The time to getaway from your day-to-day and relax is finally here. For most, vacation is an opportunity to escape your reality. It’s important to remember, though, that some parts of your well-deserved vacation have to align with reality – like your budget.
This guide will help you get started on planning your dream vacation on a budget without compromising on the fun and memorable experiences!
Step 1: Research, research, and more research
A cost-conscious vacation starts with research. Use all of your resources, including online searches, social media, and word of mouth. Utilize social media to see what friends have done in the past and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Look for destinations and accommodations that offer good value for your money – sometimes just being a block further from the beach has a huge impact on the price. Compare prices, read reviews, and consider alternative options for hotels and entertainment.
Tip: Adjusting your travel dates by just a day or two can fluctuate the price more than you think.
Step 2: Set a realistic budget
Before you start actually planning your vacation, set a budget based on your current financial situation. Vacation has a lot of moving parts – transportation, hotels, meals, activities, etc. Create a list along with a realistic estimated spending for each category. Creating this budget for each vacation option will give you a clear idea of what’s feasible and allow you to make informed decisions throughout the planning process.
Tip: Depending on your destination, activities may be a category you can cut back on. Set your expectations – Are you looking to relax on the beach or be the ultimate tourist? Pay close attention to free or low-cost local attractions, too, like walking tours or festivals.
Step 3: Travel credit card
If your vacation is more than a long weekend or involves a flight or two, it may be worth it to look into a travel credit card. These special credit cards offer exclusive perks and increased cash back and rewards on travel expenses. Your upcoming vacation may be there perfect opportunity to rack up some points, or cash in on those earned last year.
Double-check to see if your regular credit card allows you to cash out rewards to any gift cards that will be useful along your trip – restaurants, gas, or even airlines. Or, simply turn your points into cash and use that as some extra spending money.
Tip: Don’t get caught up in the excitement. Before applying for a new credit card, make sure you understand all of its features, including annual fees, rewards structure, and redemption options.
Step 4: Live like a local
Vacationing like a local is so in right now. Plus, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in a new area than by, well, living like you’re there to stay! Steer away from high-cost, touristy restaurants that are selling a vibe more than the food. Instead, opt for local eateries and markets recommended by your neighbors. When it comes to activities, focus on outdoor activities like cycling or a local community event rather than flashy experiences. Embracing the local lifestyle is sure to give you a deeper appreciation for the area.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to try out public transportation on day one. All those Ubers can add up, so utilize the trains or buses that are available to you.
We wish you a fun, safe, and low-cost summer vacation! For more budgeting tips and resources, visit www.PennCommunityBank.com.