5 Financial Planning Tips All Travelers Should Follow
It’s warm, it’s sunny, and you’re dreaming of getting away from the grind. When you’re planning your big trip, you’ll get to decide on the fun things like where you’re going, when, and what sites, events, restaurants, and scenery you just have to experience when you get there. But, before you start packing, may we offer five financial planning tips that will save you a lot of unnecessary stress along the way so you can concentrate on enjoying your vacation to the fullest.
Plan and budget.
The idea of spontaneously leaving for a whirlwind adventure may be alluring, but your bank account will thank you for putting in the time to plan and budget for your trip.
First, consider travelling in the off-season or flying on an off-peak day or time. Transportation accounts for a significant portion of your travel costs, so the earlier you start planning, the more time you have to grab a seat sale.
The next biggest expense will be accommodations. Will you be staying in a hotel? Airbnb? All-inclusive resort? Make sure you know what’s included in the fees. If you’re travelling with a group, sharing the cost of an Airbnb rental may be more economical than everyone booking their own hotel rooms.
You will also need to think about necessities like food and transportation once you’ve arrived at your destination. If your rental has a kitchen, you could see some cost savings with the opportunity to hit up a local grocery store or market and make your own meals instead of restaurant dining every day.
Consider things like transit passes over renting a vehicle if you won’t be travelling too far. Some places have daily or weekly transit passes that are much more reasonably priced than individual rides.
Of course, you’ll also want to budget for any exhibits or events you plan to attend and any shopping you may want to do. But remember, you may get stuck paying overweight luggage fees or paying for additional luggage on the way home if you go crazy with souvenirs.
Open a travel savings account.
Now that you have your plan and budget in place, consider opening a Travel Savings Account. Choose a high-interest account for optimal growth of your savings. The more money you can put away before the trip, the fewer hiccups there will be while you’re away. This account can make paying deposits much easier over time instead of racking up credit card bills before your vacation.
Be wise with your credit and debit cards.
Above and beyond the “don’t overspend” advice, there are a few things you can do before your travel date to help prevent any issues with your credit and debit cards.
Call to inform your credit and debit card providers of your intent to travel. You don’t want your financial institution to flag foreign purchases and freeze your account while you’re travelling.
Look at accounts and cards that have no or low foreign fees. Not only will your card provider likely charge fees on out-of-country purchases, but on things like hotel bookings if the company is not based in your home country.
Remember to check out how ATMs and debit machines work in the country you’re visiting. You can contact your financial institution to ensure your card and PIN will work at your destination.
Know the exchange rates for the local currency.
Exchange rates can quickly throw off your budget if you don’t account for them. You want to ensure you know how far your dollars will stretch.
On the plus side, you often get a better conversion rate through your credit card provider than exchanging cash at the bank or airport, so it may be beneficial to use your credit card for travel purchases.
You will also want to have a small amount of the local currency in cash on hand in case of an emergency.
Get travel insurance.
Planning for emergencies can be difficult but, in this case, it’s necessary. There are a few different types of travel insurance that you can buy – cancellation insurance, trip interruption insurance, baggage insurance, medical insurance, and all-inclusive insurance which, just as it sounds, is a combination of the other four categories.
Cancellation and interruption insurance help cover non-refundable deposits you’ve made if you need to cancel your trip altogether or cut your trip short due to unforeseen circumstances.
Baggage insurance helps cover the cost of reasonable expenses incurred if you arrive in England and your bags take a solo self-discovery trip to France. This insurance will also generally cover the cost of your suitcase and everything in it if your checked luggage is lost, damaged, or stolen.
Travel medical insurance is meant to act like your provincial health card in your home province while you’re away. If you are travelling to another country, the cost of care in the case of a medical emergency will be determined by their healthcare system, not your home system, so having coverage is highly recommended.
All-inclusive travel insurance is usually the most expensive form of travel insurance because it does cover multiple scenarios. But the cost is worth the peace of mind while you’re travelling.
The bottom line.
If you are planning a trip, talk to your Assante advisor. We can’t wait in line for standing-room-only tickets for you, but we can help with the planning and budgeting to make sure you are on track for a financially stress-free vacation.