The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Columns

April 25, 2014

'Big Joe' Clark: Don't leave home without a budget

As the grass turns green and the temperatures warm up, kids are starting to gaze out classroom windows.

Summer vacation season will soon be upon us and many families have already started planning their getaways. Of course, making the transition from work to pleasure doesn’t happen without some effort. Piling the kids into the car for an eight-hour drive or wading through airport security with bags in hand can be a cause for vacation in and of itself!

Before you embark on your summer adventure, be sure to consider the family budget. Without careful planning, vacation expenses can derail the household budget and create yet another source of stress.

Prior to requesting time off from work and charging the digital camera, make sure your vacation is affordable. There is no reason to incur debt or deepen your debt load just to see a national landmark or bask in the sun’s rays.

Families should not get discouraged if there isn’t room in the budget for taking that trip around the world. While the flight to Europe or Hawaii might need to be put on hold, there are still plenty of places to take the kids or grandkids and enjoy time together.

What’s important is recognizing budget constraints and planning a family adventure around them. First, determine how much you can afford to spend. With that number in mind, you can begin looking for a vacation destination. Doing the planning in this order is the first step to stress-free traveling and managing expectations.

How much will the family vacation cost? A common mistake travelers make is to consider transportation and accommodation expenses, but overlook incidental costs. Be sure to consider snacks and meals, souvenirs, transportation once you arrive, and any tours, park fees or excursions. All of these “incidentals” can sometimes total more than airfare and hotel costs combined!

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