Planning for a summer vacation?  Here are some financial tips to help keep your budget intact. 

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It’s always best to plan early; research where you’d like to go, and then start a savings bucket specifically for that vacation. Ideally, big trips should be well thought out a year in advance. This will allow you to take advantage of airfare deals and price alerts. If you have a credit card that earns miles, investigate the deals offered and sign up for low fare alerts. Some major credit cards will lock in the airfare price and credit you if the cost goes down after purchase.  

Once you know the destination, explore housing options to see whether a hotel, home rental or all-inclusive resort fits the budget best. Compare the security deposits and cancellation and cleaning fees of home rentals to the resort fees, etc. of a hotel room or all-inclusive resort.  

Create a trip budget. Food, drinks and excursions can add up quickly. Decide on the must see/must do excursions and earmark funds for them. If you are staying in a home rental, plan for one or more meals a day to be made there.  Also, pack light to avoid baggage fees. Airlines allow for a carry-on and backpack or purse. Before you head out for a new wardrobe, go shopping in your own closet. You may already have everything you need to take on your trip. Be wary of souvenirs, and set a dollar limit on how much you want to spend. Remember, you will have to pack all those trinkets to bring home.  

If you are traveling out of the country, be mindful of the exchange rates. Consider purchasing some of the local currency before travelling. If you need to purchase more while abroad, check your bank’s international fees. Some banks reimburse exchange rate fees when using their debit card.

You may also consider splitting the money up into envelopes to keep track of your spending as well as placing them in your carry-on luggage and in your purse or wallet for additional safety.  

If you are heading to Europe, a recent tip from the Today show suggested booking the cheapest flight you can find, regardless of the destination. Then, take a train to your desired destination. Once in Europe, costs are significantly lower traveling from country to country.

If you plan to use a credit card, try to pay it off in the month the charges hit the account.  If you don’t have the funds available and really want to take that trip, consider using your zero-interest credit card and get it paid off before the designated timeframe to avoid interest charges. If you are dipping into your savings, make sure you have enough set aside in case of emergencies when you return home.  Don’t leave yourself strapped for cash and stressed out after vacation.  

Finally, budget for travel insurance. Find a reputable provider that offers a wide array of benefits; it’s well worth the cost. You may also consider working with a travel agent. Most agents get paid from the airline or booking destination so there is no added cost to you, and it could save you a lot of time.

Michele Sarna is a certified financial planner with Beacon Pointe Advisors and can be reached at (760) 932.0930 or [email protected].

Provided as information only and should not be considered investment, tax, or legal advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any type of investments. Asset Allocation, portfolio diversification, and risk strategies cannot assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses. Form ADV contains important information about Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC, and may be viewed at:

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