How do you afford multiple trips?

Kitty & Covs Covs

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 20, 2019
My husband and I are in our mid-thirties. He works in web development and I'm a supervisor for account servicing. We're fortunate to have enough disposable income so that we can take a trip each year (sometimes to Disney, but not always). Candidly, our combined income has nearly doubled in the 10 years we have been together. That said, much of our day to day spending hasn't changed in those 10 years (aside from paying a bonkers amount for childcare the last 4 years). Our life isn't frivolous. Our home is smaller than most of our friends and our corresponding mortgage payment is also much smaller.

I recognize we are fortunate. Traveling and spending time together as a family are very important to us so we prioritize those things in our budget.
Yes, this. That has been so important over the last 10-15 years--not to increase spending in lockstep with increases in income. We check each other on this a lot as we see one of us starting to acquire too much or start turning our noses up at something that was previously totally adequate. It's allowed us to have more discretionary income for things like trips, instead of a new $3,000 couch just because we could.
 

Sha259

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
I admit I have a fair amount of disposable income, but I do not, and would not, go into debt or borrow the value of a vacation on interest. With that said, in order to vacation frequently I tend to travel based on price over location. So I usually have a yearly budget and will choose locations and experiences that fit it.

When going to Disney I usually know far in advance, so I know to start saving my CC points and looking into all applicable discounts. We always stay offsite, only ever do about one meal a day on Disney property, do grocery pick up of food and snacks for the house and parks, and don't visit the parks everyday. Our upcoming trip is 10days/9 nights and I have an AP but my son has a 6 day hopper and my mom and grandmom only 4 day one park tickets.

I got our flights and will get rental car free with CC points, and I'm still accumulating points to use for GCs for dining. We rented a 4 BR house 5 mins from Disney property for $1800 for 9 nights.

I'm then budgeting about $1300-1500 for food/dining for all of us on the trip. I might not spend that much as my mom will pay for some meals too. And another $200-300 for souvenirs. I tent to buy disney artwork while there so I try to think of what we might want and budget for that.

Total trip will end up being around $3600-$3800 for all 4 of us for a 10 day/9 night vacation. That's not a bad deal for 4 people, and I usually budget about $3000 for a nice week long 2 person vacation and $4000 for a 4 person weeklong trip.

Had to edit because that total above doesn't count tickets! :o I got my AP certificate back in Aug 2019 before the last price increase (it was about $980), so didnt really include that into the price. Just bought my son's ticket in January and it was around $620, but I plan to upgrade him to an AP on arrival. so that will be about $1000 total cost. And the tickets for my mom and grandmom are about $480 each, but im only paying for my gran, my mom is paying for herself. So that makes the trip $ 6200, but thats including ticket media my son and I will use all of 2021 and 2022.
Planning, discounts, and creating a realistic and accurate budget is key!
 
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scrapquitler

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Everyone on the boards seems to go to Disney almost yearly, how do you all afford it? We are from Canada and I feel like we've been saving forever!! I would love to be able to go yearly but it's so expensive! last time I was at Disney was in 2011 with my then boyfriend now husband, since then we've bought a house got married and had 2 kids and are only just now getting to a place where Disney is a financial possibility (then covid came along 😡) I've been pricing things out and once you factor in the exchange rate we are already pushing $5K not including flights food or souvenirs.

savings tips from frequent visitors would be great
We stay at a value resort rather than a more expensive one. Sometimes we stay completely off site.

We hardly ever eat table service meals (my husband and teen don't care enough about food that it's worth it) we eat quick serve, and sometimes we get kids meals instead of adult meals, or we share.

Instead of buying ice creams for everyone, we buy one and share. It sounds lame, but we still eat lots of snacks, but I don't need a while mickey pretzel and a whole ice cream and a whole dole whip every day...but I love to have some of each.

We don't spend money on extra things like BBB (when the girl child was little), Fireworks boat rides, or desert parties.

We do a lot of things to save money on our trips, because we buy annual passes and saving on things we don't care much about allows us to take several trips a year instead of one.

And my husband's job allows him to work on his own schedule, from wherever he happens to be. Usually that means he works a half day in the morning before we go to the park, so he's not missing as many work days while we are on the trip.
 

