Smart Summer Vacation Tips

Summer is a time for fun and family. It’s also a time when we spend a lot of money without getting too much out of it. How do we make the most of the money we have to spend on summer fun while creating lasting memories?

We do this by planning ahead. You may ask ‘why plan ahead, I have so much to do already with kids out of school, higher child care costs and the regular demands of life?’  There are several reasons to plan ahead:

  1. You will know how much money you need to save for a vacation;
  2. How and where you will spend your vacation money;how-to-budget-a-family-vacation
  3. What local and/or free resources are available for vacation;
  4. And take some of the hectic out of vacation while making memories.

Ways to Save for Vacation

For most of us, we think of vacation when it’s cold and dreary outside. This is a time to come together with your family, friends or significant others to have a conversation about where you would like to go on vacation. Talking together and coming up with ideas of where you should go and what you want to do will be an opportune time to discuss the financial end of vacation.

If the kids want to go to Disney and your pocketbook will only allow a beach trip, this is time to let them know what is possible and as a family include some of their must do’s like swimming, miniature golf, or a tour of an aquarium. The same goes for friends and significant others in planning for your trip communicate what a vacation means to each of you and agree on a destination while including a mix of points of interest for each of you.

With your destination in mind, consider the costs that go into a vacation trip such as:

  • Travel expense ( airline or auto)
  • Food for the trip
  • Lodging (hotel, motel, vacation rental, camping)
  • Meals (are any included with your lodging?)
  • Admission Fees
  • Spending Money
  • Emergency Fund

Research your destination; there are many on-line sites that will help you with figuring out the costs of vacation. Check out your desired locations website and look at the ‘Things to Do’ tab which will offer you a wealth of information along with free things you can do.

Then begin saving, months in advance. Many people save for vacations by placing money in a savings or money market account. If you belong to a credit union, you can take advantage of a vacation club account. Like a holiday club, it’s an account set aside for a specific purpose — in this case, a trip. Credit unions offer these accounts with a low initial deposit of $5-10 which can be directly taken out of your paycheck. The money grows throughout the year and is available when you are ready to go on vacation.  And if you don’t spend all your money on the vacation you have saved for, put in back into savings for next year. CU  offers a free credit union locator at

Here is a simple chart showing how much you need to save monthly so you will have what you need before the trip.

Amount you want to save

Monthly savings over 6 months

Monthly savings over 12 months

Monthly savings over 18 months


















With all your planning done and money saved, now all you have to do is enjoy your time and make plenty of memories!

Betty Ann Falkner, Education Program Manager of the Center presents financial education initiatives, including a curriculum of courses and resources to increase personal finance knowledge in order ‘to empower all individuals to achieve financial wellness through all stages of life’.

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