Budgeting for a Vacation


budgeting for a vacation

It’s currently freezing outside.  So, I’m naturally dreaming about warmer weather.  Previously, I wrote about how taking a vacation can actually earn you more money.  So I started thinking, where should we go this year?


The Caribbean

budgeting for a vacationIn the past, our family has gravitated towards the Caribbean during the winter, but with the Zika outbreak, my wife and I are trying to exercise caution.  I’ve done a little bit of research and know that Zika is mostly contained.  Resorts tout that they consistently spray down their properties, which makes me happy since a pest control company is a part of 10% of my portfolio.  While we might be too cautious, we are going to pass on the Caribbean until there is greater resolution or until we stop growing our family.


So with the Caribbean off limits, where else could we go?  Each year, I am able to take off four weeks from work.  This is normally a mix of staycations and usually a trip or two as well.  


A Cruise

This past year, we took an amazing New England cruise with our son.  While we wouldn’t mind cruising again, there are some other places that we might want to explore.  


Oh, Canada

budgeting for a vacationOne location that we have penciled in is Toronto this summer for a quick weekend getaway.  Flights are fairly cheap and through TripAdvisor, and we have found some really interesting things to do in that city.  I’d also love to see Niagara Falls.  I’ve always heard that Niagara Falls from the Canada side is more spectacular than the U.S. side.  So I’ll have to see for myself 🙂


My parents are also thinking about joining us on the trip.  My mom has an old friend that lives up there, so if they come with us, that might help determine if we stay in a hotel or Airbnb.


For those that have been or live in Toronto, is a weekend trip too short, or is it just right?  I also welcome any suggestions you have on sights to see, restaurants to visit, and especially where to stay.



budgeting for a vacationSo, I know some of you that follow the blog closely are thinking, wait Toronto?  Aren’t I obsessed with Iceland?  Yes, you are correct.  


My biggest concern is my son on a flight for six hours.  He is an active little boy, and he has very little interest in watching TV for more than a few minutes.  So I am a bit concerned of how we would keep him occupied on a flight.  Especially since he would be contained to his seat.  I would also hate to do an overnight flight and subject passengers to his crying or screaming, if he is not happy.  So while I’d love to go in late August, I’m not sure it will be feasible for us this year.  If you have any tips on flying with a rowdy one year old, I welcome any suggestions.


The Beach

budgeting for a vacationWhile it may not be the Caribbean, we are still considering a beach trip somewhere on the East Coast, unaffected by Zika.  September seems to be a nice, quiet time, when most of the kids are back in school and beach rentals tend to be a bit cheaper.  We were able to go down to the beach during that time of year a couple of years ago, and there is definitely a different vibe down at the beach, post-crowds.  The weather is also still really nice.  I’m sure my son would be able to get out all his energy rolling around on the beach.  It will also be really nice to be able to catch up on some reading on my Kindle while soaking in some September sun.



budgeting for a vacationFinally, I really hope that I have an opportunity to go to FinCon this year in Dallas, TX.  I have heard so many great things about it, and I’m really sorry that I didn’t get an opportunity to go last year.  At that time, I was so green with the blog that I wasn’t even sure how I would do as an introvert.  Hopefully though I’ll have the confidence to go this year.  


I haven’t signed up yet though, as I was looking for a new job and wanted to ensure that the conference wasn’t held during a particularly heavy workload time.  So, I’ll have a much better idea of the office when I start my position.  The last thing that I wanted to do was drop money on a non-transferrable FinCon pass.


If you plan on attending, please let me know as it will definitely allay some of my fears of walking into a room full of strangers.  


Average Budget for Vacations

budgeting for a vacationSo with all these vacations and trips planned, I wondered about the amount of money that people budgeted for vacations.  The average family of four spends around $4,000-$4,700 a year on a vacation.  Almost half of the cost of a vacation is spent on transportation alone.  Of course, some of you are professional travel hackers and have all sorts of ways to save tons of money in this area.  Unfortunately, the average family may not be aware of all the savings tricks, as the above figures represent almost 8% of a family’s budget, based on a median income of $52,000.


