Don't Let a Summer Vacation Slow Your Financial Progress

With summer coming, you might be in the mood to slow down and take it easy. And why not? After all, it’s gonna be hot, and there’s a lot of fun to be had.

But there’s at least one area of your life where you can’t afford to slow down this season: your personal finances. And for many people, a poorly planned summer vacation is an annual budget-buster blocking their financial growth.

Vacations are supposed to bring relief and relaxation. But if you take one without a good plan in place, you could wind up more stressed than ever.

To enjoy your time off and keep moving ahead financially when you get home, take a look at these tips for taking a smart summer vacation:

Pay Cash

Why let the credit card companies make money off of your leisure time? Paying for everything with your own savings is a much better plan. And when you get back, your week of happy vibes will last longer if there are no vacation bills looming.

Skip the Trip

Just because you have time off from work doesn’t mean you have to travel. There’s summer fun to be had anywhere, and by keeping it local you could save hundreds in lodging, fuel and airfare.

Bargain Hunt

Booking flights and making reservations is no time to splurge. Are you eligible for any discounts aimed at military or senior customers? Maybe you have a AAA membership? Sometimes all it takes is asking about specials to get big savings.

Phone It In

In our online-centric world, most of us avoid doing business over the phone. But speaking with a real person when booking trips is a great idea—depending on how far ahead you’re calling, you could score a cheaper rate.

Homes Over Hotels

This one’s by no means universal, but a 2016 study from Busbud revealed that in many U.S. cities, Airbnb rentals are “significantly lower than comparable hotels, sometimes by as much as $80 a night.”

Bundles of Fun

If you’re flying somewhere, it’s often possible to save by bundling your tickets with the hotel reservation through a travel website.

Budget for Extras

Just as you’re enjoying your vacation, fees have a nasty way of popping up everywhere—charges for baggage or carry-ons, tips in restaurants and hotels, or extra to use Wi-Fi on your day trips. By reading the fine print and thinking ahead, you can avoid or anticipate most of these before you travel.

Remember the whole point of taking a vacation is to find some peace of mind—and a lot of that peace is based on how you’re doing with your money. So plan well, have fun, and don’t let a summer vacation set you back on the road to financial wellness.

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