Planning a Money Smart Vacation

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Summer is just around the corner and soon many Americans across the country will embark on their well deserved summer vacations. Vacationers need to carefully plan their summer getaways to make their vacations financially feasible. To help consumers effectively manage their summer finances, we at CreditGUARD of America have put together the following tips and guidelines.

Summer is just around the corner and soon many Americans across the country will embark on their well deserved summer vacations. According to travel experts, three out of four Americans plan to travel this summer despite above average gas prices. Vacationers need to carefully plan their summer getaways to make their vacations financially feasible. Without a solid financial plan, your family’s expenses could soar above the preset amount and this could hurt you more than the occasional sunburn.

To help consumers effectively manage their summer finances, we at CreditGUARD of America have put together the following tips and guidelines.

Set a Spending Limit

Setting a limit on the expenses of your upcoming vacation is extremely important. This will prevent you from planning a vacation that you really cannot afford. Before making the plans, ask yourself “How will I pay for my vacation?” and “If I use credit to finance my vacation, how much will I pay in the long run?” When deciding on a spending limit, make sure you keep some extra cash for unexpected expenses. Establishing best and worst case scenarios will help keep your nerves down knowing that you are prepared to handle any financial situation.

Do Your Homework

Take advantage of the Internet to find information about discounts on hotels, tours, rental cars, airfare and entertainment. Many travel companies such Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity offer vacation packages which will allow you to combine all your travel needs. These vacation packages can save you hours of researching as well as hundreds of dollars in discounts. Also, be sure to ask about possible discounts for students, seniors or auto club members. For instance, American Automobile Association (AAA) members can save up to 20 percent in any of the Best Western hotel chains around the country.

Avoid Tourist Traps

When buying vacation souvenirs, skip exotic gift shops and head to local supermarkets and drug stores. Supermarkets and drug stores often buy these items for much less than gift shops and hence can pass on some of these savings to its customers. Avoid buying items such as cameras, films, batteries, swimwear and aspirin from tourist hotspots. Most of these items can be purchased from your home supermarket for a fraction of the price.

Save Money on Breakfast

Nowadays, many hotels and inns offer continental breakfast to its guest for free of charge. This can really come in handy if you travel with your family as it can save you lots of money. If your hotel does not provide free breakfast, request for a room equipped with a refrigerator and purchase the items you need for one or more meals per day. This way you would not be tempted to eat in the hotel’s pricey restaurants.

Take Advantage of Coupons

Coupons can be a great money saver for many vacation goers. Coupon books such as ‘Coupons save Money!’ can be obtained from hotel front desks, local newspapers, convenience stores and online. These coupon books can save you money on dinning, attractions, tours, shopping and etc. When using coupons always remember to read the fine print thoroughly and be familiar with merchants terms and conditions.

CreditGUARD of America is a non-profit credit counseling organization that assists consumers through credit counseling and financial education.

Please visit our web site at http://www.creditguard.org or call 1-800-867-0406 for a free consultation with a certified credit counselor.

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Nemal Perera
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