How to Plan For a Family Bucket List Trip

Posted on

Most families have them. Those destinations that you “someday” want to take the kids to. A Hawaiian Beach, a Disney Cruise, or a multi-generational trip through Europe. However, with a hefty price tag and logistics upon logistics, family bucket list trips often stay on the back burner until long after the kids have graduated.

Here’s how to turn your “Someday” into “Let’s Start Packing!”

How to Plan for a Family Bucket List Trip in 10 Easy Steps

Invest in Your Dreams FIRST.Jami Savage and family on a beach

Investing in our dreams first meant that we had to force ourselves to save for our bucket list adventures, otherwise the money would find it’s way out of our account quickly. For us, we set up an auto withdraw of $200 on the first of the month that then moved over to our trip account. Because it was automatic and at the first of the month it quickly became a habit.

This upcoming trip to Australia has been in this works for 4 years. YES… 4 years!

A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

kids doing xplorers program in cape spear national park“Finding” $200 at first wasn’t easy but with surprisingly less effort we were able to make the adjustment to our budget quickly. We cut costs by not eating out as much, started grocery ordering so that we had to plan out our weekly meals, moved to a “cheap and easy” meal of the week (such as grilled cheese and tomato soup), and when we need new clothes I always head to a consignment store first to see what I can stock up on before I head to the big box stores. We also do regular “spending freezes” where we pick a week or two where we don’t spend anything extra. It’s amazing how having to wait even two weeks forces you to rethink that purchase, see if you can borrow something, or simply go without. Game changer!

Put your Credit Card to Work

From hotel bookings to flights, to car rentals, and more, credit card points are a great way to earn free and or discounted travel opportunities. We all know this, however, I recommend digging deep into your credit card provider and finding out ALL of the benefits your card offers as there are often many additional partnerships and discounts to be had when you do some extra research!

Luxury Living

family-relaxing-on-beach-kauaiWaking up with the sunset rising over a sandy beach is the things Instagram dreams are made of. While we’d love to stay in 5-star resorts on every adventure, there’s also a lot of magic that happens in campsites and shared accommodation stays. Therefore on all of our adventures, we like to have a combination of super simple affordable accommodations so that we can save up and have luxury experiences sprinkled throughout our trips.

Family Commitment to Purchasing Experiences Over Things

As a family, we talk a lot about what we choose to invest in… family shopping spree or a weekend in Whistler and recently my son asked, “What if we didn’t go on more trips, could we have more things?” Heartbreaking I explained that yes we could… but it went into a long conversation about how we value our experiences and time together over material items.

12 Months To Go

Book and Pay for Hotels Now

outside-of-microtel-ladysmithEvery month for the past 12 months I have booked and paid for one or two nights of our accommodations on our trip, which means that when we travel all of our accommodations will have been paid for. This has allowed us to slowly pay for our accommodations over the past year (when we’re really excited to be counting down to the big adventure) and also allow us to slowly start to research the trip without being overwhelmed by the process.

Birthday and Christmas Cash

zip-lining-family“What can I get the kids?” Cash! The kids were thrilled to receive less material items and instead of their own spending money for the trip. This also helped with the building excitement on the adventure as they planned out some of the adventures and items they wanted to purchase. As parents we also asked our parents for money too instead of gifts, helping to cover some of our costs while away and take some pressure off the bank account.

3 Months To Go


Rent Out your Home

Whether you want to go as formal as Airbnb or just want to find a friend to housesit or rent out your home, having your home taken care of and also earning a bit of cash while you’re gone is a great way to save money (and be at peace!) while you’re away.

Go on Savings Mode

Knowing that a trip is coming up our family goes on a budget freeze and saves like crazy! Unless it’s on the “need” list, it doesn’t get purchased and everything else can wait until we’re back from our adventure. (Often by then it’s not so necessary anymore!)

1 Month To Go

Don’t Stock Up for Your Trip!

How many times have you heard of people stocking up on new clothes or items for their trip? Don’t do it! Instead, pack as few items as possible! For our family, we know our kids will want a hoodie and I’ll want some tank tops and my husband a shirt. So instead of packing those items along, we leave them at home and then buy souvenirs when we see something we really like.

Now that you’ve learned How to plan for a family bucket list trip Here are some articles to inspire your planning!


Northern Ireland

Eastern Canada

BC Road Trip

Is this a sponsored post?: No, we just want to share with our how to plan for a family bucket list trip and turn their dreams into a reality.

About The Author
Jami Savage
Jami Savage
Jami Savage is one of the top Family Travel Writers in Canada, and has been featured on CTV and Vancouver Sun, and more. Go here to read our families story about how we went from backyard adventurers to world travelers, and how you can do the same. If you want to send Jami a quick message, visit her contact page here.
Related Posts


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Jami Savage

Full Time Travel Writer, Mom who is passionate about empowering and educating travelers on how you can use your own tourism dollars as a catalyst for positive change worldwide. Click here to learn more about us, our family, and how we lead an adventure filled life!

Follow Us on Social
Recent Posts