It’s no secret I love to travel. Mr D & I were travellers before we had our two kids & like all totally naive childless 20-somethings” we vowed that we wouldn’t stop travelling when we had kids. Suffice to say, travelling with small children is challenging, even if it’s 3 hours down South by car.
But now that my kids are older, travelling is getting easier as a family. And I totally rate family travel experiences as an important part of a child’s education & emotional well being.
However, I certainly don’t want my kids to think that family holidays are easy & expected. A great way to help them understand the value of a family holiday is to get them involved in saving for the trip.
What to Get the Kids to Save For
I haven’t asked my kids to contribute to their air fares or accommodation – yet! – but we always set up a “spending money” fund for our travels. I’ve found this helpful in introducing them to the local currency – they have an understanding that the money they have saved is changed into foreign currency & how it differs from our own. Depending on how old your child is, the realisation that they might get more or less money for their Aussie dollars in the foreign currency is also an eye opener!
It also gives them ownership of their spending money, do they want to blow it all on cokes by the pool, a sim card for their phone, or do they want to shop for souvenirs? It takes pressure off the parents as well, if they want to spend their own cash on ice cream rather than yours – so be it!
Remember these kind of savings work best over time. Most big trips are planned well in advance so make sure you start your savings before or just after you book your holiday.
If you’re travelling somewhere with specific activities in mind, you can set targets for each activity, like tickets to a Broadway show, or a day at Disneyland, a day at Waterbomb park, or shopping for a new outfit. This helps break up the savings & it might not appear so daunting!
Fun Ways to Save
I find visual savings work the best. Whether it’s a cute jar used as money box like this one, or a chart on the fridge, the whole family can actually see the money add up over time. Older kids might like to keep a journal or record of their savings to watch it grow.
If your kids receive pocket money or work part time – ask them to put aside a small sum each payment towards their holiday fund. Depending on how much they receive, maybe 10 or 20% of their income. My littlest puts away a gold coin from his pocket money (or more if he chooses) to go towards his holiday fund.
Perhaps setting a goal is helpful in spurring the saving on – how much would your child like to take away on holiday – $50, $100, $200? Having a magical number to work towards can be more inspiring. How cute is this Travel Saving chart?
Maybe you could match what your kids save & add that to the kitty at the end – if they save $200, you could give them another $200 to match it.
Make a communal savings pot. Does Dad empty his small change onto the bedside table at night? Does Nana give the kids money for ice cream? Getting the whole family to put all their coins into a piggy bank at the end of each day is a great way to pool your savings!
What about giving up something you’d normally spend money on & put that money towards your holiday savings instead? How about scrambled eggs on toast on a Friday night instead of takeaway? Put that take away money into the savings instead. Showing the kids you’re invested in helping the family save will make them more enthusiastic with giving up a treat.
How about a swear jar! Every time someones says one of the “no-no” words – in goes a set fee! There’s some fun for the whole family! 😉
If your kids don’t have a bank account – this might be a great time to open one! Make regular payments that they can withdraw before the holiday.
As your kids get older there’s always a ton of toys, clothes & electronics that are past thier use by date! How about a family garage sale with the proceeds going into the holiday savings fund? Or maybe you’ve got stuff that can be sold on Ebay or Gumtree – or even on a buy back system like EB games?
And finally, saving for a holiday doesn’t have to be planned. Why not have a visual saving system happening all year round? This one would look good sitting in any home & be a welcome reminder of wonderful things to come!
Of course these tips don’t just have to be for holiday saving – how about Christmas presents, school holiday activities or the Royal Show? How do you include your kids in holiday planning? Do you have any tips you can share?