Family Vacations Don’t Have to Put You in Debt

A vacation is supposed to be relaxing, rewarding, and fun. Yet for millions of Americans, it’s the exact opposite. According to a survey of more than 1,000 adults, nearly 75 percent have gone into debt to pay for a vacation – a problem that’s underscored by the fact that 55 percent of Americans don’t factor these expenses into their annual budgets. 

But this doesn’t have to be your story. You can and should pay cash for your next family vacation. 

Helpful Pointers and Advice to Help You Pay Cash

Paying cash for a vacation might seem like a pipedream, but it’s not as far-fetched as you may think. With the following pointers, you can start cashflowing even the nicest vacations. Take a look:


  • Choose a Reasonable Vacation

Let’s be clear about one thing: If you’re making $50,000 per year, you aren’t going to be able to afford a $10,000 family vacation. However, there’s no reason you can’t take a nice $1,500 vacation. It’s all about being realistic and reasonable.

For those with limited budgets, here are some reasonable ideas for good family trips:

  • Try taking trip to a popular destination during the shoulder seasons. For most warm-weather, family oriented destinations, this means very early spring or late fall. During these time periods, you’re much more likely to score a deal.
  • Did you know that a family of six can rent a luxury RV for an entire week for less than $2,000? All you need on top of this are groceries, gas, and some nominal site rental fees. 

These are just a couple of suggestions. Feel free to get creative and explore different options. (Sometimes being flexible and open until the last minute can score you some good deals.)


  • Set a Savings Goal

It’s important to get specific about how much you want to spend. The earlier you zero in on this figure, the less likely it is that you’ll go over budget and into debt.

More important than setting a large goal is breaking it down into digestible bits. If, for example, you’re wanting to pay $2,000 in cash for a vacation and you have six months to do so, you should break it up into monthly chunks of $333. This makes it seem so much more realistic and practical.


  • Strip Unnecessary Expenses

In the months leading up to your vacation, strip out as many unnecessary expenses as you can. Try going a week without eating out, a week without online shopping, etc. You’d be surprised how easy it is to save a couple hundred dollars here and there.  


  • Add Some Side Income

If you’ve already pared your expenses down to a nominal amount and there’s not much wiggle room in the budget, you have an income problem. Try adding a side job for a couple of months. Whether it’s delivering pizza, driving for Uber, or delivering groceries, every extra dollar counts!


  • Get Everyone Involved

Saving up for a family vacation should be a family affair. Both you and your spouse need to be doing everything possible to maximize income. If you have children who are old enough to work, have them pitch in as well. They might not be able to contribute much, but it teaches a huge life lesson on the importance of working hard to enjoy luxuries in life. 

Dare to be Different

“But everyone else is doing it!

How many times do your kids give you this bogus line? And what do you tell them every single time they deliver it?

“Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should.”

Yet, even as adults we tend to operate with the same mentality as teenagers who are exposed to the social peer pressure of high school. 

But here’s the thing: Nothing good comes out of following the herd. Most people are broke and financially illiterate – so why would you try to replicate their financial decisions anyway? If people who are broke and have no financial common sense are telling you to go in debt in order to experience the vacation of your dreams, is this really the advice you should be following?

Paying cash for a family vacation might seem challenging at this moment, but it’s something you can do with the right discipline and foresight. Choose to be different and see what happens!

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