How to Save for a Vacation So You Don’t Need Credit

How to Save for a Vacation

It helps to have a place to save your money.

One of the great traditions enjoyed by my family (and by many others, I’m sure) when I was growing up was that of the family vacation.

Of course, whether you are planning to fly seven people to Disney World or loading up the 15-passenger van for a three-week cross-country road trip, you need to do some financial planning.

The expenses involved in such a trip require that you plan ahead and learn how to save for a vacation. Especially if you’re not wanting to use credit. And you can get the whole family involved!

Determine How Much Money You Need

The first thing that needs to be done is an estimation of the cost of the trip. If you are taking a road trip, you will need to estimate how much money you will spend in gas (use the AAA fuel cost calculator to help) and hotels.

You can reduce the cost somewhat by staying with relatives, looking for long-term rates, and even by camping out in some places, but there are always expenses associated with being on the road.

Other costs to consider include:

  • Cost of food (reduce this expense by bringing some with you, as well as getting hotel rooms with kitchens so you can do some of your own cooking)
  • Cost of laundry if it’s a long trip
  • Charges for luggage if you are flying
  • Possible parking costs and tolls
  • Entrance fees for parks, museums and other activities
  • Miscellaneous costs and unexpected expenses
  • Souvenir purchases
  • Foreign currency conversions if you travel out of the country
  • Various taxes on rooms and other items

While you won’t be able to pinpoint the exact cost of the trip, you should be able to get a good estimate. Once you have that estimate, you can start making a plan to save up what you need as a family.

Save Up Exactly What You Need

Your next task is to save up what you need. Most years, my husband, son and I fly to Albany, NY to visit my husband’s family. We usually stay with family, but we also like to get away and do other things, like visit New York City or Boston, as well.

We also like to rent a car, since my husband’s parents only have one vehicle. Airfare for the three of us and other expenses usually amount to right around $2,500. This means that we need to save $208.33 a month in order to pay for our trip. We plan it every year, so we have 12 months.

However, if you plan a $2,500 trip and you only have six months to save, you will need to set aside $416.66 each month. To get the money, you may need to encourage everyone to chip in.

Find out what everyone can give up in order to put money toward the vacation. Evaluate family spending, and take suggestions for cutting back on entertainment, snack food and other unnecessary spending. That money can go toward the vacation fund.

Next, encourage your family members to make an attempt to earn more money. Teenagers can get jobs, and even those aged 8 – 16 can find odd jobs around the neighborhood to help them earn money for the family vacation.

Adults can work a little extra, or begin a small side business to help earn money. The point is that everyone chips in to reach the shared financial goal of paying for a family vacation.

What’s your advice on how to save for a vacation? What do you do to save up for a family vacation?

Want My Free 31-Step Money Guide*?

Subscribe for free. Get my guide *31 Days to Improve Your Financial Life, welcome series, and regular Five Things digest. Join 30,000+ other followers.

Powered by ConvertKit

About Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit is an author, journalist, and award-winning personal finance freelance writer. Her work can be found at The Hill, Investopedia, Student Loan Hero, US News & World Report, The Huffington Post, and many other outlets.


  1. This is a good article! If you are in debt, you can still enjoy yourself and your dear ones by going on holiday, but be careful on not making any extra debt!