If the heat of the summer has you dreaming of a luxurious getaway, you’re not alone. More than a third of American families plan summer vacations, according to 2016 AAA survey. But planning a family vacation without breaking the bank can be difficult. A vacation for a family of 4 can easily cost several thousand dollars. If you want to get away, but don’t want to break the bank, use these tips to budget for a vacation that will make both you and your wallet happy.
EXPLORE LOCAL/PLAN A STAYCATION
From New Yorkers who have never been to the Statue of Liberty to Memphians who have never toured Graceland, lots of people have never taken the time to tour their own city. Being a local tourist is a great way to spend time with your family and learn more about what your city has to offer. If you have your heart set on getting out of the house, consider booking a local hotel or Airbnb nearby. Your first stop should be your city’s tourism and visitors bureau.
FIND A CHEAP FLIGHT
If you plan to fly to your destination, be sure to compare flight prices and dates before booking. There are a variety of websites that allow you to compare airlines, times, and prices so you can find the most cost-effective option. If you are early in vacation planning, some sites even allow you to compare dates to choose the cheapest dates to fly. Set alerts on these sites to get notifications about price drops and promotional offers.
While traveling internationally may have the best “getaway appeal”, you don’t have to leave the country to have a great vacation. Some of the biggest savings can come from making the choice to stay stateside; international flights cost on average two and a half times more than a domestic flight within the continental U.S., according to CheapAir.com.
CONSIDER A CRUISE
While some cruise vacations are known to be expensive and lavish, you can actually find incredible deals if you are booking really early or last-minute. Some cruises and travel companies offer last-minute deals at a fraction of the cost. And keep in mind that most cruises are all-inclusive, meaning the price tag at the beginning includes all of your food, some activities, and lodging.
SCOPE OUT DEALS
Spending less than 30 minutes researching discounts, codes, and offers online can help you save big time in the long run. Many tourism bureaus offer city packages with discounts and ticket bundles that can help you do and see more around the city. You can also find many great, free local attractions! If you haven’t set a date for your vacation yet, researching vacation “off-season” times can also help you avoid surging prices for travel and lodging.
START SAVING EARLY
With the right account, you could easily save the money you need for your vacation – and then some! – ahead of time. Setting aside just a couple hundred dollars a month can help lessen the burden of paying for a vacation. Orion FCU has checking and savings account options to help you save money effectively. Orion’s 3% APY Premium Checking pays you 3% interest on balances up to $20,000*. That means that you could be making up to $50 in interest each month that you can contribute to your travel budget. If you are planning on traveling during the holidays, Orion’s Christmas Club account can help tuck your money away until it’s time to spend**. This account only allows no-fee withdrawals after October 1, helping you save slowly for your big purchase.
KEEP YOUR INFORMATION SAFE WHILE TRAVELING
There is nothing worse than crafting a perfectly-planned and budget-friendly vacation, only to have your personal information compromised. While Orion FCU uses specialized technology to monitor your accounts for unusual activity, there are some precautions you can take to keep your personal and financial information safe.
- Notify your financial institution of your travel plans before you leave. This will ensure that your accounts don’t get flagged for suspicious, out-of-state activity.
- Be cautious when connecting your mobile devices to hotel and public networks or downloading apps. Many WiFi networks are unsecured and unencrypted, leaving your personal information open to tracking software and fraud.
- Keep track of your debit and credit cards at all times. Especially if you are traveling in an unfamiliar area, or to multiple locations, take inventory of your cards and identification regularly to ensure that you haven’t left your card at a restaurant. If you believe your Orion FCU card has been lost or stolen, contact us immediately to report it.
Planning the perfect vacation can be difficult, and planning a perfect vacation on a budget can be even harder. With these tips and your financial partners at Orion Federal Credit Union, you can plan a vacation that the whole family will love.
*No minimum to earn 3% Annual Percentage Yield (APY). 0.05% APY on balances over $20,000. APY is accurate as of 8.16.2018 and subject to change after account opening. Fees may reduce earnings. To qualify for 3% APY and avoid $5 monthly service fee, meet the following conditions per month: 8 signature-based transactions and minimum $500 electronic deposit. See OrionFCU.com for more details.