Our Budget for Vacations

budgeting for a vacationMy wife and I make a little bit more than the median income, and the past couple of years our vacation budget as come out to roughly 2-3% of our total budget.  Although I will admit that we did blow our vacation budget a couple of years ago after we paid off our mortgage when we backpacked through Europe as a celebration.  Eight cities in 16 days is no small feat!


So readers what are your vacation plans this year?  Do you spend as much as the average American?  Do you budget for your vacation?  Share your thoughts below.

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Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.


  1. Regarding Toronto- If make it at least a long weekend so you can see surrounding southern Ontario. While you do have some landmarks to see in the city, you’ve got to do a day trip to Niagara (falls and wine country).

    Also, I’m considering FinCon, but haven’t made up my mind yet either.
    Daniel Palmer recently posted…Why I Don’t Do My Own Oil ChangesMy Profile

    • Thanks for the tips on Toronto Daniel!!! Niagara Falls is a major selling point of Toronto 🙂

      As FinCon gets closer you’ll definitely have to share what you decide!!!

  2. Have you been to Hawaii? It’s like paradise.. though… super expensive. Lucky for me, my sister won a trip for our family and we were able to go for relatively cheap (well, my parents paid for me as well, so cheap for them ;)) Also, Colorado and going through the Rockies is a fun trip.

    For travel this year, I’m not sure yet. I have the cash to be able to do something, but I usually don’t pull the trigger on travel as easily as others. While it’s 1 degree outside right now, it’s gorgeous in the summer in Minnesota. I really enjoy stay-cations, go golfing around the city, hit the lakes, etc.
    Erik @ The Mastermind Within recently posted…Conversation CasanovaMy Profile

    • I definitely want to go to Hawaii one of these days 🙂 My biggest issue is the 11 hour flight from the East Coast. I’m not sure I can last that long with a baby. The flight to Toronto is a 1.5 hours so we were going to test to see how that goes before we venture much longer 🙂

      Minnesota I’ve heard is amazing in the summer and definitely something I wouldn’t mind visiting along with Colorado one of these days.

  3. You have great options on your vacation plate for this year. We have also starting talking vacations. We completely blew our budget last year with a 2-week vacation. One of those weeks was spent at Disney World. This was our once-in-a-lifetime Disney trip for our daughter so we knew we would be dropping bank. We did. We spent twice what you listed as average. But again, it was also a 2-week vacation.

    You can definitely do Toronto in a weekend. I was there on business and it seemed to be appropriate for a weekend getaway spot. Canadian side of Niagara Falls has the beautiful gardens and you can see the falls from across the way. But the falls themselves are on the US side. You can walk right up next to them on the US side. You could touch the water or jump in if you’d like ;).

    No advice for a young child on a long flight. We’re only now considering longer trips with our daughter. She’s 7. The beach is always a great option. What kid (or adult) doesn’t love the beach?

    Whatever you decide, you’ll need to blog about your adventure!

    As far as FinCon goes, I think I’m going to take the plunge this year, as well! I feel more confident in my blogging persona and abilities to drop the cash. Hopefully I’ll see you there!
    Mad Money Monster recently posted…We’re Unapologetically Breaking BadMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Mad Money Monster!!!

      We are already starting to plan for Disney in a couple of years. I still remember when I went as a little kid and I would definitely love to share that experience with our son.

      Thanks for the tips on Toronto and the Niagara Falls. We’re really excited about it.

      Hope to see you at FinCon, I’m really looking forward to it this year…especially since I’ve never been.

