Monday, December 31, 2012
I remember when I was a kid my mother would fly to England every year to visit her family. Now you need to understand that we were not wealthy folks. In fact we were pretty much on the low end of the socio-economic scale. But somehow she always managed to get that trip in.
I mention that for several reasons. First, lack of money is not a reason for not taking a great vacation it is an excuse. I have reflected on how my mom was able to make that trip happen every year and the first thing I realized was that this annual trip was a priority for her. It was an important experience to which she looked forward with eager expectation.
Vacations are important to you well being. They are a time of refreshment and rejuvenation. A time to relax and to simply be a family. You will never take that intended vacation until you make it a priority. This annual trip was so important to my Mom that she would take on a variety of odd jobs to cobble together the cost. So, do like my Mom. Decide early where and when you are going to take that vacation and begin immediately finding a way to fund it. Mark it on you calendar.
Select your vacation date a protect it against any and all intruders. In selecting a date be sure and make it as far out as you can. This will allow time to accumulate the needed funds to pay for the trip. I really believe that the vacation should be pretty much already covered financially before you leave to enjoy it. You will enjoy it more knowing that you know going home to a lot of new debt.
Deciding on the kind of vacation you want to take may not be as easy as ABC but it is important. The when of your trip will also inform the kind of trip you take.Still, the choices are almost endless. Everything from close to home cruises to all-inclusive resorts on exotic islands. Visit a travel consultant for a whole range of ideas. As you make your selections let your imagination run free but always keep you household budget in mind. You'll not want to spend more than you can really afford.
Book your trip early. That way you are invested in the trip and will be more likely to follow through. Besides, contrary to popular opinion the best prices are available early not late in the season.
Finally, develop a plan for paying for your vacation. If you have done well with your finances you might be one of the fortunate few who can just "write a check" and you're all set. However, most families will probably need to come up with a funding plan. This is especially true if a vacation has not been an annual part of your family budget.
I remember I used to keep a 5 gallon water bottle by the front door and every day when I came home from the office I'd drop all my pocket change in it. A full jar of miscellaneous coins adds up to about $1500. That may not work as well in this day of debit cards but you can come up with your own unique approach. The point is, come up with a plan for saving the money you need to pay for the vacation. I like the idea of a vacation savings account.
If you can't discipline yourself with a savings account make monthly payments on you vacation. Just calculate the amount need to be paid in full by the final payment date. That way it is thoroughly incorporated into you family budget.
Don't miss out on having a vacation this year. Most cruise and resort vacations are more affordable than you think. You really do need to sit down with a Travel Consultant and check out your options. You probably have more choices than you realize.