Planning a summer vacation can be fun and exciting! Dreaming about where your next adventure will be and all that you can discover is something many of us do. Most recently, my husband and I were daydreaming about a trip to Germany this summer. We had big plans, but once we started researching we quickly realized this vacation was going to get very expensive.
That got me thinking; what are some ways we could save some money but still get the trip of our dreams?
1. Plan what you can ahead of time
Many times you can receive discounts on things if you schedule them in advance. Anything from hotels, attractions, car rentals and flights can, in many cases, be booked in advance. This can vary based on location, but according to Business Insider, a flight to Europe should be purchased 120 days or about 4 months in advance to get the best price. Considering we want to go in August or September, this is great and means I should get on buying a flight as soon as possible!
2. Understand your credit card rewards
Depending on the type of card you have, you may be eligible to receive discounts or freebies while traveling. Discover IT Miles is a great example of a card that has a very versatile use of rewards since you can use the miles towards anything that can be considered “travel”. For example, you can use them for gas, car rentals, hotels, and any airline. This is good for a person who is not brand loyal to a certain airline.
The Amex Platinum card gives you 100,000 points if you spend $3,000 in 3 months. A bonus with this card is you get free TSA pre-check to save you from long lines (this is especially good for those of us who get the airport with barely enough time before our flight). Another great perk especially for those who travel a lot, is the free lounge access in many airports. In addition, you receive $200 a year towards airline fees incurred.
3. Set a budget and stick to it
One of the most important things to do before you leave is to budget as much as possible before your trip. Think about how much you plan to spend on each item of your trip. Meals, lodging, excursions, souvenirs, tips, transportation while there, nightlife entertainment, alcohol, child care, etc. By planning ahead of time, it will save you the shock of a huge credit card bill at the end of the trip. My family has done the envelope method in the past. With this method, you divide your cash into envelopes designated for each category of your budget. Once the cash is gone, you know you have spent the allotted money for that part of your budget. It is a great way to visually see how much money you are spending.
Planning a trip is an exciting time and with some advance planning it can be stress-free money wise as well!