  4. We’re planning to go on a spring road trip – since my kids are older we need to work around school vacations. Last year we went to PA/DC/VA, and this year we’re planning to drive in a loop between RI/MA/NH/VT/NY. Interestingly we’re planning to see Niagara falls too, but from the US side, because I don’t want to shell out for four passports (only I have an active passport) to go to Canada. As for the one year old, I bet he’d be fine in the plane. I’ve not taken a one year old on a long plane ride, but I have taken one on a 24 hour car ride to FL – and then another 24 hour ride total back to CT. The key was leaving at night so he’d sleep through the bulk of the trip, taking lots of walking breaks, and bringing plenty of things to do. This is back before cell phones too, so nowadays you could download plenty of movies and shows for your son to watch.
    Liz@ChiefMomOfficer recently posted…Seven Trials and Tribulations of Being a Full Time Breadwinning MomMy Profile

    • The RI/MA/NH/VT/NY sounds like a fun trip. Sounds like a lot of amazing hiking and site seeing. We did a New England and Canada cruise last year and had a blast. So I can only imagine how much fun you all are going to have!!!

  5. We spend as much as the average American household in raw dollars but travel hacking keeps the amounts to about a third to a half that in any given year. We are taking the kids to the Caribbean again in a few weeks. Zika should only really be a risk if your pregnant. That’s not really a risk for us. We’re spending a week in Martinique. I also have a surprise trip coming up for my wife’s birthday I won’t share just yet. As for kids I’ve found the more you travel the easier it is with them. They adapt.
    Fulltimefinance recently posted…Persistence and Financial SuccessMy Profile

    • Sounds like you are a serious travel hacker especially if you are able to spend 1/3 to 1/2 based on raw dollars. I’m definitely going to have to glean some tips from you 🙂

  6. If you decide to come to Toronto, let me know, I am a local here. Niagara Falls is just about a 1.5 hour drive. One thing that you gotta try in Toronto is the multicultural foods. Most of my relatives from the U.S. visit Toronto just for food. Oh yeah, not to mention, you get a 30% increase to your budget because of the exchange rate.

    For vacation budget, 8% sounds reasonable, but my fear is also the kids acting up. One of the main reasons that I haven’t travel in the recent years is managing my kids’ routines. It’s not a vacation if you have more stress than your normal days. Also paying 8% of your salary is going to be a double whammy.
    Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k recently posted…The Second Step To Saving A Million DollarsMy Profile

    • I will definitely let you know Leo when we come up. I definitely want to hear all the hot spots that we’ll need to hit.

      Toronto I’ve heard is amazing and has been on my bucket list for the past couple of years.

      Plus it doesn’t help if the exchange rate is favorable right now 🙂

  7. Interesting list of places you got there. Tough to choose from them, they all look amazing!

    For me personally me family is looking to head up to Japan or Korea this year, depending on our schedule. It will probably be a pretty expensive vacation as this is the first time we are taking one as a family. The last one was ages ago! I’m looking forward to mine and I hope you enjoy yours too!
    T@TheTirelessWorker.com recently posted…I am the happiest when I go to bed tired!My Profile

    • Wow Japan or Korea!!! Both of those places would be amazing. I’ve never been to either but have heard great things. You’ll have to share which one you decide to visit!!!

  8. My wife and I are currently planning a getaway for next month hopefully. Tough decision on where to go. We want to stay in the US this time. We are thinking either Florida, South Carolina, or Arizona. I really do miss the all inclusive resorts that you find on the Caribbean though 🙂
    Mr Defined Sight recently posted…Are Extroverts Better Money Earners?My Profile

    • My wife and her family LOVE all inclusives in the Caribbean. I had only been to one prior to vacationing with them but it’s definitely nice not having to worry about food and drinks 🙂

      You’ll have to share where you end up going. You can go wrong with any of those places!!!

  9. I don’t have that huge travel bug that a lot of people have, so luckily that works in favor financially. I did a road trip through Utah/Colorado a couple years ago and LOVED it. Our national parks are underrated (and probably in danger if Trump has his way). Here’s a video I made of my trip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZKKImAf7pc
    This year though I’m finally getting back to Europe for just over two weeks. I’m doing part tour and part solo. I try not to worry about making it too dirt cheap since I don’t get there that often.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Living a Simple Life in a Big City: Part OneMy Profile

    • Wow your video is amazing!!! I have to admit that I haven’t done any National Parks and I definitely want to.

      You’ll have to share how your Europe trip goes. My wife and I had a blast a couple of years ago and would love to go back!!!

    • I’ve only visited LA but have always wanted to go to San Diego and the surrounding cities.

