Managing your family finances is difficult in and of itself, but when you are on the road, it can be even more difficult. Whether you have planned your first family vacation or you do this every year, you have probably already pulled a wad of cash from the ATM and are about to hit the road.
Before you do that, you need to take a step back and think about your finances and the situation you are in FIRST. Do you have the ability to spend as much money as you want? Do you need to track your expenses? Do you always find yourself regretting purchasing decisions you make? These are all questions to consider before you head out on the road.
Below, we will go over some ways that you can manage your family’s finances while you are out on the road. It may not always be easy, but it will guarantee that you have some additional cash to put back into your bank when you come home.
It can be difficult to do and it is always one of those things that you put off until the end, but you need to budget for your family trip. Who wants to come home with only $50 left and an entire month of bills to still pay? No one. A budget only works if you start early and stick to it. Therefore, you should make a budget a few months before you plan to go on your family trip. This way, you will be prepared and have extra money to spend.
Once you have an idea of how much money you will reasonably have to spend, start to plan out the trip and allocate money to each of your activities. For example, if you want to go scuba diving, you may find you can reasonably spend $300 on it without worrying. Do this for all aspects of your trip from food down to the hotel, gas, and all activities.
Take Advantage of Travel Credit Cards
If you have any travel credit cards, take advantage of them! This is important because you will be able to earn cash or miles on all of your purchases while you are gone. For example, if you earn 10 percent back on all fuel purchases and you spend a total of $500 on fuel over the course of your trip, you will earn $50 back for yourself. This is a good deal and makes it quite worth it.
Make sure to look into travel credit cards, what they offer, what you can earn, and then determine which cards you will use and for which purchases.
Use Apps When You Can
There are many apps out there that will help you track your spending and keep track of where your money goes throughout your trip. These apps come in handy when you do not have cash in your pocket and you rely on your credit card or debit card to fund your purchases. If you do use an app to track your spending, make sure you set a clear budget in the app and then watch carefully how you spend that budget.
Don’t Be Afraid to Camp It Out
Camping can be fun and it will save you a lot of money along the way. There may not always be a place to camp and you may need to agree on a hotel, but if you are in an area where you can find a campground, do it. You and your family can enjoy the outdoors and camping is easy on your wallet.
Skip Eating Out Every Night
Eating out can be fun when you are on the road and it allows you the opportunity to taste new foods from different areas, but it can be EXPENSIVE. Over time, you will spend most of your budget on food and then you will be left with no money to finish out your trip. Of course, you will want to eat out a bit when you are on your trip, so do set aside money for this, but make sure that you are cooking in your hotel or grilling at your campsite. You will find that you can eat hot dogs, hamburgers, and subs on your trip without becoming bored or spending a lot of money on the food.
When you do head out to a restaurant, consider going at a time where they run specials, as this will save you a lot of money too. Many restaurants will have specials on certain foods, offer two for one appetizers after a certain time, or even half price entrees during dinner hour.
Look for FREE Events in the Area
Another great way to save money on your family trip is to check out some of the FREE events that they have going on in the area. You do not always have to pay a lot of money to enjoy your day and you will find that you and the crew can have just as much fun watching a local band perform as you can going to a museum. During certain times of the year, cities will have special festivals and fairs going on that you and your family can attend for cheap.
Final Thoughts on Managing Your Family’s Finances on the Road
As you travel the world around you, make sure that you think about your family’s finances before you leave the house and keep to your budget while you are out and about. When you do create your budget, leave some wiggle room or allocate a certain amount of money to the “in case” section just in case you happen to spend a little extra or you find a small event to attend that wasn’t part of the original trip.
While family trips are exciting and fun, they do not have to be expensive and they do not have to drain the bank. With careful budgeting and planning, you can enjoy a wonderful family trip.