Summer weather will be here before you know it, and with it, there will be plenty of days consisting of fun and relaxation.
Going on a summer vacation is a favorite pastime of many individuals and families, no matter their age. If you're a college student, summer is a time to recharge the batteries after another year inching closer toward your degree. As a full- or part-time worker, summer may not carry the same significance, but it's still an ideal time to take a trip and have some time to yourself.
There's a funny thing about vacations, however: They are rarely spontaneous. You often have to plan them months in advance, and that includes setting aside money now so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.
No. 1: You can find the best deals
Once you've settled on a vacation destination, you have to figure out how you will get there. You'll most likely consider going on a road trip or hopping on an airplane, both of which will require planning ahead.
With regard to flying, there is no exact science for trying to find the best deal on airfare. According to USA Today, most major airlines start releasing discounted fares approximately three months ahead of time. This means that you will want to keep your eyes out in May for deals on August flights.
In that case, you can start setting aside money for when you need to buy a ticket. You should also consider using your preferred credit card to buy airfare if possible so you can rack up cash back rewards and travel points.
As for a road trip, there's no telling what gas prices will be a few months from now, which makes it all the more important to budget gas money. Saving as little as $10 a week until your trip can cover your portion of gas.
No. 2: Put your tax refund to use
Spring is also when most Americans receive a nice check from the IRS. As soon as you get it, make sure you take care of other financial matters first, then use whatever you have left over for your travel fund. This way, you can save a decent portion of the vacation funds you'll need.
No. 3: Why not?
Vacations involve a lot of moving parts. The earlier you plan and save, the better off you'll find yourself once you're on your trip. After paying for airfare and booking a hotel, you need to create a special vacation fund. This is your spending money and is a rough estimate of how much you think you'll spend on food, drinks, entertainment and more, including souvenirs.
Setting aside this money now is the right move because it will help you avoid relying on your credit card. Depending where your trip is, your card might not even be accepted. During the summer of 2015, a survey from the credit agency, Experian, found two-thirds of vacationers overspend while they're away from home.
That's not to say credit cards shouldn't be used, rather, you have to create a strict budget. Saving money now will help you use cash more than credit and in the end, avoid digging yourself into debt.
Whether you're planning a vacation in June or August, now is the time to start saving.
For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.
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