      We tried a cruise with a 11 month old. I wouldn’t recommend it 🙂

  10. I never take a vacation without a budget, I also almost always pre-pay for most of it. This reduces any frugal anxiety on the trip and helps me relax more. If you decide on FinCon in Dallas, let me know. I’m debating whether I should go, especially since I’m local. October is normally a great time to visit the city.
    Max Your Freedom recently posted…Should I Share my Net Worth?My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Max Your Freedom!!!! I definitely agree that having a budget takes a lot of the anxiety away. It removes the need for me to think will I regret this later 🙂

      If I make it down for FinCon I will definitely let you know!!!

  11. Travel for holidays is also one of my favourite experiences.
    Early Jan, we booked our first family holiday with air travel. I am curious to see how the kids will react. We plan to do national parks, cities, beach and amusement parks. All optional, we go with the flow.
    ambertree recently posted…Meetup fun in AntwerpMy Profile

    • Sounds like you are all ready for your holiday 🙂

      Between the national parks, cities, beaches and amusement parks at your disposal you all are going to have a blast!!!

  12. I hope to see you at FinCon! I signed up a few months ago during their promo sale. I’m also super shy, so thinking about it makes my heart race a little–it’s my first time going. Hopefully we can meet up and be quiet together. 🙂

    You know, Mr. Picky Pincher and I don’t currently budget for vacations. We treat our student debt like an emergency, so that means all extra funds go directly towards our debt. Once they’re eliminated, though, I’d like to take Mr. Picky Pincher on a trip to South Korea or Japan. He’s never been abroad before, and it would be a fun trip for us before having kids.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…7 Ways To Cut Your Grocery Bill In HalfMy Profile

    • Six months after my wife and I paid off our house AND I had graduated from B-School my wife and I took a trip to Europe. It was amazing and such a carefree experience.

      I definitely encourage you to celebrate when you pay off your debt!!!

  13. We are planning a Disney and California trips this year. We are using rewards points to cover the cost of hotel and flight to Disney. It also looks like we will do the same for flight to CA. We will stay with family when we arrive, so cost saving there. We budget and save ahead of time for any vacations. We used to use credit cards to cover cost and worry about paying them off after the fact. A paid for ahead of time vacation is so much better!
    Brian recently posted…Spending Habits of Our TeenagersMy Profile

    • Wow sounds like you have some great travel plans coming up!!! Plus to have it all budgeted and saved along with some travel hacks must be a nice feeling. Can’t wait to hear all about your trips!!!

  14. We had a colder than usual winter and I am so ready for spring. Mrs. RB40 is in Hawaii right now for a business trip, so lucky! I was thinking about going with her, but the trip was too sudden. Anyway, I think this year we’ll go to Cancun. We’ve never been there before so it should be fun. I got a ton of points on my Chase account so the trip should be very cheap.

    • Thanks for sharing Joe!!! While I don’t love to travel for work I wouldn’t mind taking a business trip to Hawaii. Sounds like she’s a very valuable employee 🙂

      I’ve heard some really great things about Cancun and the beaches look fantastic.

      You’ll have to share your experience!!!

  15. We went to Buffalo last spring because my wife’s brother lives there and took a trip to Toronto. If you’re there a few days, the City Pass seems like a good deal. Can get admission to CN Tower, Aquarium, Zoo, Science Museum, a castle and some other place for under $60. When we flew with my son when he was 1 1/2 years old, it was only a 3 hour flight and he fell asleep on the way there for most of the flight. Coming back my wife brought some toys for him and the tv distracted him for a bit. Since we just had another baby, we’ll probably go something driving distance…maybe Pennsylvania where there are some children’s theme parks.

    • Thanks for sharing the awesome tip Andrew about the City Pass!!! I’ll definitely have to look it up and get more information.

