How do people on one average income with several children afford to take big vacations to Disneyland more than once a year?

Jenna - posted on 12/14/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )

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We have five kids, ages 8 through 9 months, live in the Southwestern part of the U.S. (so So CA is less than a day's drive for us), yet checking prices for tickets and places to stay, there's no way that we can afford to go unless we save up for at least a year beforehand (it's like $2,000 for a family of our size to drive down, stay in a hotel for a few days, go to the park, eat). We have a decent income and we live modestly (an average house, a decent-sized mortgage, regular utility bills, no huge debt, own both our cars that are both pretty fuel efficient, etc.). I have friends in similar financial situations as we are in, but they go and make that trip 2-3 times a year and I have no idea how they afford it? Is there a secret website that sells really cheap tickets or something?

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Angela - posted on 12/15/2011

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I used to think that everyone did things on their own (financially), and wondered how they managed to always have money for things without complaint. But, talking to my friends over the years, I realise that most of them receive regular 'gifts' from their parents - something I have never experienced. Have pride that you got yourselves where you are on your own merit. Credit cards cause nothing but worry and stress, if not used correctly. The world's in the state its in, because people spend money they do not have. Your family will appreciate the time you spend together, wherever you are! All the best.

Christy - posted on 12/15/2011

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They are probably in debt up to their eyeballs. CREDIT CARDS! Don't do it. Save for a year and then go.

Jenna - posted on 12/16/2011

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Thanks, everyone. We are saving to go next summer and it will probably be a one-time thing. We might go again when our youngest is older, but not for many more years at this point. We drive to Disneyland, as we live out west and it's about a 10-hour drive from where we are to Anaheim. I'd love to see Disney World, as I've never been, but I don't know how we'd ever be able to afford flying with five children or driving that far (gas, hotels) without saving for a long time. And when it comes to saving, I'd rather save for the future or for unexpected things, like a huge car repair bill. I have a hard time putting money toward vacations. But we are hoping to save enough by next summer to go, or maybe the following year.

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Candace - posted on 12/17/2011

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Australia also has a lot different money situation than Americans. The minimum wage their is $20/hr but shoe laces cost $8. Here our people make $7+change/hr but shoe laces cost $.50 It all depends on your specific financial situation. The best way to do it is save as much as you can and find the sites and businesses that offer discounts and go on the off season, if possible.

Rebecca - posted on 12/17/2011

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I don't know how they manage to have multiple major holidays but I do know here in Australia there are a couple of websites that offer holiday layby. You basically buy the holiday and pay it off over 12 months. You can add extra to it so you will also have spending money. Mind you more than one a year would still be impossible for most families

Tinker1987 - posted on 12/17/2011

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Yeah sounds like they probably max our credit cards or something,that or they are tight with money,and do other things to earn extra money like saving cans and bottles.

Candace - posted on 12/17/2011

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What they do is save! Save $20 here and $10 there. Keep it separate from the rest of your finances. Any time you make a purhase ask yourself, "Can I live without this?" If you can, put it back. Take the money you save and put it aside. Nothing wrong with putting a vacation on a credit card as long as you can work it into your finances to pay it off before your next one. Really, saving as much as you can is the best way to do this. Instead of getting that new movie that just came out, put the $20 or $30 you would have spent on it in your saving spot for vacations. Another great way is to pay with cash. Any change you get, put it in a jar. You can also google the topic and get some other ideas, I am sure. Hope this helps! (This is how we save for vacations. We are a family of 5. The kids are from 5 months to 8 years.)

Denikka - posted on 12/15/2011

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A lot of people go into debt to keep up appearances. So that's quite possible.

I also know someone (my siblings aunt) who could travel just about anywhere for just about nothing. She could go around the world at this point and pay just about nothing for plane tickets or hotels. She flies my sister out to see her (only about an hours flight) every holiday (spring break, summer holidays, and part of Christmas break) and pays absolutely nothing.
She has next to no income. She's on disability and actually quite sick. Her medication gets her Air Miles. And when you're on about 50 pills a day, it adds up rather quickly :P

There are places to get cheap hotels and if you're careful, you can get cheap plane tickets. It is possible to pay a fraction of what it would normally cost.
Although. . .I personally can think of a lot of better things I would rather do with that money than going to Disneyland or the same vacation over and over.

[deleted account]

I would think credit as well. For the 3 of us, we spent $500 on food and souvenirs. We were there for 10 days. So we used our normal food budget and had food in our room. We had water bottles, peanut butter, jam, bread, oatmeal, and a few snacks. We didn't have to worry about flight, park tickets, or hotel since my dad paid for those. We were able to save up the 500 in 2 months by being very careful with out money. We gave up a lot in those months so that we could go. My daughter was under a year and was free to the park.

I know a lot of people use airline miles to cut down costs as well.

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I agree with Jodi, Disney is fun, but once is enough.

You can do Disney pretty cheap if you buy the tickets in bulk--split with another family and get the no expiration option. Not sure how far you are, but for us, it was cheaper to fly--watch the airlines and be flexible with your date, there are almost always $49 flights in and out of Orlando, you just have to be flexible and snatch them when you see them.

I have a girlfriend who goes all the time, but only for a weekend at a time. She has 2 kids and spends about $900 a trip. I don't think that's too bad for a whole weekend, but we prefer to mix it up and visit different places.

Bonnie - posted on 12/15/2011

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Yeah I would say credit cards (which is not really a smart move) or perhaps maybe every time they have a little extra money they put some in a jar towards, but may never have money for anything else.

Jane - posted on 12/15/2011

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Credit cards. Or they aren't saving for the kids' college funds. But probably credit cards.

[deleted account]

Maybe they put it on their credit cards. Or have income that you don't know about. Since they go a lot maybe they could give you tips on where to get good prices for tickets and hotels. My husband likes kayak.com for finding good prices on tickets, hotels, etc.

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