Enjoy a Green Vacation

Piggy bank on a beach

It’s no secret that getting away can be very expensive when it involves hotel stays, meals out, theme parks, tourist attractions, and other activities. If your vacation checks some of those boxes then read these tips for reducing the financial strain of getting your summer fun in the sun and keeping it “green” with your cash.

1. Can you afford it?
No one wants “spender’s guilt,” especially when you’re supposed to be enjoying time with family and friends. Evaluate your ability to keep it “green” by using cash instead of credit. The impact of this reflection and commitment to your future self by avoiding new debt will last far longer than the rafting trip, helicopter rides, or souvenirs. Memories are priceless, but some can be expensive!

2. Budget and save
It sounds so simple, yet people often overspend on vacation. Decide now how much you will spend on vacation and make a plan for saving the money throughout the year. If you decide on a last minute getaway, you can also consider all the fun that can be had for little or no cost – perhaps in your own neighborhood or a nearby community. 

3. Set expectations
The family or friends you are vacationing with each may have a different idea of what to do, so having a meeting of the minds beforehand will get everyone on the same page. Remember to let your budget be your guide, and start by identifying what vacation means. Is it thrill-a-minute or unplugging in the mountains? Once you identify the kind of vacation you want, you can then make a list of budget-friendly activities that match everyone’s interests so no one is disappointed.

4. Research
Now that you know what you want to do, it’s time to research! Checking a range of dates will reveal when you can save money by adjusting your trip’s timing. For example, what’s the “shoulder season” of your favorite beach town or campground? Talk to friends and family about their experiences, too! You’ll get real-deal information from people you trust.

5. Don’t procrastinate
Once you’ve found the place, activities, and rates you’re comfortable with - book it! Waiting can only invite losing out on an opportunity to save big. A travel agent is also a good resource.

No matter what you do, remember that the best part of summer is the quality time you spend – not the money. Go ahead…bury yourself in the sand (instead of in debt). 

For strategies on budgeting and paying off debt, attend one of SEFCU’s financial education seminars with the Institute for Financial Well-Being. They’re free, fun, and open to the public.

Adapted from content at DaveRamsey.com