Family Travel Budgeting: No Savings, No Trip

We love travelling.  But we don’t like borrowing money to travel.  As a result we only go on a big trip every few years as that is how long it takes to save up for each trip.

And while we would like to travel more often we know that borrowing the money to travel is a place we have no interest in going.  And we also don’t like taking money from our other savings as they are our investment for our future retirement plans – where we also plan to be able to do lots of travel!

Family Travel Budgeting: No Savings, No Trip

Budgeting for Family Travel

We have an added issue that travelling as a family with three children is a lot more expensive than travelling as a single or a couple.  If we want to stay sane we need to book accommodation where the children have a separate bedroom, and as a result we are inevitably going to pay more for accommodation.  And airfares are not that cheap for children – you might save a few dollars on taxes for some airfares but apart from that it is close to the same cost as an adult.

Our issue is then compounded by the fact that my husband is a school teacher and is currently only able to take leave during school holiday periods where – you guessed it – the prices are substantially higher than at other times of the year.

My sister recently priced a two week family holiday from Australia to Fiji for her family with three children.  The result – during school holidays $A 9,000, outside school holidays $A 6,000.  Guess which one she has chosen – she prefers to take her children out of school for two weeks to save that much money – and to also have the advantage of being there when it is not packed full of tourists.

[Tweet “Travel during school holidays can cost over 30% more than other times…”]

Our Family Travel Plans

We are currently saving (and have been for a while) for our next big trip.  We watch our travel fund progressively increase and when we get a windfall (thank you this year’s tax return!) we carefully split it between our various savings accounts, and often our travel fund will get a boost through these means.  We also use our travel fund for local travel options – a few days at the beach here, a mini road trip there, as we want to ensure that these activities are funded appropriately and that we are doing some smaller outings with our children on a regular basis.  Every smaller trip also reduces the amount of money in the fund for our next big trip.

The next big trip destination for 2015 is still open for discussion.  I have put together a range of itineraries and costed quite a few options and our current shortlist of two week trips ranges from Japan for ~$A 15,000, Malaysia and Singapore for ~$A 10,000 and Central Australia for ~$A 6,000.

We are careful to only book trips we can afford, and if we haven’t saved enough, then options like the Japan trip will be quickly put off the table and deferred until later and we will choose a cheaper option.

Every time a big Air Asia airfare sale comes up I have ‘the discussion’ with my husband.  ‘Have we got enough money saved yet to actually book something, even if it is a year away?’.  So far we have reached the conclusion that we are not yet ready to make a booking.  But in the not too distant future the time will finally come and we will be ready to decide on our destination and make that booking.  And then wait for potentially a year before we actually depart…

We are now also talking about the follow on bigger trip when my husband finally gets additional leave so we can travel outside school holidays.  It is a few more years away but that long planned 6-7 week road trip to the west coast USA and Canada is on the horizon and we also need to save a lot of money to get all five of us there.  Picture close to $A 30,000 to fund this trip and again we need to keep diligently saving.

But the trip will be awesome and when we finally get there we will have the sense of satisfaction that we put in the work in advance to save for the trip, and that we did it in balance with the rest of the demands on our finances.

Are You Saving For Your Next Trip?

If you are reading this article I can assume that you are also keen to travel, so my question to you is whether you are regularly saving to fund your next trip?  And are you also scaling your trip plans to match your actual savings?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


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6 thoughts on “Family Travel Budgeting: No Savings, No Trip”

  1. I totally agree with you Anne.
    I have always saved for my travel and never used credit – it’s a recipe for disaster.
    Taking the time to save can mean planning and saving for a year or two, but the moment you go it is worth it and you truely treasure your holiday and adventures.

  2. Hi Anne,

    I always love to travel and have travel plans at the back of my mind on any given day. Savings are definitely a concern and I try to keep some funds separate for a good trip. However, if I really want to go somewhere and have the opportunity to, I just go for it!

    • Richa, thanks for your comment. I think there is a balance to be achieved – while travelling is great, if you spend all of your money on it and have no other money put away for your future then it can be a very transitory pleasure. Going travelling with the satisfaction of having saved up and at the same time feeling confident that you have also addressed your other financial neeeds feels even better!

  3. I just recently had the Air Asia discussion with my husband and we did decide to book for a “big trip” a year away. I admit I take my son out of school a week early to avoid school holiday price gouging – and the summer holidays are a no-fly zone for us for the same reason – we are road tripping this January. We do manage to save somewhat by combining work related conferences with family travel which means accommodation is a tax deduction.

    • Danielle, thanks for your comment. It is great to hear that you have the option of travelling outside school holidays. Unfortunately with my husband being a school teacher with no extra leave the only time we can travel as a family is during school holidays… It is great that you are able to claim a tax deduction for your work related travel!

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