Summer vacation season is almost here and I think it is fair to say all of us could benefit from a little rest and relaxation after a challenging year.

Whether you are fully vaccinated and ready to book the vacation of your dreams, plan to enjoy the great outdoors by hitting the open road with your family or prefer to transform your backyard into an oasis of tranquility, it is important to evaluate your financing options to keep your summer fun affordable.

• Are you a homeowner? According to Kentucky Realtors, the median home sales price in the state was $190,000 as of January 2021, a 14 percent increase over the previous year. If you are a homeowner, using a home equity loan or home equity line of credit may be the most affordable financing option for major purchases or large home renovations such as a new pool or recreation room.

If you are making smaller purchases or tackling simpler projects such as a new deck or landscaping, a low interest rate personal loan may be the option for you because these loans require no collateral and can be wrapped up the same day in most cases. Credit cards are another convenient option, just be sure to look at your interest rate and any cash advance or other fees very closely.

• Time for a new boat or RV? The interest rate environment still is historically low, making loans of all kinds more affordable. This includes personal loans, which are unsecured, and recreational vehicle loans, which rely on the RV or boat as collateral.

If your family loves to spend weekends outdoors and plans to use a travel trailer, RV or boat regularly, this could be a solid investment. This may be especially true if you have children or grandchildren who could benefit from unplugging and enjoying nature.

• What’s your best financing option? If you recently purchased a boat or RV, you may be able to refinance it at a lower rate to enjoy more affordable monthly payments or pay it off sooner. Some local credit unions and banks even offer cash back incentives for moving your loan from another lender.

Take a few minutes to contact your local financial institution to find out what financing options are available to you and ask about any special promotions that may be offered. There may be a wide variety of rates and terms in the market, so do your homework.

Whether you choose a home equity line of credit, a personal loan or a specialty RV or boat loan, it is important to understand the answers to the following questions:

• What is the interest rate you will be charged?

• Is the interest rate fixed or adjustable?

• What is the term of your loan (or length of time to repay)?

• What is the total monthly payment?

• Is additional insurance required? What will that monthly expense look like?

• Are there any upfront or out of pocket costs?

• Are there any prepayment penalties, annual fees or other important details to note?

Free online calculators can help you estimate your monthly payments and explore your options, but you also might want to speak with a knowledgeable representative about which type of loan makes the most sense for your specific situation.

Spending a little time evaluating your financing options now can make a big difference in how much those summer plans end up costing you over time.

Wishing you all the best as you relax and recharge this summer.

Chuck Eads is chief lending officer at Abound Credit Union.