No matter the destination, travel is a sure way to recharge your batteries and enjoy time with family and friends. A great way to treat yourself after working year around is by taking time off to travel the world. Whether you are traveling near or far, it is important to factor travel into your planning, be it financial planning or otherwise.
Here are six travel tips that will help you enjoy your travels and maintain your budgeting and financial goals:
1. Plan in Advance
A general rule of thumb is that planning in advance saves money. Consider setting up your plans at the beginning of the year with whomever you’ll be traveling to discuss potential locations. Some airlines allow you to book flights up to 365 days in advance.
Planning to travel a year from now may not be the most realistic. However, advance planning gives you added time to keep an eye on flight costs. If your dates are flexible you can choose when to travel based on when you can get the best deal. Once you know the flight plans and which airlines fly to your destination, you can track the price changes and sign up for their newsletters. A sale just may come along while waiting to book!
2. Consider Educational Travel
Traveling is not only a great way to see different parts of the world but it can also be a wonderful way to learn more about other cultures. Especially for those of us who have children or grandchildren, planning educational trips is a great way to both see and learn more about the world.
Do not let the thought of learning while on vacation steer you away from this kind of travel. Educational tourism is not about sitting in a classroom and being lectured but rather about interacting more with your surroundings and those that live there. What a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
3. Research Booking Options
When budgeting for a trip, planning ahead is the best way to save money. Last minute trips tend to be more expensive unless you manage to nab one of those unlikely last minute flight deals.
Plenty of research has been done about honing in on the best day and time to book flights. According to a CheapAir article, Tuesdays are the best days to book flights, saving you an average of $73 per ticket while Sundays are the most costly.
Prepaid websites such has Hotwire and Priceline can be very beneficial to your wallet, and so can booking through airline or credit card reward points. If you are planning to book a flight through airline reward points, however, booking well in advance will give you a better chance of flying on your preferred days. Advance planning not only allows you to save money but it will better help you prepare to be out of office and build excitement as you get closer.
4. Travel Efficiently
Travel, especially via air, can be particularly daunting for some. From long lines to security protocols, navigating the airport is no longer a cinch. That being said, however, there are programs in place that can save a lot of time when travelling.
Applying for TSA PreCheck is a sure way to speed through security. Being membership based and without having to remove your shoes, laptops or liquids, lines tend to be significantly shorter. If traveling internationally, consider Global Entry, which provides expedited clearance for arrival back into the United States. Start and end your trip with as little stress as possible.
5. Be Smart About Where You Stay
Now more than ever there are wonderful options and alternatives to staying in a hotel while on vacation. Booking a hotel can be quite costly especially when adding food expenses. Sites such as Airbnb and VRBO make it possible to book alternative housing such as apartments or homes in your destination of choice. Having a kitchen at your disposal allows you to cook and enjoy meals at home. It can also be a huge benefit to those traveling as a larger group, negating having to book costly individual rooms.
6. Write Travel Journals
Once your trip is over, you are left with many wonderful memories and great pictures from your journey. One way to cement your experience specifically when traveling with your kids or grandkids is to have them write a journal about the trip. It is a great way for them to recap their travel and discuss significant learning experiences.
Vacationing is a very important part of financial success. Be sure to take advantage of the rewards earned from working hard. Just remember that visiting family may not be a vacation for all.