Everyone needs a summer vacation, right?
They’re great for the soul, but can be hard on the wallet. With travel agents across the country saying summer 2012 is shaping up to be a strong travel season, now is the time to firm up your vacation budget so you can take that getaway you’ve been anticipating since winter.
Before you hit the road (or the open seas), check out these money-saving vacation tips:
- Set a budget for your trip. Even if you haven’t set one yet, it isn’t too late. Start by estimating the cost of your trip—travel and lodging costs, food, museum tickets and any other activities on which you’ll be spending money. Be realistic when you’re thinking about your budget: Will you really eat PB&Js every day for lunch? Or, will you treat yourself to a not-so-fast food meal?
- Save in advance. If you’ve got a little time before you hit the road, start saving. Anything you can put away will help, whether it’s the change floating around in your purse or $25 per week.
- Borrow with a plan. If it isn’t feasible to pay for your vacation with savings, financing a portion of your trip with a credit card may come into play. Before you borrow, be sure to think about how quickly you plan to pay off your trip. If you’re one of the millions of Chase card customers with a Chase Freedom®, Sapphire® or Slate® credit card, you can use Blueprint®. It is a free set of features that can help you manage, track and organize card purchases. Blueprint can even help you pay off your vacation purchases faster with a personalized plan. Learn more at chase.com/blueprint.
- Look for rewards and deals. Before you go on a trip, scope out coupon sites for meal, entertainment and lodging deals. Or think about cashing in points from travel rewards programs to save on flights and hotel stays.
- Watch out for unexpected expenses! If you’re traveling outside the U.S. make sure you know exchange rates and your credit card terms—or if you’re in the market for a credit card, consider one with no foreign transaction fees.
Financial organization and a plan to pay for your vacation will give you the freedom to relax and actually enjoy your much-deserved getaway.