How to Budget for a Family Reunion
If you're planning on attending a family reunion this summer, those travel expenses can add up quickly. However, despite the high costs associated with travel, as long as you're being judicious with your spending and thinking ahead, you can have plenty saved in advance. Here are some savvy ways you can budget for that family reunion.
Negotiate a Location
Work with your family to find a central location that would be the most convenient and economical for all. For instance, perhaps the reunion can be held at a relative's with ample space to host everyone, or a city that generally has cheaper airfare and vacation rentals.
For instance, cities such as New Orleans, Atlanta, and Myrtle Beach have some of the lowest average airfares during the summer. Don't be afraid to venture to a new part of the country. The reunion could serve as a fun getaway of sorts, and you can turn your family gathering into a vacation (which we'll get to in just a bit).
Buy Your Plane Ticket Ahead of Time
Scour your favorite travel comparison sites for deals on airfare well ahead of time. The sweet spot? Two months before your travel dates — this is when you'll find the best deals. If you've been racking up frequent flyer miles, redeem your points toward airfare to save you a few bucks. And if you book your plane ticket with the same card, you'll be earning more reward points.
Consider Alternative Modes of Traveling
If you can swing the extra time away from work, consider taking a bus or road trip to the family reunion. Depending on how far you need to travel, it could save you money in the long run. Plus, you can squeeze in a few stops along the way for a mini adventure.
Make a Vacation Out of It
Alternatively, instead of settling for a mini adventure or two, turn your reunion into a vacation by extending your trip a few days before or after to enjoy some new sights or local cuisine. You'll save by not having to book airfare for another trip during the year and you also won't have to ask for time off work twice during the summer months, which could prove tricky.
Stay with Relatives
See if you can stay with a relative, or pool your money together to rent a room or small vacation rental. Not only would this be less expensive than finding a place to stay on your own, but it'll give you more time to catch up and bond with your relatives.
Cut Back Where You Can
By budgeting for the reunion now, you'll know exactly how much you need to save each month to stay on track. To make room in your budget for your family reunion, employ simple tricks such as cutting cable costs or stretching your food dollars. You'll be surprised by how much these small ways will help you save.
Be sure the money you save goes directly toward your family reunion. Otherwise, the cash you worked so hard to save might be spent willy-nilly.
Find a Way to Be Present If You Can't Attend
Not able to attend? Find a way to be present by video conferencing via Skype or a scheduled FaceTime call during the reunion. Your family will certainly appreciate the gesture, and you'll get a chance for some virtual face to face interaction during the special gathering.
By planning for that family reunion now, you won't be blindsided any of the potentially high costs. In turn, you'll be able to chart a plan to budget and save for the occasion without compromising your other savings goals.