How to Plan a Family Vacation on a Budget

Here you can read about different tips and tricks for planning a family vacation on a budget.

Parents enjoy taking their children on vacations but don’t always necessarily have the money to do so. There are ways you can save without noticing the small amounts of change you are saving by using an app called Acorn. This app rounds up your items to the nearest dollar amount from your bank card associated with your account and the change is saved. If you purchase something for $2.36 cents, Acorn rounds it up to 3 bucks automatically and you can save your change this way. You can also transfer your savings back to your bank account and also to Paypal. There are many low-cost trips that families can take if they like camping, so they won’t be paying for hotel rooms. If you do choose hotel rooms, there are many sites that will give you the room cheaper than the hotel will. These are online travel agencies, but read the rules because there are no changes once you book unless you get to your room and it’s bug infested, the travel agent will get the owner on the phone and refund your money if that is the case.

Family Vacation Budget

Parents can create memories that will last forever without going broke. Here is how easy it is to build your family vacation on a budget that’s worth talking about for years to come. Families that vacation together helps everyone unwind and take the tension out of parent and child relationships. Family vacations also build strong bonds, and that’s what is very important to families.

Since the late 1990s until 2014, Americans didn’t take as many vacation days annually, however; vacation days for Americans are on their way up since 2017. The average person took 17 vacation days which is good for both families and businesses. Taking vacation days isn’t really about the paid time off you have coming, it’s more about budgeting so you and your family can travel. Traveling can be very expensive with children along, but you can do this.

Is it Important for Your Family to just stay Home

Families should still find time to take some kind of vacation, even if it’s nothing too special. Many times a huge vacation doesn’t fit into family budgets, especially if you are barely making ends meet. This idea of planning a trip with hotels and airline tickets probably won’t work if your family is scraping by. Americans still choose to go into debt and a whopping 74% have admitted they have charged their vacation to have a great time with the family.

This probably isn’t a very good idea, but you should still take a vacation within your budget. When you take time off from the grind, people can go back to work refreshed and ready to come up with new ideas and also they are more energized. This could be a good thing for long term goals. If you choose not to take a debt-free vacation, you can still look at some other options just in case you like it.

Stay at Home Vacation

People that choose to stay at home saves lots of money, and there are probably a whole bunch of free things to do in the area you live in. Pretend you’re the tourists and see what they must view when they visit your city or town. Make sure you plan this as a fun adventure for the family to make it worthwhile for everyone.

Go Visit Family

If you have family in other parts of the United States, most are more than happy to see your family, especially if it’s the grandparents of your children. Keep the door open and make sure you have good relationships with family members. You probably can stay for free and pitch in with food or find a nice cheap hotel in the area to stay. You might be able to get away with your partner because you will have babysitters from your family happy to spend time with your children.


Camping is a very inexpensive way to go on vacation. If you already have all the gear you need, that’s even better or maybe someone can loan you some camping gear. You can find inexpensive campsites and the only cost is gas and food, which is a necessity anyway.

These are good ideas if you only have a few hundred dollars to spare for your vacation. If you decide to go somewhere a bit more expensive, then save and stick to a budget to help yourself pay off expensive credit card debt. Your family can still come back from a vacation you planned on a budget and have great memories without the debt from the credit card.


Budgeting might sound boring, while vacation sounds like who cares? The good thing is that a budget for your family vacation can actually get you to the destinations you always wanted to see and you all can enjoy yourself because you worked hard to budget. If you don’t care about bounced checks or extra debt, you won’t enjoy your vacation as much as if you saved for it.

Set the Budget

Don’t buy airline tickets because they are on sale and inexpensive because the hotels might be really expensive. Look at Google and type in “Best Vacations” and put in your budget. This is user-friendly so there is a place for your budget. This is a good way to get some ideas about budget worthy trips that seem interesting. Take in the number of travel costs to get to the location from your home to where your family is going. It might be cheap to stay on the east coast somewhere, but going to California is going to be more expensive.

Budget on Vacation

When you have budgeted for this vacation and keep saving, try and prepay for as much as possible as you hit your goals. This includes flights, hotels, other accommodations, and rental cars. You get better deals when you pay ahead of time, and that could be at least a few months to almost a year. Now you have to stick to your budget when you are traveling. There are some options for you to consider.


Carry cash and take the allotted amount out daily and put it in envelopes on your trip. Most hotel rooms have safes for tourists. This cuts spending and you have it under control. Just remember, always watch your cash because if you lose it then you’re in trouble.

Track Spending

You can use a budgeting app and check it daily so you know what you spent. Keep a note of the amount that is left each day for your family. You can use a credit card if you have one with no balance on it. You can load all your spending money on the credit card and check the app daily to see what you have spent. If you spent too much one day, budget the next day. If you do choose to use a credit card, choose the best ones for travel rewards so you can earn extra cash or points back from your spending.

The End Result

The bottom line is your family is going to enjoy their vacation and you feel financially responsible because you planned for this vacation. Budgeting takes practice and seems like work but it’s better than coming home with a few thousand dollars worth of debt because you didn’t plan. The extra debt could take you a year or more to pay off, so you can’t even begin to save for your next vacation until this one is paid for. It would be much nicer to take a nice vacation once a year rather than once every two years or have to file bankruptcy because your cards are all maxed out from vacations. Try the travel budget worksheet so you can use discipline to budget for the next years vacation.