Summer Vacations, Don’t forget the S.P.F – Save, Plan and Fun
June is here and we all sit back to enjoy the warmer temperatures and longer days. The start of summer is always so much fun. It brings with it a time for people to take a much-needed break and for families to spend time relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. Ultimately this leads to those two words that often have us looking at our budgets and trying to squeeze any extra nickels, Summer Vacation. According to Travel Agent Central website American’s spend over $101.1 Billion dollars on summer travel. Allianz travel estimates that on average we spend $1,978 on our summer vacation.
One thing I tell my clients when creating a budget for the year is plan on taking a vacation. I know that this takes away in the excitement and spontaneity of getting up and just following one’s wanderlust. Yet, if we take the time to plan for our vacations we can then make them a line item in our budget. In addition, certain vacations types (i.e.: cruises) give substantial discount if you book in advance. Other vacation destination will give great payment plans for those who book in advance, allowing you to have paid your vacation in full before you even leave. Remember, when including your vacation in your household yearly budget it’s important to have a clear idea of what those vacations will cost. Planning and budgeting make for a vacation that allows you to relax and enjoy without worrying about the debt you may be incurring.
Don’t forget to plan for…
When estimating the cost of your vacation it is important to make sure you cover all possible expense. Much like when packing it’s important to have a list and check off all the items. Many things like transportation, lodging and food are always included, but there are some other incidentals that are often times overlooked and can add up. According the Mint.com, there are 5 neglected expenses that many vacationers over look; parking, Wi-Fi, checked bags, spontaneous activities and additional food expense like snacks and alcohol. Some clients do wish to have an experience where they don’t have to constantly rebalance their vacation budget or worry about extras while traveling. I have advised clients who feel like this to look into vacations that are all inclusive. An all-inclusive resort will include most expenses and those few that are extra are available as add-on. Picture it, lying on a sandy beach, frozen drink in your hand and no need to worry about how much dinner will cost or if you can afford the kids activities. Now that is relaxation at its best!!
Staycation, a smart move
While a recent NYU poll indicate 80% of families plan on traveling for vacation, often times that is not something financial prudent for many. I know I myself have had to skip the fun of traveling in lieu of savings or much need home repairs. I tell clients who come to me saying they must use their emergency savings or credit cards for much need break to strongly reconsider. A week of fun and sun now can lead to many a sleepless night tomorrow. I encourage clients like this and those many times living pay check to pay check to consider a staycation. A week of staying in one’s home often times proves to be a novelty. Time for thinking and relaxing. For those that stay home it doesn’t mean they must shutter themselves in. Take the opportunity to enjoy the city you live in. Get online and research happenings in your area, many events are happening around you at either a small or no charge. Visit your local parks, beaches and museums, discover what has always been right in your back yard.
Summer is great time. Regardless if you decided to travel or stay home a fun and relaxing time can be had by all. Much of how you approach your plans and the mindset for summer will determine if you can have a truly relaxing time. All of us can agree being in the in secure financial position is important to peace of mind. That is why it is so important that our vacation time not become a financial crux. Remember a nap in a sandy beach today can lead to many a sleepless night tomorrow if it has led to credit card debt that one cannot manage. Think of the S.P.F – Save, Plan and Fun