Money Saving Tips – Budgeting for Summer Vacation

summer vacationWith summer right around the corner it's a good time to review your summer vacation plans….. Here are some tips for making sure your summer vacation doesn't break the bank.

Create a Budget for Your Summer Vacation – Plans for any vacation are best made well in advance. This obviously not only gives you time to set aside the money that you will need to pay for your trip but allows you to research where you would like to visit and search for the best deals online.  Whatever your budget turns out to be make sure you add 10% for unexpected expenses!   Don't forget that gas can be much more expensive when traveling on the interstate so be sure to check prices along the route you are taking and for the location you are traveling to. By combining airfare, lodging and rental car you can typically save 10% or more…  Browse All Travelocity Vacation Packages & Save!.

Can You Afford It? –  Once a realistic overall budget has been created you've got to decide if you will be able to fund your current financial priorities and have the money available come vacation time.  A good rule of thumb is to take the entire cost of the trip (less any required deposits or advance purchases like airfare) and divide this into the number of months remaining less one month.  Here is a scenario to illustrate,the total cost of your planned vacation in 12 months is $3,500 and you have to put a deposit of $250 on a beach rental and airfare will cost $1,000.  The amount remaining $2,250, is calculated by subtracting $1250 from $3500.  You would then need to save $205 each month for the next 11 months to ensure you will have the funds needed to pay for all of your planned vacation expenses. While we never would suggest using a credit card to pay for expenses that you do not currently have the cash to pay for, charging expenses to a rewards credit card and then using your vacation fund to pay off the entire balance allows you to earn rewards like cash back or other rewards.

Consider Alternatives to Hotels – Lodging can be the single largest expense when traveling so it makes sense to look into other options such as renting a home or a private room or apartment.  I have rented several vacation rentals using Airbnb and I have been extremely satisfied with both the wide availability of quality properties and reasonable price. A Vacation Home Rental can even allow you to rent a house for half the price of a hotel® and save even more on meals by having the option to prepare your own meals instead of eating out.

Use Technology to Save Money and Time –     There are many apps for travelers and a few of my favorites are Zagat, GasBuddy, and Go511.  You definitely want to check out the Top Free Apps on Apple iTunes before you leave on your next trip!  Don't forget to check out Groupon for dining and entertainment deals –  Find great Getaways in the US and Canada from Groupon

Be Prepared for the Unexpected – Everyone has been on a vacation where something unexpected happens, a flat tire or worse with your vehicle, a lost or stolen credit card or cell phone, or a delayed flight or cruise.  Before leaving make sure you have photocopies of credit cards and your drivers license and keep them in a safe place while traveling.

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