Financing Your Family Vacation
Family vacations are often about more than simply going away somewhere for rest and relaxation. They often provide excellent opportunities to expose children to a variety of enriching and exciting experiences that they would not ordinarily have and can serve as a means of creating childhood and family memories that will last a lifetime. Those aspects of the family vacation are important and should be factored in when making decisions about how to finance a vacation for the family.
The best way to finance a family vacation is to plan, budget, and save. Many banks and credit unions offer vacation clubs, which function in a similar way to Christmas clubs. Each week you deposit a small amount of money or, if you receive your pay via direct deposit, have a small amount automatically withdrawn from your checking account and put into your vacation club account.
You can also create a family budget and relegate a certain amount per week to be set aside specifically for vacation plans. Perhaps you could work a few extra hours per week and add that to the fund. Another way to increase the vacation kitty is to start using grocery store coupons and store savings programs and add those savings to your vacation money. There are many little things you can do to economize through the year, making it easier for you to set aside money for a family vacation.
In the course of raising a family, sometimes it just isn’t possible to save as much as you’d like to. Does that mean definitively that you should forego the family vacation until you can pay for it without borrowing? In purely financial terms, the answer is probably yes. However, a family vacation is not something that can be judged in purely financial terms.
That’s because a family vacation holds benefits for the family that, while intangible, are still valuable. In addition, for some types of family vacations, there is a window of opportunity that can close before you are able to save up for it completely. A trip to Disney is a perfect example of that. There’s a certain age range that will experience and enjoy that atmosphere in a much different way than an older child will. You may decide that the cost of credit is worth the experience you are able to offer your children.
It is possible to finance a vacation using credit or a loan in a smart way. While it would be preferable to use credit or a loan to augment your vacation savings, if that is not possible, you can plan carefully and take advantage of bargains and special offers to reduce what you borrow as much as possible. Using a credit card is one option, but you may be better served – particularly when it comes to interest rates – to consider a personal loan, if possible. If you do use a credit card, be sure that you won’t be carrying the debt for long enough to rack up serious interest charges and keep your expenditures under control.
There are certain types of borrowing that should probably be avoided, unless you are absolutely sure that you can easily adhere to the repayment schedule and understand the risks and expenses involved. Using home equity risks your home. A payday loan will come with extremely high interest, making such loans more advisable for only in an emergency, rather than for funding a vacation.
When making decisions about how to finance a family vacation, be sure to consider all angles. Don’t be afraid to include the intangibles, but don’t allow yourself to be ruled by them either, which could result in financial choices that you’ll regret later. Careful planning and budgeting, whether you are saving up for your vacation or financing it in part or in total via credit or a loan, can help you to have an enjoyable vacation while making financial choices you can live with.