How Your Kids Can Make Travel Magic Happen!
Remember how Peter Pan had a little helper sprinkling pixie dust to make dreams come true? Well, I've got some enchanting news for you. Your very own fairy helpers are probably running around your house right now. Yes, I'm talking about your kids!
In my previous chat with you, we unlocked one of the best-kept secrets to planning your vacations – opening up a dedicated savings account. If you haven't read it yet, go back and have a look; it's packed with handy tips that'll help you create a budget and kick-start your vacation savings in no time.
Now, let's talk about how to fill up that savings account, despite the whirlwind of family life and with no side hustle in sight. Ready for it? Bring the kids on board!
Your Roadmap to Adventure Planning
Ever caught yourself daydreaming about your next adventure but felt your wallet holding you back? Guess what? You're not alone. Better still, I have the perfect roadmap to navigate these financial crossroads while keeping your travel dreams alive.
Any financial guru worth their salt will tell you - it all begins with a good budget. Now, before you run a mile, hear me out. Budgeting doesn’t have to be as scary as scaling Everest
Let's break it down:
Step one: Kick off with calculating your income. If you have a steady salary, it's a breeze. For those with a variable income, like yours truly, working with estimates or averages will be your go-to strategy.
Step two: It's time to get up close and personal with your fixed and variable expenses. My preference is a biweekly budget, but if going month-to-month works for you, that’s wonderful.
Start your budget journey by rounding up your fixed expenses, like your mortgage or rent, phone and utility bills, car payments, and minimum debt repayments. Once you've got a handle on this, it's time to subtract these figures from your income. What you’re left with is your pot for variable expenses!
This part’s a bit of guesswork, but you've got this! Estimate your variable expenses, such as groceries, fuel, recreational costs, kids' activities, and of course, pet pampering. Review this at the end of each month or pay period to understand your spending patterns.
Step three: Achieve a zero balance on your budget. This is where the magic happens. If you’ve got loose change left after all your expenses are covered, it's time to pile it into your savings or further reduce your debt. In the world of finance, we call this the zero-based budgeting method.
If you already have a smooth-running budget mechanism, that's fabulous! Just tie in your savings goal to your current budget and designate an amount every month (or biweekly) towards your 'Shine under the Disney fireworks fund.'
Remember, savings and debt pay-offs should be at the top of your plan.
But, wait, there's more! Let's supercharge that vacation fund with these savvy tips:
Tip #1: If you’ve just cleared a payment obligation, like a car loan or credit card, reign in the urge to breathe easy. Instead, redirect that same payment toward your vacation savings account. It's like you're paying yourself for all the fun awaiting!
Tip #2: To keep the vacation savings untapped, set up a dedicated account and schedule automatic transfers. I highly recommend opening a high-yield savings account where your money does some additional heavy lifting. Look at banks like Ally, Capital One 360, or Dollar Savings Direct for easy set-up.
Tip #3: Declare all "surprise" money as dedicated vacation fund boosters. Think tax refunds, work bonuses, mystery checks, and even that $10 bill you found inside your winter coat! Make all these unexpected treasures part of your vacation fund.
Now here's the ultimate hack to saving big on your trip: Commit to it NOW! It's no secret that as time passes, prices skyrocket. So why stall when we can start planning your dream vacation right away.
Start by scheduling a call with yours truly. Let's embark on the journey to making your travel dreams come true, one budget plan at a time!
Dreaming alongside you!
En Route Meltdowns
Welcome to our third installment of Traveling with Special Needs Handling Enroute Meltdowns
This is one of the sections where I have the least amount of tips and tricks to offer! Luckily, traveling with Mr D was always a breeze, as long as he had snacks and a movie and/or his music. Since we always drove to our destinations, it was an easy fix.
So, I will give you a simple ‘hack’ we learned as a military family with car traveling. In the military, your vacation or ‘leave’ started at midnight. There was a mentality that you didn’t want to miss a single second of that precious time, so we always left at exactly midnight. Or more accurately a few minutes afterward. The few minutes it took my husband to go to the office, sign out, and get back home. The car would be packed and the kids would be in their jammies and in the car ready and waiting.
So, driving through the night to our destination always meant by the time we got to our destination (usually grandma’s house) the kids were up and ready to eat! I would sleep as Dad drove and then I would be fresh for the kids when we arrived and Dad could take a nap when we arrived.
Thanks for joining me again on my second installment on having a stress-free (or less stressful) theme park trip with a special needs child!
In this installment, we are going to talk about how important the pre-travel prep is. Because, let’s face it - getting to Disney or Universal and discovering you have forgotten that ONE item you thought you had but your child can’t live without will either cost you a fortune or a lot of aggravation (at a minimum!)
When traveling with Special needs family members, generalities don’t work. Simply because our kiddos are special. What works for the majority of kids, would be disastrous for ours. So, please take these words and apply them as they apply to your family!
If you are planning a first-time trip to an amusement park (like Disney or Universal) and have a Special child, it can be daunting. My very best advice is to be patient and prepare to throw out the plans and go with the flow! That doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time, and it doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot done. It just means it might not be on YOUR schedule.
Although fall hasn't quite arrived here in Georgia, school is back in session and we're already feeling the heat of over a hundred degrees. It's the perfect time to start thinking about winter break trips! In fact, many people have already taken advantage of early discounts and secured their trips to popular destinations like Disney and Universal for Fall break.
Winter break trips are going fast, with resorts still trying to make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic. While there are still some affordable options, hidden costs can quickly add up and take away from your vacation experience.
I know life is hectic, and planning a Disney Vacation for next year may not be on the top of your to-do list, but trust me when I say “if you are at all considering a trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth for 2024, NOW is the time to take action!”
Planning Your Walt Disney World Vacation: How Many Days Should You Plan For: and Why Working with a Travel Professional is Key
Walt Disney World is a dream vacation destination for millions of people worldwide. It is a place where people of all ages can come together in a magical and immersive setting. But with so much to see and do in Disney World, how many days should you plan for to make the most out of your vacation? The answer, of course, is that it depends on a number of factors.
Did you Know Walt Disney World has OVER 30 Hotels? How Do You Choose?
That’s right ! over 30 hotels!
And those are just the ones owned and operated by Disney.
They range from simple, budget-friendly rooms to elegant, luxurious 4-Diamond accommodations. With so many excellent options, it is no wonder that busy moms have a hard time deciding on the best one for their family.
Wondering When to Book your Walt Disney World vacation?
The answer is always NOW.
If you are even remotely considering a 2024 Disney vacation you should always start planning as early as possible.
Do NOT wait for deals/discounts to be released.
Disney, like most of the travel industry, has dynamic pricing. As hotel rooms fill up the price increases. When Disney releases discounts they are on the rates at the higher end of the range, so the promotional rate is often higher than the introductory rate.
Disney requires one of the smallest deposits in the industry… only $200 reserves your room and ticket package. That is FULLY REFUNDABLE up to 30 days prior to check-in. So if you are considering a Walt Disney World trip it is always better to lock in your vacation to ensure availability and the best pricing.
The BEST time to book Disney packages is when Disney releases their packages for the following year.
Most of the content is written by people at JMorris Travel. Every once in a while we will have a guest blogger, usually it is part of our 'family'.Always with a nod to Family Travel!