Vacationing as a family is one of the best things you can do together. It’s an amazing way to bond, and being with your kids as you explore the world and discover new, exciting destinations together is an extraordinary experience.

However, family vacations are certainly not cheap. And without a proper plan in place, your budget can get out of hand incredibly quickly. From mid-morning snacks to theme park entrance fees for the whole family, the costs add up fast, and the last thing you want is to overspend, or end up with a maxed-out credit card!

Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to keep family vacation spending on track and at an acceptable level. From going cruising with a special offer to spending a day at the beach, some of the best vacation experiences are also the cheapest! The key to manageable spending on vacation is to have a budget, and to stick to it!

So with that in mind, here are a few hints and tips on how to successfully budget for your next family adventure!

Set a budget

The most important part of budgeting for a family holiday is, unsurprisingly, setting your budget. The second most important part is sticking to it! Start off by working out what you can afford to spend, and what you need to do to get to the magic number that will let you have the vacation of your dreams.

Blue Piggy Bank placed on sand with sunglasses on. Saving for a holiday

This will involve taking a look at your monthly household budget, and perhaps putting a little aside each week to help out. Once you’ve set costs for travel, accommodation, eating, and entertainment, you are ready to start planning.

Decide on a destination

It is a good idea to pick a few favorite destinations, then do a little research to see how much a vacation there might cost. You can explore what free or low-budget options there are, how much it will cost to get there, what accommodation is like, and then compare the costs against your budget. This will help you pick a destination that you will love AND fits with your planned expenditure. 

Book early

This is one of the best ways to save money on a vacation. Booking your travel, your accommodation, and even activities early on can help save a ton of money over the course of your vacation. Being flexible about your chosen dates can help too. Websites like Skycanner and Google Flights can help you find the best time to travel, while booking sites like Kayak or Trivago can help you get great deals on accommodation. 

Plan your activities in advance

Having a vacation schedule might sound like it takes some of the fun out of your trip (organised fun anyone?) but planning your activities for your holiday in advance can be really helpful when it comes to avoiding unexpected expenses.

Family on holiday in philippines exploring in kayaks

If you’ve planned where you are going to go and what you are going to do in advance, you can fit all your vacation spending into your budget ahead of time, ensuring that you don’t spend more than you had planned to. 

Think carefully about food

Food is one area where you can save lots of money…but also something that can come with rapidly inflating expenses if you haven’t planned it out! Sure, an ice-cream by the beach after a morning’s swimming is a delightful treat, and grabbing a snack in the hotel bar in the middle of the afternoon means you can stay a few more minutes by the pool, but these things all add up. Planning your meals, and buying and preparing snacks in advance, is one of the best ways to avoid little costs spiraling out of control.