscious family is deferring the family vacation to avoid summer crowds and expenses. Traveling in the off-season is always more affordable, and spring or fall can offer the bonus of temperate weather. This option works best for families who home school or have a year-round school schedule, but some families plan to take an occasional week off school for a “work study” vacation.
At the law firm of Bunch & Brock, we encourage our clients to enjoy family time this summer – but do keep to a workable budget. If you find yourself in trouble and need help, our financial services attorneys are a phone call away.