It’s that time of year again when many of us will be traveling near and far to spend the holidays with family and friends.
But before you take off, there are some important things to keep in mind. Holidays are meant to be all about fun, although sometimes stress creeps in and totally ruins the party. By simply following some of the steps listed here, your mind can rest easy knowing things are covered from a financial perspective.
First, budget for things outside of those ‘big three’ – transportation, accommodation and meals.
- Travel insurance
Travel insurance is helpful for several reasons: if you have to cancel for whatever reason, it protects you from anything lost or stolen during your trip, and can provide personal health coverage in case of medical issues or an emergency.
- Home insurance
Make sure your home insurance is up to date. Why? Because you don’t want to get home from a beautiful vacation only to have to figure out how to pay for items lost due to theft, or worse, a house fire. Also remember that posting photos publicly to social media can alert thieves that nobody is home!
What do you want to do when you get to your destination? Do you want to do the catamaran tour, go scuba diving, partake in a luau? Budget for those fun things you’ll want to do. They’re even more fun when you budget for them!
- The small stuff
There are always those items that we end up having to hustle around and pick up before taking off: you know… the passport, sunscreen, sun hat, bathing suits, beach bag. They add up, so include them in your budget.
- Plan your vacation around your budget – not vice versa.
What funds are available and what getaway fits within your budget? This way of thinking will save you down the road.
- Save all year round
Even if you don’t have your destination planned or your dates set, put a little bit away in a high yielding savings account so that when it comes time, you will have money to work with. The sand will be softer and the water will be bluer, we promise.
- Don’t pay on credit.
Credit cards are handy to use for paying for things while on holiday, but unless you know that you can pay it off as soon as you’re back, avoid using your card.
- Ask about discounts.
You’d be surprised about what discounts are available if you’re a member of certain associations or if you hold a certain credit card. Never hurts to ask. Also, think about joining your hotel’s loyalty program before booking; perks like free wi-fi or free upgrades may be available.
While you’re away, protect your hard earned dollars.
- Don’t carry a lot of cash.
Carrying debit and credit cards (as long as you can pay them off when you get back) is a good idea, but try to limit the cash you bring along. Cards can be cancelled, but if cash gets lost or stolen, it’s gone for good
- Make copies of your cards and keep them locked up .
This one’s self explanatory, but you should also ensure that you have the contact numbers to your financial institution and credit card companies written somewhere so that they can be reached quickly if necessary