According to a recent AAA travel survey, nearly 100 million Americans will embark on family vacations this year. That’s four in 10 adults. Many are planning to hit the road for their trips.
Whatever your summer plans, here are some tips to help ensure your finances are vacation ready this travel season.
Be realistic about your budget. Even if you’ve been saving all year for a fun family getaway, it’s easy to up spending more than you expected – or budgeted. Look for wiggle room in your budget to help cover the unanticipated extras sure to pop up while you’re on the road. Some local financial institutions offer a skip-a-payment option to free up cash by skipping a loan payment during the summer months.
Consider your financing options. For those of us who might not have saved as much as we would have liked this past year, a vacation doesn’t have to be out of reach. By considering the options available to you, such as a Home Equity Line of Credit or fixed-rate signature loan, you might find financing a dream vacation more affordable than you expected. Whatever financing option you choose, be sure you are comfortable with the interest rate, term and monthly payments required
Plan ahead for next year. Making saving automatic is one of the best ways to ensure your future vacation dreams come true. If your payroll is automatically deposited into your credit union or bank account, consider creating an ongoing “payroll deduction” to funnel a portion of each paycheck into a separate savings account. You might be surprised by how quickly $25 or $50 per paycheck adds up with compound interest.
Shop around for the best deals. The Today Show recommends booking early and using sites such as TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Expedia and HomeAway to find great travel deals. Comparison shopping is easier than ever before thanks to the online resources at our fingertips. Many online travel sites also offer special, limited-time deals to email list subscribers.
access your money on the go. While debit cards are convenient to use, there might be times when you need cash on your vacation. Make sure you know how to find surcharge-free ATM locations to avoid paying fees. Local credit unions often partner with others around the country to provide more access to ATMs and shared branches, should a need arise while you’re on the road.
Whether your summer plans include hitting the open road, flying somewhere new and exciting, or staying closer to home, ensuring your finances are ready can help you enjoy a stress-free vacation.
Here’s to making more memories with your loved ones this summer.