There’s only a month left before my two daughters are on summer break and start asking “Mommy, where are we going for vacation?!” Since they are still young doing anything that is a couple hour drive away pleases them.
Because of this we generally take a few days and go down to Mammoth Cave, Kentucky which the whole family loves. We ending having an awesome time that lasts 2-3 days on only a few hundred dollars.
It’s the perfect option for us: close and affordable.
As my kids get a little older I do plan on expanding the vacations a little further than the next state over which had me wondering what the average American family spends on vacation.
What the Average American Family Spends on Vacation
According to a 2013 American Express survey it turns out that vacationers are paying a pretty penny to get away.
The average amount of money spent per person was $1,145 and the average amount per family of four was $4,580.
The top vacation spots were:
- New York
Is $4,580 a lot to spend on a family vacation? The answer really depends on who you ask. For me, I just cannot fathom spending that much. If you’re in the same boat here’s how you can make your summer vacation costs come in at much less while still having a great time.
How to Save on Summer Vacation Costs
Here are seven ways you can save on or for your vacation costs…
Use Digit Savings App – Digit is a savings app that will learn your spending habits and pull small amounts of money from your checking into your savings account. The theory behind Digit is that it can learn what you can live without and only pulls money from your checking account in such small increments that you won’t notice. Sign up for Digit for free here.
Try Credit Card Churning – While I’m normally not one to advocate “churning” credit cards there can be some huge benefits if you’re an avid traveler or are planning a big vacation. In case you’ve never heard of it the term credit card churning refers to signing up for credit cards just to get the bonus.
If you plan on doing this you need to proceed with extreme caution and carefully execute your plan so that you don’t get yourself in debt or ruin your credit. Here’s a good article that goes into more detail on this process.
Use Your Credit Card Rewards – If you’re like me, not willing to churn credit cards for their bonuses, then why not just use credit card rewards? I have one credit card that I charge a little money on each month, pay off in full and accumulate rewards. If you’re in a similar situation you could consider using the same method to help fund part of your vacation.
Stay Close to Home – The closer you to stay to home the less money you’re going to spend in transportation.
Vacation in Off Seasons – If you want to spend the most money possible on your vacation then go during peak season when every other vacationer is going. If you want to save money do the opposite. You can find flights and hotels at a much cheaper price by visiting an attraction at a slower time of the year.
Save on Food – Instead of planning on eating out at every meal find a place to stay where you can prepare at least some of your own food. This can save you a huge amount of money. Then when you go out to eat check for a Groupon first.
Use Traditional Savings Methods – If you’re planning on taking a big trip you’re going to need some extra money. There aren’t many ways around this. Leave your credit cards at home and start saving in advance. Determine how much money you’ll need and then plan out what you need to stash away each week.
Taking vacations with your family is a great way to build lasting memories. However, vacations aren’t worth a bunch of credit card debt. Use your creativity to plan and save before you start booking your trip with money you don’t have.