Traveling is something everyone should experience, but something not everyone thinks they can afford. I get it that some trips are just really expensive, but my family has taken some pretty amazing vacations for very little money. Remember our ten day road trip to California last year? We spent just over $2500 and that included a rental vehicle. By the way, did you see what we drove on that trip?
Our trip to California was truly a dream vacation and yet, it was one that almost didn’t happen. You know why? My husband and I were concerned that we couldn’t fit it into our budget. I’m so glad that we didn’t let that opportunity slip away, especially since it was the last family trip we took before my youngest son went into the Air Force.
I’ve shared some of the things we don’t do to afford to travel. I also sat down with some friends and brainstormed some creative ways you can earn money for your family vacation when you’re on a tight budget. A little creativity can get you on your way to the vacation your family has been waiting for.
Tip #1: Consider Babysitting
This is something I did when my kids were little. Since I was staying home with my kids, I offered to babysit for friends to make extra cash.
Babysitters can make decent money and most parents would prefer to turn their kids over to another parent–especially since their kids will have playmates. You could extend this to include pet sitting or house sitting.
Tip #2: Sell Off Your Goods
Have a yard sale and sell off all of those things you weren’t using anyway. Think of it as an opportunity to declutter the house. Larger items like furniture or appliances can be sold through Craigslist. You can sell handbags and other high value items through specialty websites, consignment shops or pawn shops.
Tip #3: Get A Part-Time Job
The easy and traditional answer to making extra money is to take on a part-time job. Servers can make decent money, especially on the weekends, which may work well around your (or your husband’s) full time job. You could also work in retail, especially around the holidays when they’re looking for seasonal help. Hotel hospitality is also a great option (and my favorite), particularly during the night shift when the position pays more. An added benefit, is if you work for a hotel chain, you can get great room discounts when you travel. (Ask me how I know). An extra job may put you and your family into an emotional strain for the time being, but that vacation will be well earned when you’re done.
Tip #4: Start A Small Business
If you don’t want to go work for someone else, you may want to consider starting your own small business. Find something you’re good at that other people would pay you to do. Make cakes and cookies or create custom jewelry. Handmade goods can be sold at craft fairs or on Etsy, which is basically a global craft fair for the internet.
Tip #5: Sell Hair, Blood or Plasma
This is something I don’t have experience with, but I have friends who do. If you’re in a real pinch, there are companies that will pay you for long lengths of healthy hair, plasma, the component in blood that carries proteins and clotting factors, and bone marrow, in some regions, as long as it’s obtained through apheresis.
Our local blood bank sometimes offers free amusement park tickets or zoo admission when they have an urgent need. This won’t pay for your vacation, but it may save you money. If you’re not comfortable selling what you would normally donate, just stick to #1 through #4. Or, make sure to donate it next time. Plasma, especially, is in high demand for donation and can be donated roughly every month.
Not every solution will work for every family but it’s important to explore your options. Once you save enough money, be sure to save money on your trip, too! There’s no reason to spend your hard earned money frivolously. Besides, the more you save, the more you can travel.
What are some creative ways that you save money to travel?
© 2014, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.