There are a lot of people stuck in the same rut. They want to travel more, see more of the world, and spend quality time with their family. But they simply have trouble finding the time, and/or the money, to vacation more.
We keep putting it off, expecting that our responsibilities will shrink in the near future. But they rarely do. And we just keep missing opportunities to make worthwhile memories with our kids. Here, we’re going to look at how we can stop procrastinating and make the time for family vacations that we all deserve.
How To Vacation More With Your Family
Budget like crazy
If affordability is one of your chief concerns, then you need to start rethinking how you pay for and how you spend during your vacations. It’s not too difficult to save when traveling; it simply means doing a lot more research before you go.
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For instance, there are plenty of flight and hotel price comparison websites. When it comes to hotels, you might be able to find huge savings by subscribing to the e-newsletters many of them publish, which offer vouchers on a regular basis.
If you’re making a trip to a place where someone is already waiting for you (like a friend or family member), you can even save money by shipping your luggage in advance of your own flight, too.
Use the holidays
Perhaps money isn’t the problem, but finding the time away from school and work is. Summer might be the perfect time for kids out of school to get away, but we adults don’t get nearly as much time set aside for us.
If you simply can’t find enough time away from work to make for a great vacation, then your best bet is to wait for the holidays throughout the year that you already get time off on. Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, Christmas, and other scheduled vacation days at your place of employment can really help you squeeze in more vacations.
Simply save up whatever days off you get throughout the year and add them onto those pre-scheduled days off from your employer. You could soon have a nice, long holiday trip in the making – without causing your kids to miss too many days of school, since they likely have some of the same days off as you do!
Take a “staycation”
More and more people are discovering that you don’t need to go far from home to have a great vacation with your kids. In fact, sometimes you don’t need to leave the home at all. A staycation takes the comfort and exploration of a vacation and brings it much closer.
You could rent a property that’s not too far away from you or simply stay at home and buy all the food and luxuries you and your kids could want. Find some of the local attractions or events you’ve never had the time to visit.
The majority of us simply don’t make the best use of what’s around us because we don’t notice it in our day-to-day life. All it takes is a little research, or brainstorming a list of all those “someday” things close to home, and you’ll have a super staycation all planned out.
Camp close to home
If you still want to feel like you’re exploring and breaking new ground, then camping somewhere close to home might be the perfect mix of new but easily accessible. With dozens of national parks in the United States, you might be surprised to find closer options to you than you’d previously thought.
If there’s a national park near you, you owe it to yourself and your family to get out and explore it. Even though my brother works for the National Park Service, we still discovered several new national parks within easy driving distance this past summer – places that were perfect for camping but had never crossed my radar screen before!
And if you can’t find one close enough, or get reservations for when you want, look to your state park network. State parks are a great place to start for locating other campgrounds closer to home. Some states even have an annual or seasonal pass that will give you free parking and/or reduced rates for camping, and others offer lower campsite fees for in-state residents. Look on your state’s Department of Natural Resources website for more information.
Grab the opportunity
You might have trouble planning the exact time that you have free. If you’re not able to plan far in advance, it can be difficult to book a well-priced flight.
Then, you suddenly find some time off, but you don’t have anywhere to go. If you’re lucky, however, you might be able to happen on a flight just when you need it.
Some of the cheapest flights you can find include those that are happening in the next day or two. Airlines want to make sure they have a full plane, so shortly before the plane is set to take off, the prices and nosedive. Some airlines even have weekly newsletters with last-minute flight deals, either for those on their mailing list or for members of their rewards programs.
Of course, this might mean you have to essentially wing a whole vacation, so you need to do what research you can on the destination and affordable accommodation very quickly.
Make a living out of it
If you feel you simply can’t take time off when you could be being productive and making money to keep paying the family’s bills, then perhaps your vacations could become a side hustle for you.
There are lots of ways to make money while traveling, including taking photos of the destinations you visit and selling those images to online stock photography websites. One of the fastest-growing travel occupations is that of the travel blogger.
Not only can you make a little cash with every destination you visit thanks to advertising, you might even be able to get heavily discounted or free hotels and more through the right affiliate marketing partnerships.
Turn it into an investment
Do you have one location you love above all else and you would like to visit it with the family as much as possible? Rather than renting accommodation or booking a room, you might want to consider getting a vacation home, instead.
You don’t have to get an entire house; you can just as easily scan the market for all condominium or apartment investment opportunities.
Or if you prefer, there are lots of vacation networks that allow you to buy into a week or two per year – sometimes at a single location, sometimes within a network of accommodations throughout the world. My mother was blessed to inherit one of the latter from her godmother, and all these years later we still take a week of family vacation together thanks to that inheritance!
Not only can you find yourself a place to stay whenever you have the time and opportunity without having any of the hassle of booking accommodation, but you could even make money off it. When you’re not staying in your vacation home, you can rent it out to other travelers instead.
Always be planning
One of the most common budget-related issues when it comes to missing out on travel is that until they figure out their destination, many people don’t save for vacations at all. That means that they have to wait even longer between vacations because they need to think of where they visit before they start putting the money together.
Instead, you can put together a travel fund that you’re contributing towards all throughout the year. Then, when that great vacation idea strikes you, you already have the savings you need to start planning for it. Once you’re done with that trip, you start immediately saving for the next one even if you don’t know where you’re going next.
Forget any guilt
Vacation guilt is a very real thing. Even if you’re making precious memories with your family, you might feel bad about missing out on work and stepping away from your responsibilities.
The best way to get over that guilt is to reframe your thinking about it. Rather than feeling like you’re being lazy, remind yourself that you deserve a reward for all the hard work you put in.
Rather than feeling like you’re missing out on tons of work that you have to catch up, remind yourself that the occasional break is actually much better for your overall productivity rather than going at it every day of the year. The little things we feel guilty about aren’t objective measures of the prospect of a vacation, it’s just self-doubt that we can get over.
It might take a little saving, a lot of investing, or some creative angling, but we can all make more time for the family vacations that make up our fondest memories. Think about which of the tips above you can start planning towards today.
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