GBRforWDW

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 29, 2020
A year ago when I was looking at an early summer trip, I wanted to see if I could earn some extra cash and was able to find a part time work from home gig with no set hours, so it was something I could do at any time.

As the pandemic struck, I ended up using the first few paychecks to keep us afloat when our unemployment office basically refused to talk to my wife after having a separate claim denied the year before.

Once she got back to work, I threw the money into savings and told my wife I was saving up for my 40th birthday trip to Disney World, (which we went on last month). After a few months, I had enough for our hotel food rental car and souvenirs. I had Delta airline points to buy our plane tickets.

In the meantime, I found a second wfh opportunity and am quickly paying down some lingering credit card debt and looking at a Hawaiian vacation later this year.

even though I worked extra hours like crazy, it was totally worth it as we were able to dine how we wanted (several sit down meals including 4 character dinners) and be able to buy some of the fun souvenirs without worrying if it was the right thing to do, such as both my daughter and I building our own separate droids instead of only doing 1 for the both of us.
 

Blondie58

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2020
Everyone on the boards seems to go to Disney almost yearly, how do you all afford it? We are from Canada and I feel like we've been saving forever!! I would love to be able to go yearly but it's so expensive! last time I was at Disney was in 2011 with my then boyfriend now husband, since then we've bought a house got married and had 2 kids and are only just now getting to a place where Disney is a financial possibility (then covid came along 😡) I've been pricing things out and once you factor in the exchange rate we are already pushing $5K not including flights food or souvenirs.

savings tips from frequent visitors would be great
In our late 20s and mid 30s we took trips to Disney. (Two days - one at EPCOT and one at MK.) Both trips we drove 1200 miles each way. (We could not afford to fly.) We stayed off-site. (We could not afford to be in the Disney bubble.) We bought groceries and packed meals and did not eat at Disney venues. And we felt so blessed and fortunate to be able to do! We were on an adventure!! Fast forward many years: All are out of college with no debt AND we fly Delta first class to WDW and stay at the GF or CR on the concierge floors at least once a year. We do Signature Service meals every other night, enjoy spa days, and two or three extra tours each trip. Yet no trips have been sweeter than those we made years ago. I so remember being on the monorail and passing through the CR. I was in awe wondering how people could ever afford to stay there!!! I LOVED the GF and dreamed I might stay there one day!!! And yes, the first time we stayed at the GF I was actually emotional. Lots of life has been lived and lots of hard work has been done across the years but we appreciate every moment. I know WDW is expensive but I know from expereince you can stay within a budget for where you are in life and still make the trip special. Most people would scoff at two days, off property, with no meals in parks but we embraced what we could do for where we were in life. We had pixi dust then too............
 
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DanielleC

Trans Disney Girl
Joined
Mar 27, 2019
Everyone on the boards seems to go to Disney almost yearly, how do you all afford it? We are from Canada and I feel like we've been saving forever!! I would love to be able to go yearly but it's so expensive! last time I was at Disney was in 2011 with my then boyfriend now husband, since then we've bought a house got married and had 2 kids and are only just now getting to a place where Disney is a financial possibility (then covid came along 😡) I've been pricing things out and once you factor in the exchange rate we are already pushing $5K not including flights food or souvenirs.

savings tips from frequent visitors would be great
I live an hour and a half away so I don't have much in travel expense. I go about 4 times a year, maybe 5, tend to meet friends or family when they come to Disney, buy an annual pass eat QS meals more than TS and only go for 2 to 3 nights at a time.
 

ArielDreams

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
We go every other year with a cheaper vacation on the “off” years. I have the Disney Visa and in 2 years, we have a good amount of points to cover the bulk of our dining. I also follow a savings plan I found on Pinterest. There are tons out there that have schedules of how much to save each week. I alternate between adding it our general savings account and vacation account (based on our needs at the time).
 
  • LeslieLou

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2011
    A lot of folks have given good suggestions about saving on a trip

    BUT I think the much more important thing is what your broader budget looks like

    do you have a budget?
    do you have debt eating up your income? Focus and pay it off.
    do you know where your money is going? I’ve experienced significant money going down the drain I didn’t even realize before my Dh and I started using Every Dollar app. Eating out, for example, can be a killer.
    What can you do to increase your income? Change jobs, have a side hustle?

