Make a clean getaway
Everyone deserves to get away, and the beautiful summer months are ideal for packing up the family and heading off on an adventure. But at what cost? It’s important to make sure that you can truly afford the vacation you’ve planned, because as great as a getaway is, it’s not worth risking your financial security.
Ask yourself the following questions when you sit down to plan your vacation:
- Will you have to pay any interest on your trip? That is, will you be able to pay off your whole credit card bill when it comes in after you return home? If the answer is no, consider adjusting your plans to make them more affordable.
- Is paying for your vacation going to compromise any other financial goals, such as saving for a child’s education, a down payment on a house or your retirement? If so, it’s time to think of a cheaper vacation option.
Maybe Italy isn’t in the cards right now, but don’t give up on your dreams of taking some time off to recharge your battery and enjoy some down time. There are ways to plan a wonderful trip that you and your family can truly afford so you’re not feeling the financial pinch later.
- Travel with friends or family members. Rent a large cottage or beach house and split the cost. Not only is this cheaper than going it alone, but you’ll also have lots of company and lots of extra hands to help with any kids or grandkids.
- Bring your own everything. Unless you’re flying, pack your own snacks, drinks, and anything else you’d normally have to purchase on the road.
- Be your own tour guide. Do lots of research in advance, and know what sights you want to see. Self-guided tours using apps mean you don’t have to pay for a guide or for the cost of the tour itself. Check out this list of the top 101 self-guided tour apps. Entrance fees to tourist spots can also be expensive, so check ahead of time and find out if they offer any discounts or free days.
- Keep an eye on transportation deals. Using sites like AirFareWatchdog.com will keep you updated when prices to destinations you’ve specified drop.
- Plan that dream vacation, but have it all paid off before you even leave your house. Set aside an affordable amount of money each pay period until you have all the cash you need to take the trip you really want. You can even set up a special vacation account and have your bank automatically deposit a specified amount into that account from your savings account. That way it’s “out of sight, out of mind”, and you won’t be tempted to skip a payment.
Be tourists in your own town. If it turns out that a destination vacation isn’t in the financial cards right now, plan a fun staycation. Plan a night at a hotel with a pool, or check out local landmarks, visit museums and tourist attractions. Foresters also offers fun, family events in local communities, so visit MyForesters.com to learn about your area’s upcoming sporting events, amusement park visits and movie nights. Without the cost of airfare and a long hotel stay, a great “vacation” in your own city might be right in your price range.
Perhaps the best way to make sure your summer getaway doesn’t break the bank is to know exactly how much you have to spend. If you’re not great with budgets, Foresters can help. Everyday Money is Foresters toll-free and confidential phone-based helpline that gives members access to an accredited counselor who can help answer your questions about everyday management of your money. We also have free budgeting templates available on MyForesters.com, or you can check out online vacation budget calculators like the one at FreeOnlineCalculatorUse.com.
412445I CAN/US (05/15)