Since the financial crash a decade ago, Americans are a lot more aware of how they’re spending their money and what they’re getting for it. The days of taking a lavish vacation and paying for it over 10 years are gone.
People are more creative about paying for vacation these days, using vacation clubs and savings, credit cards, perks such as rewards points and even gig work and side jobs to fund time away.
Despite this, between half and two-thirds of Americans didn’t take a vacation in 2018, mostly because they said they couldn’t afford it. Younger people are the least likely to take vacation, according to a study by Bankrate, because primarily because of financial or work considerations.
That’s too bad, because the benefit of time away from the day-to-day stresses of life and work can be healthy. Vacation gives us time to decompress and reconnect with those we love. It primes our creative juices, opens our eyes to other ways of living, reconnects us with nature, and re-energizes us.
The best vacation doesn’t have to be elaborate or costly. With judicious planning and attention to detail, people and families can enjoy time away stressing over its cost for years to come.
Tips on making vacation affordable
Consider traveling off-season. Flights, transportation, lodging, food and even entertainment is generally cheaper in the off-season. And you’ll enjoy smaller crowds and less traffic. If everyone is headed to the beach this summer, consider heading to a ski resort instead.
Save on food and drinks. Pack a cooler with sandwiches, water, fresh fruit and the like. Not only can the savings be considerable, you’ll avoid those high-fat, high-salt fast food places on your journey. Book a hotel that offers a refrigerator, microwave or kitchenette. Cook for yourself most meals and spend your savings on a meal at a nice restaurant.
Lodging. If you’re fo rtunate enough to have friends or family who live where you’re headed, or along the way, make plans to visit. But don’t overstay your welcome! If you have hotel points/rewards, be sure to usc those. You can sometimes save money by booking your hotel/motel online, but be aware, the room you get may not be the “best” one at the property. Look for freebies at the property – free Wifi, breakfast, parking, shuttles, etc.
Use any airline miles or reward points you’ re owed. If you travel a lot for business, you may be able to usc those miles personally (every company is different).
Shop around for flights. You may be able to get the same flight cheaper at a different airport. Have someone take you to the airport and pick you up … the parking fees you save could be considerable.
Shop online before you go. If your travel plans are pretty firm, you may be able to purchase tickets online in advance at a lower cost. In person, be sure to ask for discounts: AAA, AARP, military/veteran, police. Remember, people who are pleasant and outgoing are more likely to get a discount than those who are grumpy or difficult. So put your best face forward!
Set a budget and stick to it. It’s easy to get carried away with buying souvenirs, experiences and trinkets. Before you go, set a budget and include a
little “flex” for unexpected emergencies. Keep track of your spending daily and, if necessary, change plans to accommodate those experiences you weren’t expecting!
Shop for the best credit card. If you’re like most people, you’re reluctant to carry a lot of cash on vacation. The financial experts at the University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union recommend using a low-rate, rewards credit card, such as a UKFCU Visa Card, to handle vacation expenses as they occur. This allows you to leave your cash in the Credit Union, where it’s safe, until you get home. The UKFCU Visa Signature Card includes emergency cash if your card is stolen; $500,000 travel and accident insurance; baggage delay; auto rental collision damage waiver; warranty service manager; Visa Traven & Emergency; Trip Delay of
up to $100 a day up to $300; trip cancellation/interruption coverage up to $3,000! Plus the CU Rewards Mall with I percent cash back option.
No matter where you’re going this summer, UKFCU is there to help you make your vacation affordable and FUN!
Stop by any UKFCU office today to learn more about the benefits of being a UKFCU member.
University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union