    That’s the primary way I’ve created more disposable income for things like Disney. Then add being frugal with different things like food, lodging , etc. and you’ve got a pretty great vacation budget!
     

    ford91exploder

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 30, 2009
    When I was actively visiting WDW

    1 - Frequent Flyer Miles (my office is an airplane in non covid times)
    2 - CC Rewards basically pay EVERYTHING by CC and pay it off at end of month (also helps in budgeting)
    3 - DVC membership
    4 - Stay in 1BR or larger onsite so you could cook in room + stock of reasonably priced snacks and beverages
    This allowed us to visit our favorite Disney restaurants but as we tended to be light eaters in the AM why spend a hundred bucks for breakfast while eating in room on the balcony was just a nice relaxing experience esp at OKW. When returning to resort at noonish for pool + food make a panini for each of us along with a side dish. then splurging on dinner was not painful.

    That was our secret for 2-3 trips per year.
     

    bakerworld

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 24, 2010
    When our kids were young we could only go about every 3 years. We'd save up for the Hotel, park tickets, air and pay that as soon as we could book. Then we'd save up for spending and food. Most of the food was eaten in the room with only one TS per day. I think the largest ticket we ever bought was a 5 day.

    Now eliminate the kids and - boom - you are able to go every year. Since by the time we were in a space to go every year and we were use to eating in the room, our spending and food was minimal so we started upgrading the room using various discounts. Without the kids home our daily expenses diminished to the point we could go several times during the year for long weekends.

    Eliminating the kids is the best way to afford annual visits - LOL (just kidding). Our kids didn't mind eating PB&J and cereal in the room if it meant they could go to the MK.
     

    MudQueen22

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 14, 2014
    Some people just have more disposable income than others.
    That has always been my assumption. People get uncomfortable with that idea, but that's just the reality. And honestly, no one should be ashamed that they make more or less than someone else.

    We could probably go every year if a) that is all we wanted to ever do (going no other places), b) we downsized to a smaller house, c) we stayed off-site, packed sandwiches, and stayed less than five days per year, d) find employment that pays better and/or get a side hustle or second job.

    As it stands, we a) like going other places too, b) like our current house, c) wouldn't mind off-site, but we like to stay longer and eat all the food while we are there, and d) we are overall happy with our current careers and we aren't interested in working more hours.
     
  • chaselovesnemo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2009
    I think many of the people who go yearly are within driving distance or close enough for cheap plane tickets. Being in Canada surely adds a lot to your cost. We live 10 hours from Disneyland (driveable) and make it there about every year. We have a 3.5 hr (200-400$ flight each) to WDW and only get there every 4-5 years.

    Family size matters too. We are a family of 6 (youngest doesn’t need a ticket yet) and it obviously costs so much more than it did when we were childless. We stay offsite, rarely eat sit down, and when we do WDW over Disneyland could honestly go to Europe for the same price. (5kish)

    We do have a built-in vacation budget. $400 per month is automatically pulled from my husband’s paycheck and put in a savings acct we use solely for vacation. That’s just one of our financial priorities.
     

    cjlong88

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 1, 2019
    As my partner and I have made more money, we have consciously kept our spending virtually the same. That gives us more money to play with each year. We invest most of it and use the rest to fund our obsession with travel.

    A big house, fancy clothes, eating out, or expensive cars don’t make us really happy. Sure, they are nice...but we don’t need them to sustain our happiness. Travel makes us happy. So we have cut costs in all other areas and put that money towards travel.
     

    JFDIS

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2020
    I live an hour and a half away and go once a month. We usually stay 1-2 nights and twice a year stay 3 nights. Occasionally we do day trips as well where we don’t stay over. We are a family of two adults and two toddlers. We all have AP’s. We stay always stay on property and I’m always searching for deals. I’ve been renting DVC points lately. We pack all our food for the parks and only eat table service once a trip.
     

    friedela

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2017
    Everyone on the boards seems to go to Disney almost yearly, how do you all afford it? We are from Canada and I feel like we've been saving forever!! I would love to be able to go yearly but it's so expensive! last time I was at Disney was in 2011 with my then boyfriend now husband, since then we've bought a house got married and had 2 kids and are only just now getting to a place where Disney is a financial possibility (then covid came along 😡) I've been pricing things out and once you factor in the exchange rate we are already pushing $5K not including flights food or souvenirs.