      I am somewhat terrified of keeping my son entertained on a plane so I wouldn’t mind him falling asleep during nap time but we’ll see how it goes 🙂

  16. I am an hour from Toronto and Niagara Falls and there is lots to see and do in Ontario. Budget travel is my thing! We have been to Disney multiple times, California, Cuba, Mexico and Europe (London, Belgium, France and Ireland) all done thriftily. We did the Europe trip in November and we have decided not to go anywhere this year and get serious about paying down the debt.
    Jennifer Connolly recently posted…Blog HostingMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Jennifer!!! Sounds like you all have done some serious traveling.

      I would love to visit Belgium and France!!! Those are definitely two places I’d love to go if we ever go back.

  17. Man, Iceland is the place to be for personal finance bloggers. I’ve read so many blog posts about people who have just gotten back or are considering it. We had friends go a few years ago, and it’s been on my list for several years.

    We probably spend a little more than the average on vacations. This year we’ll come in lower as our 10 year anniversary trip to Hawaii is being funded completely by credit card reward points. Been saving those babies for a while now!
    Go Finance Yourself! recently posted…Investing in an Expensive Stock MarketMy Profile

    • Wow you’re going to Hawaii!!! I’ve heard such amazing experiences there. Plus to have it funded by credit card points. That sounds like a perfect vacation to me 🙂

  18. “The average family of four spends around $4,000-$4,700 a year on a vacation.” Sounds about right. Most people don’t want to deal with the hassle of credit card hacking, so they just pay. I think a lot of people either aren’t interested or don’t prioritize learning about personal finances, at least from what I’ve seen.

    We have a big trip planned to St. Martin this Summer, though we haven’t booked it quite yet. We of course would get free flights : )
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…Are Millennials Saving for Retirement? The Latest ResearchMy Profile

  19. I love cruises and hope to go on another one in a couple years. They definitely make it easy to see a lot of places without a whole lot of planning. I love easy vacations

  20. If you plan to visit Niagara falls, please read my post – “A Walk Across Rainbow Bridge” – http://stretchadime.com/a-walk-across-rainbow-bridge/. You can actually walk across this bridge from US to Canada. It is only 400 meters long. We did it and it was so much fun. You need ensure that you have all your travel documents (US passports) with you.

    We are thinking of going on a road trip this year to New Mexico during spring break. Will have to see how it goes.

  21. Those sound like some excellent options! We are partial to warm weather and sun, so the Caribbean is our choice 🙂

    We will be heading to Jamaica this spring and then Barcelona early summer. The Jamaica trip is travel hacked for free and so are the tickets to Spain. We are working on travel hacking the rest of the Spain trip 🙂

  22. I love all of the options you have! We normally stay semi-close however since my kids are getting older I plan on traveling a bit farther over the next few years. On the bright side, since we do always stay close-ish to home our budget is a fraction of the national average.

    • Thanks for sharing Alexa!!! I have definitely done close-ish vacations and if it wasn’t for the cruise out of Baltimore last year we probably would have only done staycations. So it will be nice to get out this year 🙂

  23. I’m not entirely sure about my travel plan this year, but last year, I was able to travel hack and visit up more than 9 countries. All of it was mainly thanks to credit card points and miles.

    If we both happen to hit up FinCon together, I’m more than happy to talk with you about this. I’m also considering on going, but I’m not entirely sure yet.
    Smart Provisions recently posted…Net Worth Report: January 2017 EditionMy Profile

  24. We have a two-week family trip to England and Ireland this summer. Both of our sons will be 18+ by then and the legal drinking age over there is 18… so this is going to be interesting.

    We really like to travel, so we save a good bit each month towards our travel budget. Some years we take a smaller vacation and ‘roll over’ the leftover travel budget to future vacations. That’s how we are affording the trip this summer.
    Mr. Need2Save recently posted…Roth IRA: The Supreme Kick Starter for Young Adults & TeensMy Profile

    • Wow a two week vacation in England and Ireland sounds amazing. My wife and I were able to visit London and Dublin a couple of years ago but would love to experience more of each country. Sounds like you are going to have a memorable trip…especially if your sons decide to take advantage of their legal status 🙂

  25. We don’t have any big plans this year. We took a big vacation to Orlando and the Florida Keys last summer, along with a week in Colorado. This year, we are keeping it somewhat local – just rent a cabin on a lake. We are planning another big vacation next year, though. Our son is graduating from high school and we told him he had his choice of vacation spots, so he has chosen Hawaii. We travel hacked our airfare to Florida last year and plan to do the same for Hawaii, plus we are already saving.

