When you have little ones, every experience can be a teaching moment and travel is no exception. Through travel we learn compassion, tolerance, history, an appreciation for different cultures and cuisines, and the value of having an open mind. But one thing often overlooked is that travel can teach budgeting.
The next time your family is planning a vacation on a tight budget, be sure to use it as an opportunity to teach your kids how to stretch a dollar and still plan a great vacation for a whole family. Not only will your kids appreciate the voice they get in the vacation planning process, they will learn about budgeting for travel.
Begin with the planning stage. Sit down as a family and discuss the budget available for your next family trip and identify a few vacation options your family is interested in. Work together to estimate the potential cost by looking at airfare, hotels and activities and attractions at those destinations. When you’ve gathered all the information, help your kids figure out which itineraries meet your budget requirements and decide as a group.
Once your vacation begins, make sure you stick to the original budget. Encourage your kids to keep a running tally of spending so they are actively engaged in keeping track of how much money remains. This technique helps kids develop a sense of the real cost of things, such as food, activities and souvenirs, making them conscious about how they really want to spend their money. This skill easily translates into making smart decisions about everyday spending in all other aspects of life.
Give children an allowance of spending money they must be responsible for during the trip. This will teach them responsibility as well as further enforcing the concept of making good decisions about what things are worth. If you have more than one child, you can even make a game out of it, always a good way to get kids interested in learning. Set a reward for the child that saves the most of their allotted funds by the end of the trip.
When the vacation is over, any monies left over can be used toward the next family vacation or a special activity as a family at home.
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