Plan Your Summer Vacation on a Budget

As the weather continues to get warmer and the days grow longer, many people are beginning to plan their summer vacations. Consider these tips for ways to get the most vacation for your buck.

As you plan…

  • Budget, budget, budget. No matter your plans, begin your vacation wtih a realistic budget. Be as detailed as possible and include items such a gas, lodging, food, tips, souvenirs and admission fees. Add a little bit of extra cash into your budget to cover unexpected costs.
  • Prioritize. Before booking your vacation, set your priorities. Whatis most important to you on the trip:  Length of time away? Type of transportation? Amenities? Prioritizing will help you plan your budget and know where to cut back when necessary. Consider staying in hostels or bringing along your own snacks instead of buying food while you are out and about.
  • Plan ahead. odds are you will get better rates if you plan ahead. Airline tickets are often expensive when buying them at the last minute. Planning ahead also allows time to research various hoteloffers or package deals.
  • Carefully organize. Keep detailed records to avoid problems downt he road. Designate a folder to keep every confirmation number and notes of when you called places and with whom you spoke. Documentation is key to ensuring that you get what you planned.
  • Shop around. Use travel websites to compare rates and get the best value for your dollars. Travel sites generally offer package deals that include airfare, lodging and car rental services. Searching the Internet for message boards and hotel reviews can also be beneficial. Other travelers may provide useful information, and you can learn from the mistakes other people have made.

While you travel…

  • Consider alternate means of transportation. Often travelign likethe locals is the best way to save on transportation. Learn subway, trolley or cable car routes and save yourself cab fares. Ask local residents what they suggest for transportation.
  • Use plastic over paper. Use your credit or debit card to make purchases to avoid ATM usage fees and carrying around large amounts of cash. If you use credit, be sure to pay it off at the end of the trip. Using credit or debit also allows you to track spendign online or on your statement for an accurate account of how you spent your money.
  • Look for deals. Hotels may give discounts to persons with disabilities, senior travelers, government employees and those with certain club affiliations. Ask about special amenities such as complimentary breakfast, dinner or concierge services.

These tips are provided by Iowa State Bank in partnership with the Iowa Bankers Association. If you have specific questions about the use of credit, please contact your local banker at Iowa State Bank. Iowa State Bank is an Equal Opportunity Lender. Member FDIC.

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