Money Monday: Inflation Vacation

Loving african-american couple traveling and reading map, copy space
Loving african-american couple traveling and reading map, copy space
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About one week ago parts of the country moved the clock forward by one hour; they call it Spring Forward or Daylight Savings Time. The changing of the clock ignites the vision of Spring and Summer vacations. Have you started planning for your summer vacation and how costly will it be this year?

Travel and Hotel Costs

There are several ways to plan or enjoy a vacation that is reasonable and within your budget; but it starts with planning early. I wouldn’t say it’s too late and all hope is lost on deals and steals, but you have to get moving immediately.

Look for reduced prices during the “shoulder season.” This refers to periods in spring and fall when prices are cheaper, or are considered “off season.” For example, according to a NerdWallet article, prices during the shoulder season average 23% less than during the peak season. In some cases, two weeks before or after a major holiday could translate into cost savings of as much as 40 percent. The benefits of traveling during this season, besides cheaper prices, is that you can avoid those travel lines and crowds. Additionally, you can get into the more sought after hotels, attractions, and restaurants during the shoulder season. One simple get-started-now method on monitoring cost is to sign up with travel websites such as Google Flights or Kayak that allow you to track flight prices, and that way you can take advantage of prices when they drop.

Another way to manage your vacation cost is by using rewards on your credit card. Now, if you are unable to pay off your credit card balances when payment is due, if not within three months, this option is not for you. Websites such as The Points Guy provide credit card options with mileage available for signing up for a new credit card. These cards can provide benefits such as Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check. When opening a new card you can take advantage of the sign up mileage bonuses. For example Chase Sapphire Preferred has an annual fee of $95, but offers 60,000 bonus miles if you spend $4,000 within three months of obtaining the card. While $4,000 can seem like a lot to spend in three months; the card does not restrict the nature of items you can charge on your account. You just need to be strategic about what charges you place on the credit card and paying it off immediately. For example, you could switch your monthly car note and or insurance payments to the credit card for a few months and then switch back in order to achieve your objective and earn the travel miles.

For credit cards with best travel rewards you could consider visiting, kiplinger.com/kpf/rewardscards. You will also need to understand the credit cards fees and ensure that besides the bonus miles, the card does not charge you foreign transactions fees. Finally on this matter of controlling cost, you can stay in a hotel, Airbnb or VRBO location. If hotels are your preference check out Hostelworld.com and if you can find a location that works for you. They list over 36,000 properties in 180 countries with reviews.

Insurance Costs

This could sometimes seem like a scam. But what you should know is that there are generally two types of insurance policies. One policy covers your trip and property while the other covers your health. These policies can cover cancellations, medical emergencies and property loss, damaged or stolen property. It is important for you to know whether the country you are visiting requires medical travel insurance. Your U.S. health plan may provide little or no coverage once you leave the country. Review of your policy should indicate whether you need to file a police report or see a physician before claiming insurance coverage. You should also know about the deductibles where applicable for insurance coverage. In general, when planning you vacation consider allocating an estimated 6% of your entire vacation cost towards insurance.

Vacation costs do not have to be overwhelming if you plan and take advantage of mileage, rewards, discounts, and sign up for travel services and alerts. You should keep in mind that just because you can’t vacation in peak season or summer, it does not preclude you from taking a vacation. Shoulder season vacations are a viable option in these inflationary times.

WHAT’S UP!

Today’s What’s Up is about travel checklists. Whether you are traveling locally or internationally for vacation, consider adding these tasks to your checklist:

  • Contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know you are traveling.
  • Get some currency exchanged before you travel and get to the airport.
  • Check whether you need an international permit to drive, or whether you will break the law by driving on your U.S. license and face fines?
  • Reduce telephone fees by checking into What’s App and Facebook’s Messenger for free services.
  • Put your bills on autopay.

And that’s what’s up!

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