5 Top Tips for Staying Financially Savvy While on Vacation

Summer vacation season is upon us and if you’ve been reading my blog, you have hopefully saved for your summer vacation and already bought your tickets, or reserved your room or whatever other arrangements you need to make it a wonderful holiday.

I want you to have a great time, but I also want you to make sure you do not do anything to throw off your finances while you’re away. There are 3 broad categories you want to think about before you leave for vacation:

  1. Being prepared for emergencies
  2. Not spending more than you’ve already allotted yourself for this trip
  3. Packing well, so you do not need to throw money at things as they come up

If you cover the three items above, you will be in a great position not to overspend on your vacation. Simple, right? Here’s where my 5 tips come in. Here are my 5 tips for making sure you have prepared for emergencies, are not spending more than you’ve allotted for the trip and will not need to buy a bunch of stuff you already have at home (I’m talking about you, phone charger).

  1. Be Prepared for Emergencies – Bring your checkbook (or cash transfer app) so you do not have to charge unexpected items or services and can pay for them out of your Rainy Day Savings if needed. Get out of the habit (or resist the temptation) to plunk down plastic. You will spend less if you know you’re paying cash. It’s psychological…
  2. Be Prepared for Emergencies – Know your credit card, health insurance and car insurance rules for when you are away and think everything is covered when it MAY NOT BE. Don’t panic, just read the rules or call customer service and ask. Not all credit cards provide travel insurance. Check!
  3. Not Spending More than Allotted for this Trip – figure out how much you want for spending money on the trip. Put it on a prepaid card, or in a separate account or use an app to track it (e.g. Best Budget), but do not just go to the ATM and think you’re fine. Save some from your full discretionary spending the month or two before if you want to buy something for yourself while you’re away.
  4. Pack Well – I know this sounds so boring, but do an inventory or make a list before you leave of all the boring things in your life you may forget like medicines, chargers, bad weather gear, and extra socks and pack it so you do not have to buy it. Put one change of clothes in your carry on.
  5. Pack Well – pack a few granola bars or easy snacks for when you’re touring or enjoying your day. Not only does it give you more time to do the things you want to do, but it’s cheaper than eating EVERY meal out or eating take out. Maybe pack a box of cereal so you can skip breakfast out and get to your fun even earlier!

At the risk of being an agony aunt (what else could a financial planner be?), remember to stop your mail and newspaper delivery and pay your bills early before you leave so there are no late fees or issues with your credit. Have a neighbor watch your house while you’re away and remember to turn off the A/C. Okay, honestly, I’m really fun… I’m not totally boring… but these things can be costly.