Winter weather got you down? Make taking that next vacation a priority because your health and well being depend on it! That's right - research shows that vacations may actually help your risk of having a heart attack. And, they can revitalize you, not only making you happier and less stressed, but also more productive at work.
But, being able to take that well-deserved vacation you've been day dreaming about takes some planning. And some saving. Most importantly, you need to readjust your thinking. Vacations don't have to be expensive to be fun if you know where and how to search for deals. Here are a few tips to help get you started and save some money in the process.
1. Start by opening a dedicated vacation savings bank account - preferably one that earns interest.
You can fund it without thinking, simply setting up automatic transfers from your payroll check. You might also consider creating a change jar. You'll be amazed with how quickly all that loose change can add up. Perhaps you could cut out a few indulgences, such as getting your nails done, the house cleaned or the yard mowed and become a cost-effective DIYer to create added savings for a specific time period.
2. Write down all your expenses.
You'll likely be surprised what you're spending and on what. Then it will be easier to identify which unnecessary expenses you can trim from your budget.
3. Remember that timing is everything.
If you book your trip far in advance, you might qualify for early-bird savings. In contrast, if you book last-minute, you might catch some great super saver rates with the airline and hotel. Consider traveling during non-peak seasons to save even more.
4. Use credit cards that offer cash-back rewards or free airline mileage credits to trim travel costs.
Also look for options to sign up for rewards and loyalty programs that can provide discounts.
5. Keep an eye out for coupons and special discounts
through organizations such as GroupOn, AARP and AAA and sign up for email alerts regarding flash sales and limited-time offers on destinations that interest you.
6. Listen to what other travelers have to say
about possible added-value incentives through leading travel sites such as TripAdvisor.
7. Carefully consider the type of vacation you want to take.
You may be able to save money by driving instead of flying, although it all depends on current gas prices. For lodging, you may want to consider an all-inclusive so you won't need to budget separately for food.
8. Book day trips if all else fails.
You don't always need to go far away to have fun. There are likely a host of amusement parks, museums, nature trails, zoos and other entertainment venues that are within a two-hour driving radius from your home. If you leave early, you can have the entire day to enjoy without incurring the added costs of lodging.
9. Pack your own
toiletries, snacks and entertainment so you don't have to purchase them on the road where they are likely to be more expensive.
10. Get creative with your "fundraising."
During holidays, ask friends or family for trip money instead of gifts. You may also want to consider offering your services instead to save the cost of buying gifts for loved ones.
Most importantly, start planning now. The sooner you start saving, the sooner you'll be on your way to somewhere fantastic. In addition, once you start planning your trip and making your initial deposit, your vacation will seem more realistic and will give you something to look forward to! Don't let another year pass you by without taking that vacation!
Check out Cortland Bank's monthly budget tool to identify areas for additional savings!
The information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither Cortland Bank or its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering you any tax, accounting or legal advice.