How to Save for a Family Vacation on a Budget.

Image credit

Pick Your Destination

There is lots of advice out there about how to save for a family vacation on a budget. It’s all high-level theoretical mumbo jumbo about how real families would save money in a perfect world. A lot of these articles tell you to set a budget first. My advice is to pick your destination first. It’s much easier to know the real scope of what you are looking at in terms of how much you need to save if you know where you want to go, instead of just where you can afford to go. You need to realize that you’re a family now, and while there are so many amazing things to do in Sonoma and Napa, it’s probably not right for kids. That shouldn’t stop you from planning an amazing time away with your loved ones.

Dream big. Don’t be afraid to pick a destination that seems like it is out of your reach, as long as it’s appropriate for everyone. We’re going to show you how to make those dreams a reality. For real.

Let’s use Walt Disney World as an example. It’s big. People love it. Most people are still dreaming of how to get their family to Walt Disney World. Go big, right?

Do Your Research and Set a Budget

Do some research and answer the following questions: how long do we want to be on vacation? How are we going to get there? Where are we going to stay? What parks are we going to visit at Walt Disney World? How many people are going? How much money will it cost to eat each day, per person? How much spending money do we need per person, per day? What are the miscellaneous travel costs (taxis, tips, etc.). Once you have answered all of those questions, write down how much money you need to make this trip a reality.

Now, take a deep breath. You don’t need to save ALL OF THE MONEY to start planning your vacation to Walt Disney World.

Incremental Savings and Payments

The first thing to do is tally up how much money you need to book flights. Save enough money for the flights and then book the flights. Just the flights. Once your flights are booked, you’ll know you are going, and you’ll be motivated to save the rest of the money you need to get to Walt Disney World! After you book your flights, save some more money and then book your hotels. Try to pay them all in advance, so you don’t have to travel with more money than you will need. Also, prepayment means the money’s already spent, and you don’t have to worry about it again. After your hotels are booked and paid for, start saving for your park tickets. Once you have enough money to buy your park tickets, work on saving your spending money.

Once you know you can get there (airplanes), and once you know you have a place to stay (hotels), and once you know you have entrance to the parks (tickets), the rest is gravy. You will find the money to spend while on vacation. It’s like this: you were going to have to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at home anyway, so now you just need to plan a little more out of your meal budget for that week and you’ll have enough for food. As for spending money, make that the thing you plan a small budget for: the experience is worth the money, but the things you’ll buy on vacation are not as important as actually getting to go on vacation. Bon voyage!


Welcome to the Night Helper Blog. The Night Helper Blog was created in 2008. Since then we have been blessed to partner with many well-known Brands like Best Buy, Fisher Price, Toys "R" US., Hasbro, Disney, Teleflora, ClearCorrect, Radio Shack, VTech, KIA Motor, MAZDA and many other great brands. We have three awesome children, plus four adorable very active grandkids. From time to time they too are contributors to the Night Helper Blog. We enjoy reading, listening to music, entertaining, travel, movies, and of course blogging.

11 thoughts on “How to Save for a Family Vacation on a Budget.

  • We are long overdue for a vacation. While I would love to get away with just my hubby, we need to have one last family vacation before my older kiddos move out and begin their own adventures. I definitely need to follow this advice to make it happen.

  • Great tips on picking the destination first. I couldn’t agree more. For example, when I wanted to go to Disneyworld for a long vacation I priced it all out first then was able to determine how long it would take me to save, thus choosing dates for vacation.

  • Ooh I agree with everything in this post! I am a huge planner before trips and I find that doing the research and booking ahead can save you tons! Especially this is true with hotels.

  • Traveling is my favorite time to relax and unwind. it can be expensive depends on where you going and the numbers of your family. To bring kids can be so expensive and you needed a bigger room. So planning is really important before you go on a trip. Every parent should read this post to get some idea on what to do.

  • These are great tips for saving! My husband and I love to travel and we find our trips so much more enjoyable when we we’ve saved for them in advance. That way we’re truly able to enjoy ourselves without the worry of how long it will take us to pay it off once we get home!

  • We are doing this for next year. WE want to have a beach vacation with the kids. WE are not sure where we will be going but we are saving now! Thank you for these great ideas. I will be keeping them in mind as we plan and save.

  • I agree 100% that you need to know where you’re going in order to set your budget. I guess sometimes if you know that you can only possibly afford xx amount, then you have to pick a destination that fits that, but knowing where you want to go (and even a little of what you want to do while there) can be so helpful in knowing what to save each month. And knowing what’s coming ahead makes it easier to put that money aside each month!

  • I am always looking for ways to save some moolah. I like to plan ahead when traveling since it is 4 of us and it could add up quickly with all the additional cost.

  • We have a large family, so if it were not for planning and budgeting, then we would never get to go anywhere. Budgeting is always important, in traveling and other life plans. Thank you for these reminders!

  • Payment Plans!! yes!! With a family of 6 finding a way to make our plans ahead of time and make payments overtime has been a key step in saving money overall. Great post and tips!!

  • My son and I are saving up to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s slow going, but we’ll get there one day! I figure even if we put a tiny bit aside at a time, it’s better than nothing. I like the idea of incremental planning and spending.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *