By RACHEL CRUZE
Summer is right around the corner, which means you might be thinking about one of my favorite things: vacations! In fact, I always joke that vacation planning is basically one of my spiritual gifts. But we all know vacations can get very expensive very quickly, making them a lot less fun than they should be. So here are some tips that will help you plan an amazing vacation without hurting your budget:
- Base your plans on baby steps
No matter which Baby Step you’re on, you don’t have to deprive yourself of having fun this summer. But he is important to plan in a way that makes sense for your finances. If you’re on Baby Step 1 or 2 (save a $1,000 emergency fund and get out of debt), you’ll want to find creative ways to have a good time without spending money. You can stay and use a few days of your free time to relax with your family and explore free events in your own city. You can also go camping, even if it’s just in your backyard, or stay with close friends or family. Don’t lose sight of your financial goals right now, because if you stay gazelle intense, you can take your dream vacation much sooner than you think!
If you’re on Baby Step 3 (saving 3-6 months of spending in a fully funded emergency fund), you can take a smaller-scale trip like a few nights or a long weekend. It’s still not the time to splurge, so check out some less popular (but fun) destinations like a cabin in the mountains. There may be more flexibility for the holidays on baby stages 4, 5, 6, and 7, but you should still plan to cash in on something that works with your budget and other financial goals.
- Compare the prices
Do your research to find the best deals on hotels, flights, attractions, and more. will seriously pay off. Always compare airfares on sites such as Google Flights, Skyscanner and Scott’s Cheap Flights, and book your tickets as far in advance as possible. And check Groupon for deals on attractions and events. Rumor has it that if you call a hotel and ask them to match the price to a rate you found at a similar hotel, you could lower your total bill.
Speaking of price matching, when looking for the best deals, don’t be afraid to use the power of negotiation. I know it can be uncomfortable in the moment, but just asking for a discount, family rate, or any promotion they might be offering can save you a ton of money. I made it myself. One time my husband and I were planning a late summer trip a few weeks before the fall rates were supposed to go into effect, so I asked if we could get the off season rates a little earlier. And they let us do it! We ended up saving a lot on this trip so I recommend asking. The worst they can say is no, right?
- Don’t fall for the points and rewards trap
You might be tempted to get a credit card just for those airline miles and rewards points, but trust me: it’s not worth it! By the time you’ve put enough on a credit card to may be rack up enough miles for a one-way flight, you’ll be more in debt and further away from being able to cash in on a vacation.
And if you’re worried about not being able to use a debit card on your trip, I promise you can do everything with a debit card than with a credit card: rent a car, book a hotel, etc. Depending on the location, you may have to look at different places to find one that accepts debit cards (my husband and I had to do this with rental car companies), but you will find one. And it will be worth it knowing that you avoided going into debt in the process!
- Don’t compare your vacation to anyone else’s
We’ve all heard the famous quote that comparison is the thief of joy, but you guys, it’s so true, especially when it comes to vacations. You might even want to take a break from social media for a while if you know you can’t scroll without feeling jealous of your neighbors’ tropical vacation and comparing it to the trip you took (or didn’t). couldn’t do). ). And when you spend less time comparing, you’ll be less tempted to overspend on your own vacation.
Remember that social media does not give you the full picture of reality. And at the end of the day, no matter what kind of vacation or getaway you’re on, you can always take a break and spend time with the people you love. This is something worth celebrating!
For more travel tips and tricks that will help you save on your next vacation, check out this article.
Rachel Cruze is a two-time national bestselling author, financial expert and host of the Rachel Cruze Show. She has appeared on Good Morning America, TODAY Show and Live! With Kelly & Ryan, among others. Since 2010, Rachel has worked at Ramsey Solutions, where she teaches people how to avoid debt, save money, budget and earn with money at any stage of life. Follow Rachel on TwitterInstagram, Facebook and YouTube or online at rachelcruze.com.