This is a question people ask me when I tell them that my family and I have traveled to the majority of the USA. For the record, I’ve been to 43 states and 8 countries; my husband has been to 46 states, and our children to 33 states.
My husband Jon and I have had a deep conviction to be able to give our children experiences versus things; thus, we don’t have the expenditures of toys and name-brand clothes on our to-do list of what to get them.
As a couple, we are not people who splurge on things, so we decided not to give our children a lot of things, like gaming systems, expensive toys, etc. especially after learning that at Christmas when they opened something that came out of a big box, they played with the boxes more than the actual gifts… funny, I know, right?
Regarding gaming systems, we did purchase handheld DS players; our daughter has one, and our son has had two; the second one he bought himself. He just purchased his first real gaming system this past year because he worked for it. As parents, we are proud that our children have a strong work ethic and have learned from my husband and me to work hard and to get creative when they want something.
It’s also encouraging to see how our children are wise when it comes to how they spend their money; they are frugal. Their mentality is… Is this something I need, or is this something I want?
WHERE DO WE STAY?
We decided years ago to purchase a timeshare foreclosure; we just pay for the maintenance every year, and we use it. I say we use it every year because many people purchase a timeshare and don’t use it, or they buy it at a high price. I’m not here to teach about timeshare, so that’s all I will say about that. A few of my family members sold timeshare way back when therefore our family has had some timeshare property. It enabled us to take many vacations together as a family; after we got married and had children and started families of our own, we would gather together for family reunions. Our family of four use ours for the majority of the vacations we take, so we don’t have to spend money on hotels.
WHEN WE GET TIME OFF FROM WORK, WE ALWAYS HAVE TO VISIT FAMILY!
I hear many friends say the above. We understand we can be limited by time off from work and school, and for many years we lived several states away from our families, but this actually worked to our advantage because it allowed us to visit other places. This added at least seven states to our number of places to visit.
When we visit family, we always make time with them; sometimes just our family would make a point to visit the museums, zoos and other desirable places in their cities and states. Sometimes we would add a day or two onto that vacation so that we can stop at another point before we get to family, which allowed us to see more places. We may not have an opportunity to see all that we would like to, but we get our toes wet, bellies filled, and then plan new destinations to visit when we revisit family.
Some of our family members have moved from those states, but we still return to those states we have enjoyed to explore more destinations.
WHEN DID YOU TRAVEL and HOW OFTEN?
Most of our travel was during spring break, summer, and winter vacation, and we plan accordingly. We occasionally would add family trips tacked onto business conventions, like when we went to Las Vegas for one of my work conventions. When I was in classes, my husband would hang out with the children at the resort, enjoying their amenities or do some fun activities around the town. Then when I was not in class and in the evenings, we would do more activities as a family. After the convention, we added a few extra days so that we could go to see the Grand Canyon, which was well worth it! By the way (BTW), if you are not staying at one of their hotels or camping at the Grand Canyon, be sure to stay for the sunset, no matter what time you get there. It is a once in a lifetime experience you will never forget!
PLANNING IS KEY – MAKE A DREAM VACATION BOARD
One thing we did years ago was that we made a dream board! We added our vacation destinations on our dream board, and we reached many of those goals years before we thought we would. It was exciting to see our plans in front of us; and then when we accomplished the goal, it was an excellent feeling that we reached that goal. Planning is vital; still, there were times when we planned a trip at the last minute, and we had a great time.
SAVING FOR VACATIONS
Be sure to put vacations in your budget and plan events to make extra funds such as garage sales, selling items online, a lemonade stand, or selling cupcakes, whatever… get creative! Get the kids involved; it will mean a lot more to them when they see what their hard work will get them.
We saved a lot of change in the vacation savings jug, and we also had it available for sacrificial savings. What do I mean when I say sacrificial savings? Say you want a cup of coffee or a milkshake, and you know it will cost you $4.00 or so. Decide not to buy that coffee or milkshake and make it at home Take that money you would have spent and put it in your vacation savings jug. You will be surprised at how much you can save.
One time we promised the children we would go to Universal Studios, but because of some unexpected expenses, my husband told them that we didn’t have the money to go this year. I was determined and said, “They are so set on going, give me a chance to get what we need to make it happen.” So I, being the ambitious and creative person that I am, got my thinking cap on and came up with how to raise the money to get tickets for us to go. I remember going to my kitchen, looking through every item to see what I could sell… As I continued to look, I found other items in my house I could sell, and after selling those items, I had accumulated over $500 in cash. I also called my credit card (cc) companies and found out how many points I had earned and turned the points into gift cards. I also learned that summer that Universal was having a buy one adult ticket and get a child’s for free. I felt like I had hit the jackpot. So now our Universal Studios trip was a reality! And no, this is NOT how we take all our vacations, but again, budget, planning, saving, and being creative can go a long way.
Regarding DREAM-VISION boards, I am excited to announce I have a FREE GIVEAWAY that I have been putting together for all my readers, and it will be ready in the next few weeks! If you subscribe to my channel today, you will be one of the first to get this give away. It will be the How To’s on making a Vacation/Dream Board, and a few other goodies, including some print outs that were exclusively designed for your dream boards. In addition, I have some other fun plans for you to be successful when planning vacation destinations. Don’t forget to subscribe today to our Blog and Get the latest blog post and the FREE Giveaway!
Let me and our readers know how you save and plan for your travel vacations!