There’s no doubt you’ve been traveling less in recent months, but why not look ahead and start planning for your dream vacation? Maybe you even have some extra downtime these days to prepare. Tailor your next vacay to your wants and needs, without the financial stress.
To help you get ready for a rejuvenating trip, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks on creating a financial strategy for your next vacation. Get the most out of every dollar you spend and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
Plan Everything in Advance, Especially Your Budget
We get it—planning a trip can be stressful if it’s not done in an organized way. To make sure you have a game plan for your vacation, set some time aside to go through each part of the planning process and keep your stress levels in check. Not only should you create a packing list and schedule so you don’t forget anything, but prioritize making a plan for your money. Figure out how much you can and want to spend on your vacation. Then you can allocate those funds between activities, accommodations, and other travel expenses.
There are several ways to come up with a budget, including the use of apps to plan your trip. Some of these let you track your spending in real-time while traveling, making it convenient and easy to stay on top of your budget plan. This way, you’ll never be left wondering how much of your total trip budget you have left to spend. Don’t forget to include some wiggle room in your budget so you’ll have extra funds to splurge on what you value most—whether it’s shopping, activities, or food and drink.
Avoid Pesky Fees
One of the less fun parts of traveling is the hidden fees that can appear on your bank statement when you least expect them. To avoid these unnecessary costs, do your research while in the planning stage so you won’t be unpleasantly surprised.
If you’re planning on traveling overseas this is especially important, as there are expenses associated with foreign currencies, many of which can be avoided by using a bank without foreign transaction fees. While these costs are usually smaller, they can add up quickly, so finding ways to avoid them is a smart way to save.
Another cost that can increase your travel expenses is airline baggage fees. These come from packing too much or bringing a suitcase that’s too big for the airline to accept through baggage claim. While some extra costs are unavoidable, and won’t impact your trip too much, taking the extra measures (like weighing your suitcase at home) to steer clear of the avoidable ones is never a bad idea. Pesky fees do add up!
Use Rewards and Direct Booking
When using a third party site for vacation planning, you’re likely to have extra service fees tacked on. For this reason, take advantage of direct booking options which allow you to bypass these costs. It’s a smart choice to book directly with your hotel, as you’ll get direct access to the best customer service, as opposed to handling any issues through a third party.
On top of direct booking options, take advantage of the best rewards programs offered by travel companies. These allow access to larger room upgrades and special treatment, with the added bonus of saving you some extra money. Some hotel loyalty programs like Kimpton’s Inner Circle even include a complimentary welcome amenity (hello bottle of wine, hello cheese plate!) upon arrival.
Don’t Be Afraid to Splurge!
With all of these tips, remember that even when budgeting and planning for a vacation, there’s no reason you can’t treat yourself and splurge a little bit. With a well thought-out plan with wiggle room built in, you’ll be able to spend more on the little luxuries you encounter while away. Whether it’s new outfits, a larger room, or incredible bar and dining experiences—these will really bring your trip to the next level.