Summer’s here, and it’s my favourite time of the year. While I’m all for a BBQ in the backyard with the fam, I also appreciate the spontaneity summer encourages – last minute vacay, anyone? But it’s easy to get swept away in the rush of it all, so it’s important to remember to keep your head on straight when it comes to financing your summer vacation.
Planning for a summer vacation
It’s pretty easy to plan the vacation then look for the money to finance it. Flip that on its head this year and save up the money first, then do your planning. The set-it-and-forget-it auto transfer is a great way to do it. Slice a predetermined amount off your paycheque each month and before you know it you’ll be jetting off to Disneyland. The best part is, you don’t have to dread that credit card bill a month later.
If you’re considering using your credit card…
You might want to think again. Or at least look closely at your decision. It depends on your financial discipline, but generally, if you haven’t saved up ahead of time, it’s best to avoid debt by scaling down your vacation. Hey, that backyard BBQ is looking pretty good… move it to a local park or beach for a change of scenery and that might scratch the summer vacation itch. In the meantime, start that monthly auto transfer into your savings account and you’ll be set to go for next year.
If you’re a disciplined credit card user, you might consider supplementing (key word, supplementing) your savings with your credit card. Only do this if you know you can pay it off quickly, and you have a plan in place for doing so. Vacations are supposed to help you de-stress, not have you in regret for the following four months.
But don’t discount credit cards entirely.
While I don’t want to see people financing their entire vacation with credit, credit cards are definitely helpful when you’re travelling.
You’ll probably need a place to sleep at night while you travel, so it’s very likely you’ll need a credit card to book your accommodation. Keep this in mind when budgeting for your trip – you should keep your accommodation costs aside until your credit card bill comes.
Some credit cards offer travel rewards, so you could save money by redeeming your points. Many of our Coast Capital credit cards offer BONUSDOLLARS, which can be put directly towards the cost of your flight or hotel. So make sure you check with your credit card provider to see if these additional perks are available to you.
Credit cards may also provide some travel insurance. Look into how long the coverage is for, and what exactly it covers before you leave. Some cards offer 3 days, others up to 60. When in doubt, give your credit card provider a shout.
Since we’re on the topic of travel insurance…
This is an absolute must. Do not leave for your summer vacation without travel insurance. First, check what kind of coverage your credit card offers. Look for things like auto rental collision, emergency health, baggage insurance, accident insurance, and trip cancellation. You can buy additional coverage as needed before you go. In the event that something unexpected comes up, you won’t have to foot the hefty bill.
If you have MSP coverage, you’re covered for most medically necessary treatments by a doctor or for hospitalization while outside of BC. That being said, one important thing to remember is that costs can’t exceed what the provincial plan would typically pay. Also, you can’t file claims for medical supplies or ambulance costs.
How do you make sure you have what you need? Consult an insurance provider. They can help ensure you have the insurance coverage that suits your and your family’s needs.
Now, this is an important one…
Since you have your summer vacation finances sorted, kick back and have some fun! Keeping these tips in mind will help you have a less stressful vacation, save money, and not wind up with a big credit card bill to deal with later. Your future self will thank you. Hopefully with a margarita on a beach in Mexico.
|Tyler Saito, Regional Manager, Investments and Life Insurance
Tyler holds a master’s degree in business administration. He enjoys playing and coaching softball with his two daughters and is a regular contributor on CTV Morning Live, explaining finances in an easy-to-understand way.