Vacations: Bring Home Memories, Not Debt!

It's almost that time of year again.  The kids will soon be out of school and families everywhere will be packing up and hitting the road to go on vacation.  Whether it be the beach, the mountains, Disney, or some other favorite destination, vacations are a great time to step away from the daily grind and relax (Okay, Disney was fun but I wouldn't really consider it relaxing!).  They can be much needed time away from stressful jobs and busy schedules, and can serve to rejuvenate tired parents and kids.  Not only that, but vacations can leave us with some of our best family memories.  

Now that I've built up the family vacation, let me take a step back and share some words of caution.  Without proper planning all the wonderful, fun thoughts that fill your mind when you think about vacation can be overtaken by the guilt of spending way too much and going into debt, and the harsh reality of paying up when the bill comes due.  If you're not careful you could be paying for that vacation for months to come!  

So, how can you avoid bringing home vacation debt?  The most important thing you need to do is figure out how much you can realistically afford to spend (EVERYTHING INCLUDED).  Knowing what your budget is will help you determine what options are viable.  Don't even begin to peruse the Internet before you have figured out your budget.  That's an almost surefire way to get yourself into a vacation that you can't really afford!  And you know what that means!  You'll end up bringing home more than just good memories and a few souvenirs.