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Smart Ways to Fund Your Vacation
If you haven’t taken a summer vacation, there’s still time to plan for a get-away.
Your trip will be much more enjoyable if you keep expenses manageable and do not accrue significant debt as a result of your vacation:
- Start saving early
- Buy your tickets in advance
- Choose your vacation location wisely
Start saving early. About three years ago, the wife and I placed a wicker basket – which later became known as the money basket – in our bedroom. We determined that at the end of each day we would place all of our change and any dollar bills in the basket. Of course, any change found, such as when out on a run, is also tossed in the basket. And while we typically limit bills thrown in the basket to $1, occasionally we will throw in a $5. You would be amazed at how quickly loose change, $1 bills – and the occasional $5 bill – add up! Our most significant haul? About $150 over a 2-3 month period. Start your money basket today and enjoy the loose change as your spending money on vacation.
Buy your tickets in advance. If your vacation will take you to a distant location, you will likely be flying and making use of a rental car. Booking your tickets as far in advance as possible will save you money. Buying airline tickets and reserving a rental car over the Internet – through travel sites such as Kayak (my wife’s favorite), Priceline, and Travelocity – is often cheaper than buying them directly through the airline or rental car company or through a travel agent. Also, keep an eye out for discounts (e.g. military, senior citizen, etc.), special deals, and coupons.
Choose your vacation location wisely. While famous, exotic locations can be tantalizing, they are often more expensive and overrun with other tourists. If you are on a tight budget, want to spend your money more wisely, and avoid crowded popular destinations, look a little closer to home. There is probably a national park, a state park, hiking trails, scenic lake, or a river within a few hours’ drive of your home. My wife and I recently joined some friends on a mini-vacation to Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border, about an eight hour drive from our home. We had a great time and did not have to worry about the expenses associated with airline tickets or a rental car.
There is no doubt that we all enjoy our summer vacations and traveling with family. Your vacation will be more enjoyable if you start saving early, buy any required tickets well in advance, and choose your vacation destination wisely.
Mr. James C. Molet holds a MBA from Wayland Baptist University. He blogs on financial topics at retirement savvy.net and author of RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit. Mr. Molet retired from the U.S. Army after 21 years in 2005.