On Vacation


1. To analyze the costs associated with vacation and travel

2. To promote skills involved in planning, budgeting and booking travel-related activities

Subject Area

English Language Arts (K-12), Math (4-5)


Introduce money management as it pertains to planning a vacation with the following discussion points:

  • As a class, discuss what a "dream vacation" might look like.
  • Where might the vacation be?
  • Who might go and for how long?
  • What might the activities be?
  • What are all of the costs associated with going on a trip?
  • How does the duration of the trip impact the cost of the trip?



Length: 4–5 hours (this can take place over a few days)
Materials: Vacation Handout, Trip Itinerary Handout, vacation brochures, hotel brochures, menus and activity ideas from the destination you select, computer (optional)

  • In this activity, students (in groups or individually) will need to plan a three-day vacation. As the instructor, you will need to assign the destination and a total trip budget.
  • To start, have students read the first page of the Vacation Handout.
  • Students can then begin researching all of the plans and costs associated with the trip, brainstorming different ideas for meals, activities, etc. (Planning Space on the Vacation Handout will come in handy) and recording them in their Trip Itineraries.
  • As the students will need to consider many facets of budgeting in this activity, they should expect to fill in their Trip Itineraries more than once. Every activity, meal and travel idea should be examined several times before students decide on a plan they are happy with.
  • Once the students have finished their Trip Itinerary (on budget) the activity is complete. Class presentations are optional.


  • Once the Trip Itinerary is complete, tell students that suddenly an airport tax has been implemented and $100 must be allotted to that cost. Each student should then be encouraged to work independently to prioritize the trip according to their individual preferences and cut costs accordingly.

Collaborative Feedback

  • Discuss the obstacles in planning such a trip.
  • Discuss the most useful/efficient ways of researching costs.
  • Did students prioritize according to category (i.e. allotting more money to dining out vs. money spent on accommodation)?

Teacher Tips

  • Encourage/reward innovative thinking such as renting a bicycle, bringing a tent and camping, destination-specific advertisements (i.e. cheap things to see and do), etc.
  • Try this same activity but with locations close to home. It could be a camping trip or a weekend music festival. Once the students have come up with their ideas, they may want to start saving up for a trip down the road.

Pre- and Post-Assessment of Lesson

  • In what ways does setting a budget help you make decisions with your money?
  • In what ways did setting a budget help you make decisions with your money?