For many, travel is a great thrill – it provides the chance to explore a new place, to dive deep into the unknown, and to escape the daily grind, even if just for a weekend. However, it isn’t always easy to accommodate excursions given the constraints of our schedules and our budgets. That’s why if you want to travel, you need a plan. Here are steps you can take before, during, and after your much-needed vacation. Safe travels!
Create a travel budget and set money aside from every paycheck to fund your trip. Even if the destination and date are spontaneous, don’t travel until you have the money.
Plan out the logistics of your trip beforehand to save money, time, and reduce stress.
- Search for flights in a private or an incognito browser to avoid artificial price inflation.
- Compare prices on travel and lodging on comparison websites (such as Expedia or Kayak).
- Book your travel plans in advance. Experts say the cheapest flight departure times are early morning, late evening, or over meal times on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Once you’ve set your plans, it’s time to pack your bags. What you bring (and what you don’t) can help you travel more efficiently.
- Bring versatile items based around the anticipated weather and planned activities.
- Pack unwanted or cheap thrift store clothes to donate along the way if you want room for souvenirs.
- Stock up on snacks for the airport, airplane, or road trip to avoid overspending on overpriced food.
Now is the fun part! But be careful – this is also the moment when it is easiest to let spontaneity and extravagant spending get the best of you. With just a little planning, you will be able to make the most of your trip – without going overboard or over budget.
- Visit local restaurants to avoid overpriced tourist traps.
- Choose an early breakfast or lunch for cheaper menu options.
- Get a bus pass, rent a bike, or walk. If you do choose or need to travel by taxi or rental car, plan your day to minimize travel time and cost.
If you’re planning on using a credit card while traveling, be sure to follow these “do’s and don’ts”:
- DO use a card that offers bonuses or airline miles.
- DON’T assume that your credit card will be accepted everywhere you go.
- DO bring a backup source of funds in case of emergency.
- DON’T use a card that charges foreign transaction fees.
- DO tell your card issuer where you will be traveling.
- DON’T forget to pay your everyday bills that are due while you’re away.
- Check your credit card statement for fraudulent purchase or prices that exceed what’s on your receipt. Let your credit card issuer know about anything suspicious.
- Pay off all credit card purchases on time, with the budgeted travel money.
- Reflect – it’s easy to get thrown back into reality. Don’t forget to take some time to reflect on the experience you just had.
Money Management E-Newsletter: September 2018