How long has it been since you and your family took a nice summer vacation? Many families have opted for super low-budget “stay-cations” or ended up taking short drive trips to area locations instead of taking a week or two to spend with each other away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Studies show that taking time off is good for you – mentally, physically and emotionally – we need that time off to re-charge and get closer to the ones we love the most. If taking a week-long trip is not in the cards for you due to financial constraints, try some of the tips included in this month’s article that will help you use your share savings account at St Anne Credit Union New Bedford to help save and plan for a real summer vacation that the whole family will enjoy and remember for many years to come.
Step One – Plan a Trip You Can Afford
One of the most important things you can learn about planning a summer vacation is to plan a trip that you can afford. It will do you no good to plan an extravagant trip that will end with piles of credit card bills that will stress you out for the rest of the year. Budgeting for a vacation by saving money in your credit union savings account and taking advantage of interest rates savings through money market accounts and other higher interest options can help you to pay for the whole trip in cash without ever once having to resort to using your “for emergency only” credit card to pay the tab.
Step Two – Make a Realistic Budget
Once you choose your destination or the activities that you want to do on your vacation, it’s time to make a budget. You need to think about everything from airfare to rental cars, gas costs to lodging, food costs to entry fees for theme parks or other activities – anything that you might need while on your trip. Use websites like Gas Buddy to figure costs for a road trip and use price gathering sites like Expedia or Travelocity to compare hotel costs, airfare and some of the activities that you want to do. Sometimes you can save by bundling everything together, but sometimes you can save by doing everything a la carte. Making a budget and looking for deals can really help you to save and not over-spend.
Step Three – Start Your Savings Plan
Now that you know how much you will need in order to pay for your entire summer vacation, it is time to start putting your Share savings account at St Anne Credit Union New Bedford to work. Speak with a customer service representative about your credit union savings account to find out about other savings and investment opportunities that could help you grow your money even faster. Higher interest rates savings plans, such as money market accounts or certificates of deposit can help increase growth, but can have certain limits on them with regard to minimum balances and withdrawals. Again, speak with an agent at St Anne Credit Union New Bedford for details.
The amount of money that you will be able to comfortably save will depend on how much time you have between the date you start planning until the date that you want to go on your trip. A bigger trip will need more money and more time to save. Consider a smaller trip this summer, while you continue to save for a larger trip next year that you can look forward to going on with your family.
Step Four – Be Smart and Safe
When you plan your trip, make sure to be cautious. If a deal sounds too good to be true, chances are that it is. Use legitimate vacation planning sites and services. When reserving a hotel room or car rental, make sure that it is from a well-known agency and save all confirmation numbers, receipts and information for your records. Consider getting a simple file folder to keep all of your vacation plans, maps, savings information and other details all in one place for quick and easy retrieval. Take your folder with you on vacation so you will have all the proof and information you need. Consider making a photo copy of your driver’s license, passport, credit cards, bank cards and medical cards to keep in the folder as well in case your wallet or purse gets stolen.
Step Five – Save for Emergencies
Above and beyond your vacation fund that you keep in your credit union savings account, consider saving an additional 10-15 percent for unexpected emergencies, flight delays, weather problems or other unknown incidents that could affect your trip. This will help you to be prepared to stay in a hotel near the airport if a flight gets cancelled, or pay for an extra meal when needed. Consider paying down credit cards and other financial options so you will have access to additional emergency funds if needed on your trip.
Vacation Planning in the U.S.
While some local jet-setters plan vacations that will take them around the world, more and more Americans are opting to travel right here in the states for a more budget-friendly, worry-free summer vacation. Consider taking a road trip across America via Route 66 or make a plan to visit several of our nation’s beautiful National Parks. Take the kids to ride some of the country’s biggest roller coasters or plan on hitting some popular state fairs and festivals.
Other local travel ideas include:
- Fitness trips – mountain climbing, biking, hiking and exercise fitness programs for the whole family.
- Self-help retreats – spiritual, religious, meditative, relaxing – whatever your needs, consider dedicating your time off to getting back on track.
- Spa vacation – spending an entire week at a relaxing hotel with spa services, pools, hot tubs, massages, mani-pedis or any other pampering treatments you crave can really help you re-charge your batteries.
- Personal growth – consider visiting museums, historical sites, parks, monuments and places where you and your family can learn more about your country.
Get Started at St Anne Credit Union New Bedford
Wherever you decide to go for your vacation or what you want to do, your credit union savings account and some good financial advice can help get you there. Speak with your customer service agent at the local branch about how to put your Share savings account and current interest rates savings programs to work for you.