Saving Money on Summer Travel
Nico Leyva writes for Nerdwallet, a consumer finance website that promotes financial literacy and looks for the best ways to save you money.
Summer is the time to travel. Time to pack up your car and drive, or hop a plane to a new and exciting destination. Summer is the chance to explore new cities, climb mountains, sleep outdoors, go fishing, or just lay out on the beach. But no matter where you go this summer or next, money should be the least of your worries. Unfortunately, travel isn’t cheap, and many consumers end up struggling to balance their budget after a vacation. You can decrease your stress level and increase your savings with these handy tips for saving money on summer travels.
- Buy Ahead of Time – Plane tickets are far cheaper when you book well in advance of your travel date. Save yourself a bundle by looking at ticket prices several months ahead of time, and by avoiding traveling around major holidays, like the 4th of July. Holidays and weekends tend to be when most people travel, so skip the traffic by leaving and returning on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. You can also save gas money by avoiding the same periods of heavy road traffic.
- Save, Save, Save – When you have all the details of your travels confirmed (or, even if you don’t) start saving for your trip. Open a Vacation Club account at United Financial Credit Union, and devote a chunk of your paycheck to it each month. The account has no minimum balance requirement and earns the same interest as a regular savings account.
- Pack Conservatively – Avoid baggage fees by taking just one checked bag, or see if you can fit everything in a carry-on. Fees differ from airline to airline, but you will encounter charges for the number of bags you have, and the size and weight of each bag. For car travel, a heavier car equals less gas mileage, so try to keep it as light as possible.
- Keep a Loose Budget – It is vacation, so don’t go crazy, but try to set daily or weekly spending limits. If you plan on buying gifts, set aside a portion of your budget for that. Cook dinner yourself sometimes, if that is an option. Try out the local street vendors and buy snacks that will keep you fed during the day. Use public transportation as often as you can. If you’re going abroad, check your bank or credit union’s international fees.
- Stay Safe/Stay Healthy – The last thing you want is to end up in the emergency room during your vacation. If you’re traveling outside the country, make sure you get all your vaccinations in time. If you are driving, or using a boat or RV, have your vehicle(s) inspected, and make sure you have all the outdoor and survival gear you might need. Also, check out financing for your boat, RV or other outdoor vehicle from United Financial Credit Union.
There’s no accounting for every possible expense you will encounter during your travels, but you can make the process much easier if you prepare with these savings tips. Having even the smallest bit of extra money will improve your ability to handle unexpected events.