Take That Vacation you Deserve! Tips for Planning your Summer Vacation
By Elijah Souza
What's the difference between a vacation and a trip? In my opinion, a vacation is when you travel somewhere with a plan. You do exactly what you want to and you don't have a care in the world the entire time you're there!
A trip is when you go somewhere without a plan, you might be stressed about money the entire time, then when you get back home and see your credit card statement, you're straight TRIPPIN'!
Read on for 7 practical ways to plan for your summer VACATION:
1. Build up savings and pay for your vacation BEFORE you leave – The best way to pay for your vacation is to make savings automatic. Just as you save up every month toward retirement, you can do the same for your vacation. Even saving just 1-5% of your take-home pay and setting that aside each paycheck will make your vacation planning less stressful and more carefree!
2. Take half the clothes and double the money – Many people tend to overpack for vacations. As a rule of thumb, I recommend taking half the amount of clothes you think you’ll need for your trip and double the amount of money you think you’ll spend. Depending on where you stay and the length of your trip, look at whether you’ll have access to laundry or laundry services. Doing this, you will not only have less stuff to deal with but also it will help you save on baggage and overweight fees. The goal here is travel light and limit your baggage both physically and mentally!
3. Shop around for flights – Generally speaking, there is not a specific day to get the best price on your flight. Instead, CheapAir.com analyzed almost 3 million flights and have concluded the ideal window to book a flight for the cheapest price is 21 – 112 days before departing. While 3 months is a huge range, it is recommended that you check fares frequently during this time frame because, at some point, the best fare is likely to pop up…but clear your internet cache each time you look!
4. Use the right credit card – In this day and age, there are so many credit cards out there competing for your business. There are several offering 40,000-50,000 points when you sign up, bonus points for spending on food/travel and no foreign transaction fees. Great resources like NerdWallet.com or ValuePenguin.com can help you find the credit card that is right for you. Also, be sure to take an extra 60 seconds to sign up for the frequent flyer programs when you book your flight. On average, it will take $2,000 of airline spending to receive a free domestic flight. While it may take a few flights to earn 1 free flight, you want to be sure to get credit for your travel because every little bit adds up. If you want to track all your airline miles in one place, AwardWallet.com can be a great resource.
5. When in Rome – As the saying goes, do as the Roman’s do! Live like a local: go grocery shopping when you travel, explore the less popular tourist destinations, visit the local watering holes, etc. Not only will this help you save some money, but also you just might strike up a conversation with a local and get a deeper sense of what it means to live in a different place. If you can save some money by making at least one meal, like breakfast, you will likely save enough to splurge on something else for your trip…which brings us to our next tip.
6. Splurge on a meal or activity – You spent a lot of time shopping around for the cheapest flights, you did your homework on the best credit card for your situation, and you avoided tourist traps by living like a local. Where should all these savings go? Spend it on a WOW moment! At the end of your trip, you’ll remember that beautiful dinner or unforgettable activity you did with your loved ones. Life is too short to not treat yourself now and then.
7. Come back home with money and memories rather than stuff – Avoid all the little trinkets from the “souvenir shop.” When you travel to different cities, states, and countries you’ll realize almost all the stores sell the exact same stuff. Avoid buying items that will just take up more room in your luggage and end up at the bottom of your closet once you get back home. Instead, come back spending less than you thought you would and put that extra savings toward your next vacation!
Whether it’s saving up for a vacation, saving to buy a house, or your retirement, having a plan in place will make your life so much easier. In addition to using the resources around you, reach out to a Financial Advisor and get your plan in place. At the end of your next adventure, you will remember the memories you created with your loved ones and you will enjoy your vacation with less stress. All you need to do is to plan for it!
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA (http://www.finra.org/)/SIPC (https://www.sipc.org/).
Investment advice offered through Gerber Kawasaki Inc, a registered investment advisor. Gerber Kawasaki and Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management are separate entities from LPL Financial.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which course of action may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor. No strategy assures the success or protects against loss.
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