    Looking forward to seeing where you go! And I hope you get to FinCon! Would love to meet you in real life! 🙂
    Amanda @ centsiblyrich recently posted…Centsibly Rich Blog, Money, and Life Update: January 2017My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Amanda!!! Your son picked out an amazing vacation spot from what I hear. Hawaii is definitely on my bucket list and from the comments of other bloggers it is a place I wanna go.

      I am really looking forward to FinCon and would love to catch up in person 🙂

  26. I love going to the beach in the shoulder seasons, though we usually go in May rather than September due to track out schedules. It’s so much cheaper to rent a place for a week!

    We also did Orlando last year, and tried to keep things in check by booking our hotel through Groupon, staying with family for a couple of days, and limiting the park days to 2.

    We’ve been reluctant to fly anywhere with our 6-year-old, though she handled the drive from Raleigh to Orlando last year very well. I can certainly sympathize with your worries about long flights with your son at his age. That said, I keep nudging my hubby that I’d love to take an Alaska cruise one of these days.
    Emily Jividen recently posted…From Playground to Boardroom: The Kindergarten Guide to Career SuccessMy Profile

    • My wife and I went on an Alaskan cruise. My wife did not want to go because her ideal vacation is sipping pina coladas by the ocean. With that said she LOVED Alaska and has told me multiple times that she wants to go back. So I highly recommend it!!!

  27. We spend the average amount annually, but that’s across about 2-4 weeks of several vacations, throughout the year, with using miles and points in addition to cash spending.

    Our 15 month old actually handled the 5 hour flight to Hawaii relatively well, last year, though we were exhausted. Ze was very active, and we spent half the time walking up and down the aisles. One is the perfect age for them to be entertained by the strangers, and be admired as cute when you do the aisle walk, so that might not be as bad as you’re expecting. I shared how we coped and packed, and of course our mistakes, here: http://agaishanlife.com/2016/06/our-experience-flying-with-your-small-kid-wont-kill-you/

    Now we’re facing a 12-14 hour flight with our JuggerBaby when/if we travel to Asia this year and I’m REALLY not sure how we’re going to manage that! 🙂

    See you at FinCon if you decide to go, and nothing prevents us from going!
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…Just a little (link) love: Lion Dance Lunar New Year editionMy Profile

  28. We do family trips about every other year. My mom, and sister, my aunt (mom’s sister), uncle and cousin. This year was Hawaii, cruise to the different islands and then 5 days on Oahu. Amazing!
    2 years ago through my cousins work we got a great deal on a Carribean 7 day cruise. Puerto Rico, St Thomas, Grand Turk, st. Croix.
    In 2009 we did Alaska. My uncle planned the land tour for 1 week and then 1 week on Princess for the cruise portion.
    The every other year part is for us younger ones to save up $ & vacation time. (Part of my FIRE goal is so I can travel at will.) I am hoping to do something like England Ireland Scotland in 2018.
    My mom aunt and I went to a guest ranch in CA for horse back riding a couple times.
    I’m off to visit Mom in Florida in March, and then was just going to take long weekends, and save up vacation time for next year.
    My mom does summer in PA, so I go there for long weekends Memorial day, 4th of July, Labor day as mini vacays. My dad has a place at the beach if that is my interest too.
    I can highly recommend Spring Lake NJ in September from everything dad has said. Water temperatures are beautiful and the crowds are low.
    Best of luck with the small one & Toronto sounds like a great time.

    • Wow it sounds like you have been everywhere. I am definitely a little jealous of all the places that you have gone.

      Plus to visit England/Ireland/Scotland in 2018 sounds amazing. I know that will definitely be a trip of a lifetime.