    savings tips from frequent visitors would be great
    Fellow Canadian here. The exchange rate is killer when planning a Disney trip! We have only ever gone on a Canadian resident deal. But I hear you... unless you are fine with going into debt for vacations (which we are not), depending on the financial situation of the travellers getting there every year is downright impossible for most families (Disney ain't cheap.) Like many have said, having a year round budget helps. We allocate a set amount every month for vacations and miss out on other things throughout the year in order to put vacation money aside. We haven't gone every year, but when we do it's paid for in full and we have had the satisfaction of saving and enjoying our trip, even if it's only every few years.
     

    DisMommyTX

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2015
    We have upper middle class incomes, but our cars are 10 years old and we generally live below our means. We stayed off-site for the first 10 years, always fly free on points, eat one meal per day in the park, etc. We prioritize vacations (and experiences in general) over material things, so it is a healthy portion of our annual budget. For the last 4 years, my monthly 'car payment' has been spent on APs instead. We also give things like specialty restaurants or other splurges for an upcoming trip as birthday and Christmas gifts. The budget board has been very helpful reducing expenses as well.
     

    MICKIMINI

    Love the Mouse!
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2003
    Like OP's we have an annual WDW budget and make saving for it a priority. We are middle class and not wealthy. This is how our family does it:

    We use SWA and fly free. It is worth the annual fee and we max out as many points as possible. I've found our electric utility will let you charge up to $600 for $2.95, so I run a credit and charge three times a year = 1800 points. I just found our life insurance has a $2.95 fee to charge our annual premium. I actively look for ways to grow the point fund while most are free, I can pay $15-20 a year to get a one way ticket. SWA has an option to shop online and many store specials with say 4 points for every dollar and it adds up. The more I look, the more ways I find to get points.

    We've been DVC since 1996. We can adjust the size of our villa or lengthen our trip. We've been picking up contracts as of late (pay cash)! We gift our son and DIL so we can spend time together at WDW. If we have extra points I rent them. I pay our annual MF's in full in December using GC's which I buy at a discount or cash back. DH and I consider DVC our "gifts". We may get take out once a month (or less). We downsized five years ago and bought a smaller house and are debt free.

    We buy groceries for our villa equal to what we spend at home - 0 cost. We have breakfast, occasionally a simple lunch or dinner and snacks for "free". We spend about $50 a day when we are out and about on food. Some days may be $15 (2 coffees) and another day, a nice meal $125. It just works out.

    We rent a car and I start "stalking" to get the best rate. I have a $588 rate w/taxes/fees for 12 nights (Thrifty) in Oct/Nov for an SUV with a second driver (our son) so we can all use the car. Tickets are the most expensive part IMO. We've taken resort only trips which cost next to nothing since we are DVC.

    This may seem a lot of work, however I've been doing this so long it is easy. You'll find your way. Open an account and start putting in any bonuses, gifts and a monthly or weekly contribution or use your tax refund. Be creative! Good luck!
     
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    Cold71

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 13, 2011
    We start saving about a year out. Although with the way prices are going up and the fact that I'll have two kids to buy tickets for next year. I'm not exactly sure what those vacations look like going forward in to 2022. We typically like to go down for around 8-9 nights with a budget of around $8000. You don't seem to get a whole lot for that anymore. The moderate hotel rack rates are getting hilariously expensive.

    I've dabbled with the idea of DVC however I really don't have 30-35 grand to drop then turn around and pay the dues.
     

    Keetchino

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 7, 2018
    Both me and my husband are mid-to-upper middle class. Our house is smaller than many of our co-workers. A lot of my co-workers like to have fancier cars (Lexus, Cadillac, Infinit, etc), while I got a rebuilt (formally totaled) ‘13 Chevy Equinox..... so instead of getting bigger and better everything, we prefer to spend our money on trips (Disney and elsewhere)
     

    Starport Seven-Five

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2019
    I've dabbled with the idea of DVC however I really don't have 30-35 grand to drop then turn around and pay the dues.
    9 nights in the mid-season at SSR would be ~145 points. At $110/point it would be about 16.5k via resale with $1030 annual dues (2021 rates).

    Still a lot of money in one sitting but it can be done way cheaper than 30-35 grand.
     

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