For many young families, a dream vacation means taking the kids to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, or to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Disney is all about entertaining children and families in a wholesome, safe and fun environment and people travel from all over the world to share the Disney experience with their families.
President’s Day, the period between Christmas and New Years, and the summer vacation months are traditionally the busiest times at Disney properties. And to make matters worse, these dates are usually blacked out from the special packages and deals. If you plan on taking the family to Disney and traveling during a busy season, be sure to check the fine print on all offers to make sure the promised money savings will be in effect during your visit, and be prepared for long wait times and bigger crowds at the parades and special events. On the upside, staying during the holidays mean special parades, shows and events (have you seen the holiday lights?) at the Disney parks in the United States.
Depending upon the dates of travel, the level of accommodations and amenities desired, making the most of packages and deals, and the cost of travel from your home to either Orlando or Anaheim, a family of four can enjoy a modest vacation of between 5 – 7 days at Disney for between $2,500 – $3,500 dollars. It is always a good idea to plan that type of expense in advance and adjust your monthly household budget to allow for saving money for your dream vacation at Disneyland or Disney World.
If you have a full year to plan for the vacation and expect to spend about $3,500 on the trip, start making that amount your goal and start looking for ways to shift about $300 each month toward the vacation fund. It is easier to not spend money if you don’t have it in your hands, so if you can afford to just redirect the vacation funds from your paycheck, check with your employer to see if they can deduct the designated amount from your check and deposit it directly into a dedicated savings account. If this is not available through your employer, consider opening a bank account with online access and transfer the funds yourself to that account every payday.
Not everyone can just redirect 10-15% of their paychecks to a vacation fund, so you might have to tighten the belt and make some changes to your spending habits to “find that money.” Household and discretionary expenses that typically have some flexibility to make adjustments include:
- Food and Beverage – eat out less and make more food at home
- Personal Care and Grooming – use less expensive products
- Transportation – ride share and consolidate errands to make less trips
- Entertainment- search for free family entertainment (check your local library)
If you get a windfall, such as a large tax refund, a bonus check at the holidays or a large commission check, put away a lump sum into a savings bond or certificate of deposit (CD) with a bank or credit union. Check with several banks to see who has the best interest rate cd and make sure that the CD is insured by the FDIC. Certificates of Deposit have different minimum amounts and varying lengths of time that you must commit to, so check around and find the plan that best meets your needs in the time frame you have.
Having your vacation paid for before you leave makes for a much more relaxing time! What do you plan to do for summer vacation this year and how to do you plan to save?