7 Creative Ways to Afford Your Family Vacation
In our last post we looked at setting up your family vacation budget. Today we will discuss 7 creative ways to make money so you can afford your dream family vacation to Europe.
The first time our family traveled to Europe with our 12 month old daughter, we sold 90% of our belongings as we planned to travel for the year. While we were able to make $28,000 from that endeavor, you do not need to sell all of your belongings to take a 2 week vacation.
These tips include some small daily changes you can make and a few bigger options if you want to reach your goal even faster. I’ve also created a goal tracker pdf for you so you can keep your family vacation top of mind and a priority for the whole family.
Put this on the fridge so everyone can see your progress and work together. Be sure to fill it in as you get closer to reaching your goal!
Tip #1: Make Travel a Priority
I have heard this sage advice countless times and while it is normally attributed to growing a business, it works with everything I apply it to. What is this advice?
It’s, “what gets measured grows”.
And it’s true. From keeping a list of goals for this blog to tracking our reading lessons on a sticker chart with our daughter, the things we measure do see progress. Once you make traveling as a family a priority and you are willing to measure your progress you will see the benefits quicker than you imagined possible.
Tip #2: Search Your Home for Money
Nope, I’m not talking about looking in the couch cushions for change. This is more about looking around your home, cleaning out things you no longer use, and selling them for extra cash. You can sell the larger items on Craigslist and the smaller items at a one-day garage sale.
I can almost guarantee that if you have never done this before, you will be surprised at how quickly the extra funds can add up. Really! We had friends that hosted their first garage sale when they were moving to a new house. In one weekend, they generated over $1000 in sales. This is from stuff your kids have outgrown, house decor you no longer fancy, and just general stuff. It can be quite amazing.
If you have larger pieces like furniture, electronics, kitchen stuff, etc. the money can really add up. Remember how we were able to make $28,000 from selling our stuff in Colorado? Yes, we sold most of our belongings, but we definitely could have made a major dent in our vacation budget without hurting the comfort of our everyday living.
What do you have in your home that you can part with?
Tip #3: Open a Vacation Savings Account
Did you know that you can split your direct deposit for your paycheck from work? Most employers will allow more than one bank account for your funds. If this is a possibility for you, set aside a specific amount each paycheck.
If you get paid twice a month and set aside $100 each paycheck, you will have $2,400 by the end of the year and the smaller deductions will not be as noticeable twice a month as it would be in one lump sum at the end of the year.
Tip #4: Earmark Your Tax Return
Speaking of the end of the year…if you receive a tax refund you can use those funds for a family vacation. I know the money experts reading this will say that you should save the money or adjust your deductions throughout the year in order to minimize your returns (blah, blah, blah). How many of us actually listen to that advice?
Since you’re probably not listening either, this is great money to use however you see fit. We prioritize travel so it’s never really a question for us to how we will spend our tax refunds.
Tip #5: Make Extra Money on the Side
In today’s sharing economy, there are more ways to earn extra money on the side. With companies like Uber and Lyft you can become a cab driver on the weekends. If you have extra space in your home, you can rent it out on Airbnb.
We have never done either of those things, but we both have done freelance work. You probably have skills people will pay you for. Examples include social media assistance, website work, running errands, handyman help, housekeeping, babysitting, tutoring, etc. There are lots of options when you get creative.
Tip #6: Cut Back on Expenses
This one is a tried and true tip for anyone that has ever saved money in the past. The reason it keeps being said is because it works. The bummer part is that like a diet to lose weight, it’s not much fun. That’s why it’s better for a short term goal and not something I’d recommend as a long term strategy.
However, if you are still addicted to lattes in the morning and lunch out everyday, look at how you can cut back. Can you switch to an americano and doctor it up with the free milk, cinnamon and sugar? Condsider splitting your lunch in half so that the one purchase feeds you for 2 days. These small changes can add up over time and not feel as restricitve.
Tip #7: Pay in Miles
Do you use a credit card? Is it a milage credit card? If not, it might be good for you to look into a travel rewards credit card like this one. We have traveled internationally 5 times and never paid full price for airline tickets.
Choose a card with a high signup bonus in order to maximize your point earnings. If you are married or in a relationship, each adult could apply for a credit card and then you can each earn the milage bonus.
We also recommend using your points with the airline directly for better exchange rates. For example, 30k points will only grant you a $300 travel voucher on the Chase Ultimate Rewards site, but will actually get you a one way economy ticket to Europe on United Airlines. Depending on the price of the ticket, buying directly with the airline is a better option.
That’s it! Implementing these 7 strategies will help you afford your family vacation to Europe sooner than you thought possible. Some of them are simple and seem too easy. Others will take more planning or be hard to sustain long term. But, if you are serious about seeing the world, affording the trip will not be the thing holding you back.
If you missed it, be sure to check out the other posts in this series. We’re writing about how to make a family vacation to Europe happen.
Love it? Pin it!
31 days to making your European Family Vacation happen. These 7 creative ideas will show you how to afford the trip of a lifetime including tips for saving money and a free goal tracker.