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Old 07-11-2014, 11:19 AM   #1
Lisavince3
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USA Today: vacation budget

USA Today recently reported that for a family of 4 to be "living the American Dream" they need to earn $130,000 a year. Their budget included approximately $4,500 a year for family vacations. I've heard a lot of complaints about this article, including talk that the vacation budget is too low, too high... What are your thoughts? At that salary, $4,500 would come out to spending 3% of their gross salary on vacations. Do you think this is reasonable?
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:36 AM   #2
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Before we bought our DVC 4 years ago, I used to figure $200 per day per person for our vacation was what we were spending. Especially, if we went WDW.

We are a family of 5, so that a $1,000. Now that is really going all out. Sometimes it was about $800 per day.

So, a weeks vacation was about $7,000 for a family of 5. That includes, airfare, hotel (deluxe), food and entertainment (park passes or excursions).

I know we could have spent a lot less, but I like to things a little more upscale.

My sister is a vacation budget queen, she would spend about $2,000 for a week for her family of 5.

So, I guess it depends on what type of vacation with how much you would spend per year.

And I am sure some spend way more.
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:42 AM   #3
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I guess it depends on what type of vacation with how much you would spend per year. And I am sure some spend way more.
Yup. We take three vacations a year - spring break cruise, summer (cruise or not) & a fall cruise in Oct. They vary on cost. We are a family of 3. I can tell you the annual cost is way more than 3% of our income. Heck, just the 11n Norway/Iceland cruise next summer is $6300 and that is purely cruise fare.......

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Old 07-11-2014, 11:46 AM   #4
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I didn't happen to see the article. But I think there probably is a wide variance of vacation budgets -- both dollar-wise and percentage-of-income. Some families save every penny for vacation and that is their big expense of the year. Others may have a lower annual vacation budget because they spend on other "non-necessity" items as well (dining out, mini weekend trips, etc.). And then there are those with other important expenses that simply don't allow for even as much as 3% for a big vacation every year. When we had 2 full-time incomes, there was much more discretionary spending and our vacation budget could be bigger. Two years later, a job layoff coupled with expected higher medical expenses, our budget has shrunk considerably (and no cruise this year ).

As a percentage, 3% doesn't sound like much, but it's all relative to the family's needs.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:49 AM   #5
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HI!

I saw that article a few days ago and have been trying to find it again - do you by any chance have a link?

For us, a family of 4, the $4500 is to low - it seems to work out to be about $1000/day give or take and I too like to plan and think upscale - albeit that it does not always work that way. Keep in mind, this also includes our expense for boarding our 2 dogs which at $65/day alone adds up, getting to the airport and back from our home (which can be at least $100/each way) etc. we seem to have a lot of expenses just to make the vacation happen and I include all of these things in our budget.
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisavince3 View Post
USA Today recently reported that for a family of 4 to be "living the American Dream" they need to earn $130,000 a year. Their budget included approximately $4,500 a year for family vacations. I've heard a lot of complaints about this article, including talk that the vacation budget is too low, too high... What are your thoughts? At that salary, $4,500 would come out to spending 3% of their gross salary on vacations. Do you think this is reasonable?

Well, once you have paid for food, shelter, clothing, the ability to function/work, and retirement, the rest is disposable income, meaning you can spend it any way you want.

Now, to be clear, by the "ability to function and work," I mean commute to work (car or public or bike or walk), get your kids to school, pay for your kids' schooling, and a whole host of things that we have to do.

Someone living in Toledo, Ohio (my hometown), could easily do everything they need to do to survive and thrive with $100,000 a year. (Many families in Toledo do quite well with a lot less than that). Meanwhile, a family in New York City might need $200,000. If they both made $130,000 a year, the Toledo family could spend $30,000 a year on vacations while the New York family would spiral into debt. If they both made $200,000 a year, the Toledo family could spend $100,000 a year on vacations (50% of their gross income), while the New York family still could not take any vacation.

Essentially, once you pay off your needs, you can spend any excess on anything you want!
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:20 PM   #7
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I think there are too many variables. I think that's a normal amount for people that aren't that into traveling. I think you will find people on these boards and other travel boards probably spend quite a bit more. Traveling is our "thing" that's why we're all here.

As far as percentage of income I think it really depends on your other bills. Obviously someone whose mortgage in 10% of their income is going to have more disposable income then someone whose mortgage is 40% of their income.
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:44 PM   #8
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We use DH's bonus to fund our vacations. Not having credit card debt helps too.
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:06 PM   #9
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Just found it here:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/...ream/11122015/
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:19 PM   #10
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Thank you! I was having a hard time posting it!
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverfox97 View Post
Yup. We take three vacations a year - spring break cruise, summer (cruise or not) & a fall cruise in Oct. They vary on cost. We are a family of 3. I can tell you the annual cost is way more than 3% of our income. Heck, just the 11n Norway/Iceland cruise next summer is $6300 and that is purely cruise fare.......

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Old 07-11-2014, 05:55 PM   #12
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You guys may find this site interesting too. It compared the cost of living with different cities in the country. So that same amount of money gets you different life styles depending on where you live:

http://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:18 PM   #13
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We spend almost all of our disposable income on vacations. We are a family of two and this year alone are spending close to $7,500 on vacations. It's what we love! I would rather have a cruise than a new car.
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:00 PM   #14
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We spend almost all of our disposable income on vacations. We are a family of two and this year alone are spending close to $7,500 on vacations. It's what we love! I would rather have a cruise than a new car.
This! It's just me and my daughter, and I don't care about what I drive or wear or that my roots occasionally show - we are travelers. We live in Ontario and this year alone so far we've done Cuba, Cincinnati, Myrtle Beach, and Great Wolf Lodge Niagara. And some camping. Every year we do at least one big trip, so next year is our first DCL cruise. My travel budget is ridiculous, but we save in lots of other ways. It's about priorities, right? I know someone who has never been on an airplane - she likes to stick close to home. She spends on other things.
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:53 PM   #15
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It also depends on what your other expenses are. If you don't have a house/rental or car payment, you have more income to play with.
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