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Planning and Saving for Family Vacations

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Taking a family vacation can be a great way to create memories that last a lifetime. However, that’s not to say that planning and paying for them come without stress. There is a lot of coordinating, budgeting, web searches and phone calls that go into pulling off a great trip. The good news is that planning and saving in advance of your trip will make its chance of success much higher. Here are some tips on how you can do just that. [Check out more from How to Have a Green Summer Vacation]

Set a budget. The first step to take in planning for your family vacation is to determine an amount that you are comfortable spending. This will be different for everyone and may also depend on how frequently you take vacations. Some families may travel annually while others might want to save up to do a bigger trip every other year. No matter what, make sure the target doesn’t put a stress on your overall budget for the year. There are plenty of ways to travel cheaply with a family so it’s not necessary to spend a bundle on travel if you can’t afford it.

Price out your options. Next, take a look at your different trip options and see how much each should roughly cost. You may find that trips to the Caribbean are very different at different times of year or depending on what site you use to book. That said, consider your different choices and see which ones fall within your budget before making a final decision on your destination. This includes taking advantage of any airline miles or hotel points you have that could help you cut costs and considering alternate options for housing such as rental homes or stays with family or friends. [More from How to Plan a Top-Notch Vacation Without Breaking the Bank]

Designate a separate account for saving. The easiest way to keep track of your savings is to have a completely separate account set up for it. Certain banks, including CapitalOne360, allow you to set up new savings accounts within your existing one. You can even name it, “Vacation.” Then set up an automatic transfer to the account from your regular checking account. For example, if you need $3,000 for a vacation and have 10 months to save, set up a monthly transfer of $300 to the account. With a separate account, you’ll know exactly how much you’ve saved at any one point in time and you’re never confused about any money that is mixed up with funds for other goals. Plus, whenever it’s time to pay for parts of the vacation, you’ll be able to tap that account and easily cover your costs. [More from 4 Unexpected Ways to Save for Vacation]

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Earmark extra income for your trip. Of course, it makes a ton of sense to automatically transfer money from your paycheck into your savings fund each month until your reach your goal. However, you stand a chance of reaching your goal faster, or exceeding it to splurge on some extras, if you also make a point to send extra money to the account anytime you come into cash unexpectedly. This could be from a larger than anticipated bonus at work, cash gifts around the holidays or part of a tax refund.

Enjoy! The beauty of planning and saving for a vacation in advance is that once it happens, you have nothing left to do but enjoy it.

Kate Furlongis a financial contributor to The Manilla Folder at, the leading, free and secure service that helps you simplify and organize your daily life. Using just one password, Manilla lets you manage your finances, utilities, daily deals, travel and rewards programs, Netflix and magazine subscriptions, and more -- all through or the top-rated iOS and mobile apps.

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