The family holiday can be a little daunting, yet exciting, and if not planned, costly.  By budgeting your holiday, you can keep control of your costs and still create great memories and experiences to last a lifetime.

Step 1 – Set a budget amount that can’t be exceeded

The reality is that there is no right or wrong number here, it comes down to what you can afford in your family’s annual household budget and any holiday can be great if planned out.

You may even find some additional funds, review your budget, see if there are any other savings you could make on discretionary items that could be directed towards the holiday instead (e.g. do you really need a daily coffee or takeaway this week or can you use this on the holiday instead?)

Step 2 – Initial Planning

The best way to do this is to plan as a family. Get everyone involved as this helps kids learn great life skills.

Consider what kind of holiday you might want to take and make a basic cost estimate to see what fits in the set budget e.g. an overseas trip won’t fit in a budget of $2000.

Identify the needs for your holiday (transport required, accommodation, food/drinks) vs wants (activities, experiences, souvenirs).  Don’t forget what you might need to arrange for whilst you are away such as pets, mail, gardens.

Discuss as a family and prioritise the wants. Everyone will be different and not everything will be able to be completed due to time or cost.  Make sure everyone gets a say in the activities. This could be a family walk, a beach trip, a fun park, day spa, the list is endless. Do some research of the places you are going to see, what is of interest, or talk to friends that have been there before.

Step 3 – Basic structure

Structure the holiday day by day accounting for time to travel and time to see things along the way.  Identify where accommodation, travel, and other costs will be spent daily.  Do a basic cost estimate and allow 10% extra for something missed. There are plenty of online tools to get estimates.  Challenge the kids to look up costs and complete a spreadsheet.

Are you close to your budget amount? If yes, we can move to a more detailed plan, otherwise, if you are over, some more thought may be required.  Are there other opportunities for saving such as the type of accommodation (self-contained to save on meals, one- or two-bedroom units or motel, caravan park stays), driving vs flying and hiring a vehicle or maybe a train trip, could you make some sandwiches for lunch to allow for meals out for dinner?

Step 4 – Details

Start identifying things to book in advance such as flights, accommodation and activity tickets.  There are plenty of savings to be made with a prior booking.  This should enable you to have a costed plan within +/- 5 to 10%.  If the budget is getting tight, research.

Research can help find some great ways for additional savings. Look for deals (e.g. stay 3 nights for the price of 2, breakfast included, kids eat free, “happy hours” for dining.) Does the time you are travelling matter as peak season/school holidays can raise costs dramatically.

Step 5 – Consider everything

Contingency – do you need it?  Think about if you were delayed by a day or more, can you afford it?  Doing riskier activities like skiing or bungy jumping?  Travel insurance is not for everyone but could be something you want to consider (and add in the budget) to cover potential issues.

Planning and taking a holiday together can be rewarding, creating family time whilst educating the family on money and time management.  Take time to listen to each other and when the time comes, given you have planned it out, financial stress should not be an issue leaving you more relaxed and able to enjoy the time away.  Most importantly have fun and capture memories to last a lifetime.

Please note this article provides general advice only and has not taken your personal, business or financial circumstances into consideration. If you would like more tailored advice, please contact us today.