As a parent, it’s only natural to want to reward good behavior your kids have shown with a fun family vacation during their break from school. However, there are a number of factors that can make planning a vacation everyone will love seem impossible. After all, one of your kids may want to go somewhere that another child doesn’t.
On top of all of this, vacations are not cheap. With an international trip for just under two weeks costing an average of $3,200, you may not be able to afford a vacation your child wants. However, learning how to budget for a vacation well in advance along with learning some of the most family-friendly vacation spots can help you create a trip your kid(s) will love.
How to Set a Budget for Your Family Vacation
Budgeting is difficult in daily life, let alone when trying to plan for a potential vacation on the horizon. The average American savings rate for the last half-century has only been around 8.96%, going to show how few Americans have discretionary income for travel laying around. Rather than dipping into your savings account to fund your family vacation, use some of the following tips to build an effective budget:
Start saving for your trip months in advance, or create a dedicated travel savings account
Discuss with your family and let them know you’re trying to budget funds for a vacation, so you all may have to collectively cut back on certain items
Factor in maximum food and activity costs into your budget
Set a maximum budget so you know what you can’t go beyond
Set a monthly saving goal for your travel budget
Build two types of budgets: low spend and high spend, so that you have a range if things don’t go according to plan
After you have done all of the above, you will have a rough estimate for how much you can afford to spend on vacation. Use this value to determine which locations around the world you can afford to travel to by looking at prices.
Top Travel Destinations for Families in 2023
After building out the above budget, you’re ready to start considering different locations to travel to for a family vacation. Below are five of the best family-friendly travel destinations to consider this year:
New York City, New York
Standing as one of the biggest cities in the world, New York City can be an exciting destination spot for all families. There are a number of destinations to include in your New York City getaway itinerary such as: The Statue of Liberty, The Brooklyn Bridge, Staten Island, Broadway, the 9/11 Memorial, Central Park, and much more. New York City is so vast that it’s nearly impossible to tackle everything on your list in one visit.
It is the dream of many children to visit Disneyland and see famous characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Located in Anaheim, California just outside of Los Angeles, Disneyland is a great spot for your family. There are a number of hotels onsite at Disneyland, meaning you can save a good amount of money on transportation as well, saving room in your budget for theme park rides, food, and more.
For families looking for a more relaxing vacation, Maui, Hawaii is an excellent choice. Stunning beaches and outstanding food make this travel destination one that is relaxing for the whole family.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Those families who have a more adventurous spirit may be interested in visiting Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Whether you are an older family looking to backpack in the area or you are taking your kids camping for the first time, Yellowstone can be relatively chip considering most people cook their own food at campsites and don’t do much traveling beyond on-foot hikes.
Families looking to go international this year should consider flying to Costa Rica to experience a vacation of both leisure and excitement. This rugged rainforest country is home to a rich culture and is known for the gorgeous volcanoes and beaches in the area.
Top of Mind Considerations When Planning a Family Vacation
If one of the above travel destinations didn’t jump out at you and you are still considering where to go, there are two primary considerations that you should keep in mind:
International vs. Domestic
One of the biggest debates when it comes to planning a vacation is whether to stay domestic or travel internationally. While an international trip can be exciting, it almost always comes with a higher price tag. Additionally, dealing with a language barrier while dealing with your children can be a challenge.
However, if you stay domestic then you need to choose between driving, flying, or any other kind of travel. Keep these factors in mind as you discuss potential options with your family.
Activity vs. Leisure
All families have a preference when it comes to vacation for whether they want to be doing activities daily or lounging on a beach or at a campsite. Discuss these two options with your family members to see what the majority feels like doing before deciding on a location, as this can influence your decision. Additionally, activity-based vacations will likely come with a higher price tag, which is something to keep in mind for your budget.
Design the perfect vacation for your kids
Parenting is a challenging endeavor but seeing the happiness and laughter your child or children show makes it all worth it. Plan a fun vacation for your family that offers something for everyone, all while staying within the budget you’ve worked so hard to build. Even if you can’t afford a certain vacation, don’t become disillusioned into believing you can’t have a fun vacation. Work with your family to determine what everybody wants to do in order to set an affordable destination everybody will love.