The air is starting to chill, and the sun is setting earlier. Are you starting to
dream of the beach yet? As we get closer to winter, more and more people start wishing they could get away from the cold weather. After sharing pictures of our recent trip to Italy, it left me wondering why more people don’t travel. Most of the time, it comes down to time and money, which are both controllable inputs in the vacation equation. What are some easy things you can do to start planning your next trip before it gets too cold?
If you aren’t sure where to even begin looking for places to go and how much things may cost, think about talking with a travel agent. I think we all may have a few wrong ideas about working with one. According to Jill Hiatt at Hiatt Magical Vacations, “I feel a few misconceptions would be that people feel they can’t afford to travel and that is the first thing I ask families, budget!! I can work with almost any budget for planning trips. Travel agents are free to use and we are constantly watching for deals to share with our clients! We are also available 24 hours a day when our clients are traveling. We are here to help make their trips seamless and wonderful!” Take advantage of their expertise to get the best deals and hit all the items on your wish list. They can also make sure that you stay within your means or find a comparable destination you may not know about that falls in line with your budget better.
What’s the best way to save for the trip? Do you just stash money away in a savings account? Maybe. What if you could earn more on that cash in the time before you want to start using it. Let’s say you want to take this trip in 18 months. You could consider looking at investing some of your travel budget. If it fits in your risk tolerance and time horizon, you may be able to earn more in bond fund or CD, rather than leaving it in your checking/savings account. If you know you aren’t going to go on the trip for a longer period of time, you may be able to be more aggressive with your investment. It could be the difference in adding that extra experience on your vacation that you couldn’t afford before.
Do you use a credit card? Does it offer travel points? If not, find a card that caters to what you really enjoy spending your money on. Then use your card for expenses you know you have every month like your gas or groceries. Make sure you pay off the balance and start accumulating those points! Not sure what fits best? Check out, nerdwallet.com to start finding the right card for you. They research and categorize cards based on what you are looking to accomplish. From there they can even help start the sign-up process.
What about expensive air fare and hotel costs? If you are willing to have a layover, that can drastically reduce your cost. Often there is a flight going to another city, but has a layover in the place you really want to be. This flight could be drastically cheaper than the direct flight to your desired local. Instead of booking hotels, check out something like Airbnb or VRBO to find lodging. We were able to book most of our stay in Italy for around $100 a night, which still seems crazy to me! There are plenty of options to bring down your cost of lodging. If working with a travel agent like Jill, packaging everything together can help to reduce your cost as well.
Taking a big trip doesn’t have to break your budget. With proper planning, you can pay for it over time before you leave, leaving you to just plan for spending money when you actually go. Your dream trip may not be such a dream after all. Touch base with a professional advisor to help you get started on your tailored plan.