For some people, summer vacation is a time to explore new places, spend quality time with family, and make countless new memories. Whether you’re hitting the beach, going on a camping trip, or travelling to a new city, you want to make sure your finances are in order so you can kick back and relax on vacation. Here are some do’s and don’ts when planning your summer getaway:
- Do check your credit report before travelling. You want to be sure that all your financial obligations are in order before booking your vacation.
- Do establish a budget and stick to it. It can be easy to get caught up in the luxuries a vacation has to offer. Establishing a budget beforehand helps you to stay within your desired price range while still having a good time. A budget keeps you conscious about your spending so you can avoid any financial stress.
- Do consider vacationing with family and friends. This is a great opportunity to reunite with family and loved ones, especially those you may not see too often. You can also save money by sharing travel expenses, like renting a house together and sharing meals.
- Do consider a “staycation.” Who said vacation couldn’t be right at home? Go out and try new restaurants, attend events, and explore those unknown places that have been right under your nose all this time. Not only do you save money on hotel/travel expenses, but you also get to be a tourist in your own back yard.
- Do notify your bank/credit union if you are travelling far away or making any major purchases. Make sure your bank is aware of your travel plans so that no red flags come up when they see a major expense or expenses made from an abnormal location. That way they can continue to monitor your credit for fraud while you are away.
- Don’t eat out every meal. Keep in mind that money can add up if you dine-out every meal. Try choosing a few days to explore the local cuisine and then consider finding a nearby grocery store to make some “home-cooked” meals with the family. Or when booking your hotel check for options for free breakfast or meal coupons.
- Don’t dig into your retirement account for vacation money. Taking money out of your 401(k) or IRA puts you at risk of paying taxes on that withdrawal and being subject to a withdrawal penalty. Don’t put your future on the line for a vacation you can save up for.
- Don’t leave any electronics or important documents out in the open in your hotel room. Consider investing in a travel safe, if the hotel does not provide one, so you can store any important documents while you’re out enjoying your time. (ex. ID’s, passports, car keys, etc.)
- Don’t tag your exact location on pictures you post on social media. Although it’s nice that we want to share our memories with family and friends on social media sites, be sure not to give your exact location. Bad actors could easily see where you’re vacationing and take advantage of your empty house. Try uploading pictures once you’re back from vacation to avoid this problem.
Money-talk may seem inevitable when it comes to planning a vacation, but you can still make the most of your trip without breaking the bank. By taking the time to establish your vacation goals, you can begin planning a budget for your next adventure! Summer vacation does not have to be a financial nightmare!