Getting the Most from your Vacation Travel Budget
Travel is back thanks to lifting restrictions – and just in time for a well-deserved vacation! Individuals and families who have been cooped up at home all year may be ready for a chance to stretch their legs and see an exciting place away from home.
Kansas City Credit Union has the top 8 travel finance tips to make sure you get to enjoy your vacation without breaking the bank!
- Make a Travel Budget
- Research Your Destination
- Book Your Flights or Rentals ASAP
- Swap Souvenirs for Photos
- Find Free Activities
- Spend Less on Inner City Travel
- Travel Rewards Credit Cards
- Vacation Loans
Creating a Budget
1. Every good financial plan starts with a budget, and creating a budget begins with setting priorities.
What’s most important for you during your travels? Are you into trying new foods or experiencing a new culture? Are you planning on visiting specific museums or major tourist sights? Is this business travel business with a little extra time to make some personal memories? Are you into staying at a 5-star luxury hotel or would you rather stay somewhere cheaper and save money for spending on local attractions and experinces?
Budgeting appropriately for your interests allows you to spend your money on what matters most to you during your vacation. (Don’t forget to include some room in the budget for emergency expenses!)
Keeping Your Expenses Low
2. Planning ahead and researching your destination ahead of time is key to successful financial vacation planning. For example, some countries may have travel restrictions in place; this is crucial information for a traveler in the planning stages. And your dollar may be worth more (or less) in some countries than in others; doing a little bit of reading ahead can help you choose an incredible vacation destination without burning through your vacation savings in a hurry.
3. Book your flights, hotels and car rentals ASAP. Many airlines still offer flexible rebooking so if you need to change dates, you will be able to do so pretty easily. Flights are still on the cheaper side but will only get more expensive as more people are looking to travel for business or pleasure. On the other hand, many car rental companies sold off 50% or more of their fleets during the heart of the pandemic and many have not been able to build their fleets back up to scale yet. So get a jump on your rental car bookings if possible!
4. Swap souvenir trinket gifts for friends and family for photos. (Does your mom actually use the mugs in her “Destinations Collection?”) Instead of purchasing and transporting more meaningless stuff, take photos to illustrate the new places and cultures you see. Post them, frame them or otherwise share them, but instead of buying souvenirs for the sake of souvenirs, save your money for purchasing something of value and useful you encounter along your journey.
5. Find free activities. Seasoned travelers know there are plenty of exciting ways to spend your time abroad that are not part of high-dollar tourist attractions. Visit public architecture, go hiking in unique parks, check out public art! From one-of-a-kind natural landmarks to exploring intriguing local customs, there are literally hundreds of fun – and free – things enjoy while travelling.
6. Spend less on inner city travel. Walk to your in-city destination when you can – or take public transportation. Walking is, of course, good exercise – and it doesn’t cost you a penny! And the local public transportation may be turn out to be a cultural learning experience – that is generally much cheaper than a taxi or rental vehicle.
Travel Funding Resources
7. When planning your getaway, don’t forget to use rewards program that may be available! Earn flight miles and accumulate hotel points with business travel you already engage and enjoy the rewards when it comes time for a vacation. If you use air travel for business, you should enroll in airline frequent flier programs. The same with hotel programs. Although business travel is a business expenses, you can still rack up credit on your airline and hotel loyalty accounts to redeem later for vacation flights or lodging!
8. Another travel resource you might not know about is a vacation loan. These personal loans can be used to finance travel. Many credit union members use vacation loans for a special big trip, the kind of experience you only enjoy once or twice in your lifetime! Arrange for the loan and then plan to make regular monthly payments for the trip. Or, save some of the money up yourself in advance and consider using vacation loans to add to your funds for a really big and important trip – or for unforeseen travel demands.
Need help planning your next vacation getaway – or setting up a future destination bucket list fund?
Kansas City Credit Union is here to help! Contact us online today or drop by one of our locations to speak with one of our financial advisors in person. You plan the trip, we’ll help guide you down a path that allows a fine vacation – and financial freedom!