Family Travel Planning - budget and time

Have you started planning your family travel for 2018?

Simple Family Travel Planner

The start of a new year and planning go together like Switzerland and chocolate. While in the middle of cold and dark January, it may feel like summer will never come, the days are slowly but surely getting longer. 

So before the warm weather arrives and life kicks back into full speed, take the opportunity with a slower January and start planning your 2018 adventures. Grab a blanket, your favourite hot drink (or glass of wine!), your calendar and get ready to plan. 

My motto is: 

Plan early, get your first choice, and save money in the process!

We tend to follow the same process every year and by planning early (often it begins before the previous year has even come to an end) we not only make the most of our budget, but out time as well. Despite dreaming of being a digital nomad, our reality is being restricted to travel during school holidays, weekends and public holidays along with everybody else— so planning becomes essential. 

Over the next few days I will share with you our planning process to hopefully help you get excited for the year ahead and hopefully save some time and money along the way. 

Our 6-Step Planning Process:

  1. Budget

  2. Time

  3. Brainstorm

  4. Research

  5. Decide

  6. Book

Today, lets take the first two steps together.  Lets chat about money and time. 

For my newsletter subscribers (sign at the end of this post) make sure you check out your inbox on Friday where you can download a free PDF workbook bringing all these steps together. 


Step 1: Set a budget

Photo by  Fabian Blank  on  Unsplash

Being on the same page as the rest of the family is the first step to a more relaxed holiday. 

It’s well documented that money issues are one of the leading causes of stress in a relationship, so help take the stress out of holiday planning and get the most uncomfortable discussion out of the way first.

Time to set a budget. 

You'll want to know well ahead of time how much money there is to spend so not only can you be realistic when it comes to planning, but so you can also avoid the unwanted surprise of overspending. 

I will admit that in years gone by, this step was definitely missing from our planning process. While we always started the year with good intentions, by the end of the year we were always surprised with how much we really spent on travel. Not any more! 

So before you begin the fun part of planning, decide on the amount you would like to spend this year on travel. Allocate it amongst the trips you plan on taking and try your best to stick to it! 


What our holiday budget includes:

  • Transportation (flights, trains, ferries etc)

  • Accommodation

  • Entertainment (entry tickets, courses, tours)

  • Dining out


What our holiday budget doesn’t include:

  • General food costs that we would normally have week to week (for example, if we take a holiday apartment with a kitchen)

  • Souvenirs (you can read all about my thoughts on souvenirs here)


Yes, having a budget can feel restrictive, but I like to reframe it and see it as a challenge instead!

How far can I push the budget?

What can I get for my money?  

It encourages my creativity and helps us to experiment more, which has resulted in wonderful experiences that we would have previously never taken the time to pursue.  Knowing what we are willing to spend also helps us to be ready to snap up a good deal when it comes along. 

Further Reading:



Step 2: Write down the school free days. 

Photo by  Eric Rothermel  on  Unsplash

When you are restricted to school free days for your travel, knowing exactly when those free days are is a vital step in your planning. 

Our school does not allow kids to miss school for leisure travel, so its critical for us to know when the holidays are well in advance. Knowing these dates early help us to take advantage of that time before the hoards of people wake up and begin planning,  but also to make the most of any extra free days.  

Are there any public holidays attached to a weekend? Are there any public holidays within the school holiday that hubby can use to maximise his holiday time off? I want to know all of them!

We often go a step further if we are traveling to visit friends and write down their holidays, too and try and find a common date to plan an adventure together. 

I’ve talked previously about reserving once a month for family time and travel, and while most of the time we were able to to that in much of 2017, we did lose track of that goal towards the end of the year.  This year writing down the dates we want to reserve in advance will help us keep on track in 2018. 

Further Reading:


Now with the boring but important parts out of the way we can move forward onto the fun parts!


Do you have any great tips to make your budget go further? Or how to get the most out of your time available?