How I Planned Our Family Vacation

by on May 16th, 2014
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Years ago I would watch my co-workers go on fabulous vacations and wonder how they could afford them. Vacationing in places like Africa, the Caribbean and Europe seemed out of reach for a family of four with two small children. We could have chosen to go without our children, but I feel that travel provides an opportunity for the kids to learn about other places and cultures and is a great way to broaden their view and understanding of the world in which they live.

I knew that I needed to plan in order to make a family vacation outside of our usual camping and ski trips work so I did my research. The first thing that I did was to sit down with my husband and decide where we wanted to go. We decided on St. John, Virgin Islands because we liked the fact that it was a resort where you could relax, but had options like traveling to the British Virgin Islands or taking the free ferry to St. Thomas. I had heard about the great deals on jewelry in St. Thomas so that sealed the deal for me.

I called my closest childhood friend and suggested that we do the trip together and her family decided to go as well. This was perfect because the kids would be able to play together. Planning included researching airfares, estimating the cost of the resort for a week, including the cost of amenities and determining how much spending money was feasible. Our goal was to not use credit cards so that we would not come home to credit card bills and incur interest. Once we set the budget we were determined not to deviate from it.

This particular vacation is one of my favorites and we are avid travelers since we’ve figured out how to plan our vacations. We had the opportunity to charter a boat and go over to the British Virgin Islands on a Sunday when it was available because they were not taking out scuba divers. We took the ferry over to St. Thomas for free and spent the day shopping and sightseeing. We split our day between the beach and the pool with the kids, then got a babysitter so that the couples could go out at night. It was simply fabulous.

The best part of the vacation was that we came home debt free because we planned the trip well in advance. Now I plan our family vacations in January of each year. I start putting money into the vacation club account that we opened at our credit union, research the best times to go that are cost effective, and comparison shop until I have a plan. Then I tell my husband where we’re going, and he has yet to say no. Now that I have figured out how to go wherever I want to go there is no stopping me.

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