      Also thank for the recommendation on Spring Lake, NJ. I’m going to take a look 🙂

  29. Don’t get too scared about flying with a one year old. We just did it to China (including a domestic transfer) and it was much better than expected. The key is to find a flight that is during the kid’s regular sleeping time. My daughter slept through almost the whole flight on the way there. It might be the white noise of the engine or something…
    Roadrunner recently posted…Behind the Great Firewall of ChinaMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Roadrunner!!! I forgot about the white noise factor plus the vibrations of the plane might help. We’re going to test it out hopefully when we go to Toronto and see how that works out for him.

  30. Gotta love heading on holidays, like the varied sounds of your locations MSM :)!

    My vacation plans for this year are to head over to various parts of Africa for 6 months on my “mini-retirement”.. As for whether I spend more than the average american, yep I probably do given that the Aussie $ is lower at the moment, generally I do budget for it yes

  31. If you’re leaning toward an east-coast beach vacation, September is a great time to visit Virginia Beach (my hometown). Tourist crowds in June-August are awful (which is why you won’t find many locals at the oceanfront unless they’re working), but September is much slower and the weather is generally still great.

    I can also point you toward the beaches that locals use – it’ll make for a much more relaxing environment than Atlantic Ave.

    • I’d love to pick your brain Mack!!! I haven’t visited Va. Beach in years but I definitely enjoy the times that I visited. I’m definitely curious to hear the beaches the locals use. Please share!!!

  32. Hey MSM,

    Once again, great article! I think sometimes we can get so focused on what we are trying to create in the future that we forget to enjoy and plan for the present.
    My wife and I set our vacation budget based on near-, medium-, and long-term goals. For example, we have yearly, 5 year, 10 year and 25 year travel budgets set. This is just us but we have a budget for $1000 for annual travel, $5000 for every 5th year ($4000 + $1000 from yearly), $10,000 for every 10th year ($5000 + $4000 from 5th year + $1000 from yearly) and $25000 for 25th year ($20,000 + $4000 from 5th year + $1000 from yearly). What most people don’t realize is that when you work out the math, that’s only $120 per pay period that we save to accomplish that.
    Children have not been factored into the budget yet but we set that up so that each year we can do some local (3-6 hours), maybe international on 5th year, and so on.
    Just an idea if any readers want a simple snowball plan to vacation budgeting.

    • Thanks for sharing Holden!!! I love the various buckets that you have set up for budgeting for vacation. That 25th year trip sounds like it is going to be epic. Any idea of where you all want to go?

      • The 25th should be epic! We have these various buckets at Betterment and by the time the 25th arrives, it’s estimated that bucket will have grown to $40k-$65k. The strategy serves as both a vacation and a shadow retiremen/savings account. Very neat.

        We have been to Scotland and Italy already, but would love to go back. Items on our list:
        – Villa Gaeta on Lake Cuomo, Italy where part of Casino Royal was filmed (Probably our next getaway)
        – Canadian train tour through the Rockies
        – Norwegian Kayaking
        – William Wallace tour in Scotland
        – Western Germany (wine country)
        – Bed & Breakfast cottage in Rural France
        – Vacation in London and have a custom suit made on Savile Row
        – Corsica, France
        Holden Alexander recently posted…Economics Experienced: A Hidden Gem from the DepressionMy Profile

        • Since I’m Norwegian by blood and have visited I highly recommend Norway 🙂 But honestly you can’t go wrong with any of the places that you chose. My sister in law wants to go to Scotland while I’m trying to convince my wife we should go to Iceland or Antarctica 🙂

  33. Hi MSM,
    I just found your blog through Pinterest and I am thoroughly enjoying. My husband and I have 3 kids (including an almost 1 year old) and we are still trying to narrow down a budget friendly family trip for the summer that will also be toddler friendly. We live in Maryland and are considering a road trip through DC and then possibly a slow drive up to Niagara (on the US side only because our kids don’t yet have passports). I will be attending FinCon this year. It will be my first time and I’m super excited!

    • Thanks for stopping by Nicole!!! We’re from VA and are talking about doing Niagara Falls from the Canada side. We got my son a passport at 6 months when we went on a cruise last year to Canada 🙂 So we’re really looking forward to it.

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