Here we are in the middle of summer. Have you made your summer vacation plans yet? A recent study found that sixty percent of those surveyed said they overspent when on vacation. Hey, it’s easy. All those souvenirs and evening outings for ice cream add up, especially if you have several kids in tow. Vacations are like Christmas—lots of fun while they’re occurring but a huge downer the next month when the credit card statement arrives.
Here are a few ways you can have a great vacation without breaking the bank:
1. Use your computer to plan your vacation. There are a myriad of websites that offer deals on airfare and hotel stays. Take advantage of them to book your trip. Then, once you have your destination set, check out sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Amazon Local for restaurant and entertainment deals in the area during your stay.
2. Keep a record of your spending. Either jot down expenditures in a small notepad or on your phone. It makes you aware of your spending, so there are no surprises at the end of the vacation. Or go high-tech—most banks now offer a service where you can keep track of your credit card spending. My bank offers a service where I receive an email every time I make a credit card purchase. This not only keeps me apprised of my spending, but it also alerts me to any unauthorized use of my credit card.
3. And speaking of credit cards, use them when traveling. They offer protections against fraud that debit cards don’t. Banks love debit cards because they get their money immediately, but debit cards can be really damaging to consumers. Every time my bank wants to issue me one, I decline. My ATM card is solely an ATM card, not a combined ATM/debit card.
4. Finally, make a budget and stick to it! You’ll enjoy your vacation far more if you don’t regret it once the bills start arriving.