We have a family of 7, five kids from 11-18 so every trip we take is not cheap unless we go camping. So how do we budget for trips and still stay on track with our financial goals? Here are the details on our recent trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain with four of the kids and four of their friends. It was a trip everyone was looking forward to as we are definitely a roller coaster family.
We try to stay at places that are big enough for all of us and we minimize the cost. Mostly, we stay at VRBO’s or Air BnB’s so we can also cook some of our meals. This trip, we stayed at an Embassy Suites. We reserved two suite rooms, each with two full beds and a pull-out couch. We brought several air mattresses to provide options for more comfort or if people didn’t’ want to share a bed. The great thing was that breakfast was included for all 10 of us for the three days we stayed. Breakfast for that many for three days would have added another $360 at least.
Cost: 3 nights of two suites = $1,043.94
Amusement Park Tickets
Planning ahead and purchasing tickets online typically saves money at most places versus the day of at the ticket window. If you purchase the Six Flags season pass online in September, you can use them through the rest of the current year and through the end of the next year at any park, including the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Phoenix. We also purchased the meal plan as we would have spent way more on food and drinks otherwise. This was funded by our summer activity fund that we didn’t use up this summer. Also helps us reduce cost next summer.
Cost: 10 season pass tickets plus meal plan = $1,224
We needed to rent lockers to store our stuff while we were riding rides. Not a lot of money but still needs to be included in the budget.
We needed to take both cars because of the number of people. We do have a gas budget line as part of our normal budget, but we will still need to fill up the rest of the month. We offset the difference from our travel budget.
The cost of meals for 10 people can add up. Because we got free breakfast and meals as part of our ticket pass, we only had to pay for two meals and snacks for the car. These were out of three different budget lines.
Cost lunch: $52
Cost dinner: $122
Cost snacks for car ride: $150
Our entire trip added up to $2,829.94 which is still a lot of money but pretty affordable for 10 people. For a family of four, I estimate the total cost at about $1,280. The parents of the kids that joined us did pay for their park tickets and we covered the rest of the cost. We were able to share memories (two of the friends had never ridden a roller coaster before) and set up prepaid activities for next summer. Because we had left over funds from our previous summer and began to save for next summer, it took us about two months to save and spend for this trip.