How to Afford a Family Vacation

I love to travel.  And while in my own personal opinion I feel that I don't get to do it enough, I really can't complain as I have had some awesome trips with my family.  This past Summer we drove to Colorado from Ontario.  All in all it was a 40 hour drive, but for us that is part of the adventure!  4 years ago we drove out to BC.  two Christmases ago we went to Myrtle Beach.  And in between all those trips we've had weekend camping adventures, day trips to Toronto or Ottawa, and occasional overnight hotel stays in nearby cities.

SO how do we do it?  A family of 5 on a low-income, this is some of the ways we afford a family vacation.

-We don't have a lot of nice stuff.  No, seriously.  Our furniture is old and second-hand, our vehicles get driven into the ground,  We have more than enough, We have all we need, but it isn't going to win any home decor or beauty contests.  We prefer to save for a trip, rather than new furniture.

-  When we travel, we drive.  It would be too costly to take a plane every time we wanted to go on a trip.  Maybe one day we will be able to take a plane as a family, but for now, driving is what we can afford.  We always include that as part of the adventure though, as there are always a lot of things to see on the way.

-  We cook our own meals while vacationing.  We are foodies at heart, and love to eat out, but to keep the budget down we make most of our meals ourselves.  We always go out to eat a time or two or three on a trip depending on the length we are away for as that is a special treat for us, but for the most part we make our own meals and pack our own snacks.

-  We usually camp.  Whenever possible we camp on our trips.  When we went to Colorado and BC we spent the majority of time sleeping in a tent or tent trailer.  This also allows us a place to cook our own meals.

- We make adjustments if needed.  Last year we went to Colorado which was amazing!  But it turns out, we also ended up travelling there during monsoon season (which I did not even know they had!)  Because of some crazy storms we spent a couple nights in a hotel, and spent more money on fast food than we had hoped to because the crazy winds and downpours made it impossible to cook outside while camping.  Because we had saved our butts off for the trip we knew we did not want to use our credit cards for any of it.  We decided to come home early instead of going above budget.  Sure, we were disappointed, but we enjoyed our time there and were thankful to have it fully paid for.

There are so many ways to make family vacations affordable.  Even if it takes you two years to save for a vacation, if you start today you will be grateful you did it when two years rolls around!  We have thoroughly enjoyed making amazing memories on our trips.