Every year my husband and I set our annual travel budget. Making memories, and learning more about my family and friends through traveling and exploring together is a must for me, so I ensure we budget what we can for travel each year. Now, when I say annual travel budget, I’m referring to setting an amount to spend on travel expenses for the entire year. I know from talking with friends and family that others budget differently for travel. I’m sharing what we do for budgeting just as an example.
Once we know what we can spend on travel for the year, I get my family together and we brainstorm places we want to visit and things we want to explore. These are ideas for family travel, friend travel and solo travel. For example, this year our ideas included the 4 Corners (New Mexico), Arizona, Colorado (Rocky Mountains), Utah, the Eiffel Tower, Belize and Georgia. As you can see, we were all over the map with the places we wanted to visit. Through a little creativity and planning though, my husband and I were able to visit Belize on a cruise, and we were able to take our family to Arizona, Utah and the Eiffel Tower (in Las Vegas) 🙂
After we have brainstormed ideas and finally decide on what trips we plan on taking for the year, I set estimated trip budgets. That is, I divide up our annual travel budget into individual estimated trip budgets. See the example below. The estimated trip budgets cover transportation, lodging, food, activities/entertainment and incidentals for each trip.
|Total Annual Budget: $$||Total Trip #1 Budget: $$||Total Trip #2 Budget: $$||Total Trip #3 Budget: $$||Total Trip #4 Budget: $$|
|Item||Trip #1||Trip #2||Trip #3||Trip #4|
Again, these estimates and are not set in stone. They are just a starting point for planning each trip. I say this, because for example, I might find I have enough hotel reward points saved up for our anniversary weekend getaway. I can then take the money I had budgeted for a hotel on that trip and move it over to our family trip budget. Upgrade!
After our trip budgets are estimated, we start the fun part of planning! We normally start with planning our week long family vacation, because we prioritize that trip as our most important trip of the year. We do this to ensure we can afford transportation to where we are planning to visit, since that is normally our highest travel expense.
As a fun little bonus, I keep a change jar in our laundry room. Any and all change left in the car cup holders, found in my purse, found in my husband’s pants pockets in the laundry, etc., gets put into the change jar. I cash that in before our family trip each year and we use it for something fun on our trip (i.e. show tickets, ice cream treats, amusement park admissions, etc.). It’s always fun coming up with ideas with the kids on what extra thing(s) to do on our trips!
What are some ways you save or budget for travel? Please feel free to share in the comments. We would love to hear from you!