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5 Things to Remember On Your Next Summer Vacation

06/07/2016 08:58pm ET | Updated June 8, 2017
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Taking a summer vacation is something that school-age children look forward to. It can take months to plan the perfect summer getaway, and it is important to take your time. View the weather report for the time you will be at your destination at least one week in advance. Pack according to the weather and always have a couple extra changes of clothes for special occasions.

Create a Budget with Contingency

The last thing you want is to still be paying for your summer vacation at Christmas time. Start planning your summer vacation at the start of a new year and create a budget based upon the pricing for attractions, accommodations, and travel accordingly. Vacationing can cost more than it should if you do not plan well enough in advance, look for the best travel deals, or do not set a budget. You should also create a contingency budget of at least one-third of your total budget for emergencies and extra fun.

In your budget, include items like:

• Plane ticket prices
• Cost of dining per day
• Event ticket prices
• Special attraction costs
• Cost of gifts for friends and family
• Cost of travelling back home
• Cost of travel insurance

With a broken down budget, you can estimate the cost of your trip. Once accommodations are booked, re-examine the budget to see if adjustments need to be made. If you borrow from your emergency fund to complete the booking process, make sure to replace those funds so that you are not short on cash during the trip.

Get Booking Help

If you are a member of club services, like AAA as an example, contact the agency to see if there are any special travel deals for the area you wish to visit. According to AAA, Memorial Day 2016 was the 2nd busiest travel season in history for that particular holiday. A travel agent will also have exceptional travel deals to help you book your accommodations. Some services, like AAA and OnStar can book your accommodations at your request.

When seeking out booking assistance, make sure to give the agency enough information to properly book your flights, rental vehicles, and hotel rooms. Booking the wrong type of accommodations can ruin the entire vacation. Once you receive confirmation of the arrangements from your booking agent, review them to make sure the arrangements are correct.

If you are planning a themed family vacation, booking assistance may help you find the best theme vacation package for the family. Families with children that are Harry Potter fans, for example, may want to partake in activities surrounding the fantasy life of the character. It is important to make that a part of your trip to ensure the kids have the time of their lives.

Research for Medical Outbreaks

Research local news channels for information on medical outbreaks such as measles, lice, major epidemics, and widespread airborne illnesses. If you purchased travel insurance and there is a medical emergency in the area your family plans to vacation in, it may reimburse the cost of your booked accommodations and travel arrangements. Medical outbreaks are not always contagious. If your family has been properly vaccinated, you should have no problem travelling anywhere unless the disease of concern has no preventative measures to take.

Seek out Discounts

Look for discounts, they are everywhere. It does take time to research a local area, but it can also lead to some of the deepest discounts and activity bundling options to make a dream vacation the best it can be on a tight budget. When families take the time to seek out deep discounts, it opens up the door for more activities, more visits to theme parks, and experiencing more of a new destination.

Have Flexible Travel Dates

It is important to have flexible travel dates. Travelling during the week rather than on weekends is less expensive. Consider a destination that is not necessarily a tourist destination in the summer and be flexible about when you can travel as the day you choose to travel may be nearly twice the cost of going on a different day of the week.

Final Thoughts

Vacation within your means. Going into debt for a vacation can put a damper on a family's finances. Do your best to research the local area for free activities or places of interest that the entire family can enjoy. Make sure to let the kids have a little say in what activities the family takes part in because you want them to enjoy themselves too. Decide on your destination together to avoid conflict and remember to have a great time no matter what the weather is outside.