There are few more important traditions in many families than the annual vacation. Gathering everyone together for some much-needed time away from the demands of work and home is a great way to bond and make great memories together. Another less positive tradition is overspending on a family trip. It’s easy to do, because we get so caught up in the excitement of a trip that we get a little carried away. For many families, this can really ruin their memories of the trip. The great news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can carefully plan and budget for your trip and avoid financial distress while still having just as much fun, if not more. It just takes some strategy.

Lodging Wisely

It is so important to choose the right place to stay on your trip! It may be the most expensive component of your itinerary, so it has the most power to make or break your financial plan.

The first thing to remember is that the lodging should match your itinerary. If you have a traditional destination where you essentially live as if you’re in a second home, a Welk timeshare contact can get you a beautiful condo during your time in San Diego. It will save you money on meals by allowing you to cook, and if your schedule is relaxed, you’ll have far better quarters to just hang out than you would in a cramped motel room.

On the other hand, some families like their lodging cheap and simple, because they expect to do very little in the room. In those cases, you can go with a low-cost chain motel. The important difference is to know what your trip is really about, so that you can stay in the right kind of place.

Budgeting & Spending Wisely

Some people get the wrong idea altogether about budgeting for a trip. They think that the process implies that you’re going cheap or acting stingy about the vacation. That’s quite inaccurate.

Budgets can be big or small, but whatever the size, you need to be accurate and realistic, and to stick to it. Review restaurants in your destination area before you go, and join their loyalty clubs to get discounts. Make sure that your plans for things like amusement parks and concerts involve the taxes and fees for tickets, not just their face value.

Break up your cash. Don’t put the whole allocation in one place in a wallet or purse. Budget it by days, and use paper clips or other simple dividers to bundle each day’s money. The ability to roll over the extra onto the next day will feel great.

Traveling Wisely

Let’s face it: No matter how great your vacation destination is, it can be very difficult to get there. No matter what mode of travel you choose, you can run into some delays and problems that can make it take longer, cost more, or become more frustrating. When you’ve carefully planned your itinerary and squeezed the budget for months to make it happen, this can ruin your vacation.

Don’t lose sight of the importance of getting there efficiently. We’ve all dealt with a persistent chorus of “are we there yet” from the back seat, so you know that you’ll have to make the trip bearable for kids.

Consider modes of transportation. Research some ideas for travel games to keep the kids engaged and reduce boredom. Rent a bigger vehicle to create legroom, or travel by train so that everyone can get up and walk around. These options can reduce transit costs by cutting back on gas station and restaurant stops by allowing kids to use the bathroom, get a snack, or walk around for a few minutes–all without the prerequisite snacks and other purchases that come with a car stop.

Traveling doesn’t have to be a headache. We can all enjoy our time on the road with our families a lot more if we just start planning ahead of time. When we do that, we can save time, save money, and save headache, all to the benefit of our family bonding time–which is what vacation is all about.