Spring Is Sprung: Seasonal Travel Is Here

Spring has sprung, or has it? OK, I’m a little premature, as the March equinox occurs on March 19 at 10:06 p.m. CDT. So, spring will officially be here on March 19, yet many of you have begun making travel and vacation plans for the season. Some of you have yet to make travel plans but intend to as spring draws closer, while others could be on a family spring break vacation while reading this.

Regardless of which group you fall in, travel and leisure require considerable planning and preparation. This blog covers steps for financial preparation to help ensure a great vacation.

Perhaps you’re going to Colorado for a ski trip in the Rockies, where you hope a group member doesn’t accidentally guide everyone down a double black diamond ski trail called Purgatory. Or you could be planning the vacation of a lifetime with your spouse and are headed overseas to see the remarkable sights you’ve been dreaming of.

There are strategies and planning tips that you can use to make each of these trips more cost-effective for your overall financial success.

Set Your Vacation Goal and Estimate Costs

The first step in planning that memorable getaway or luxurious vacation is to set a clear goal. You’ll need to determine your destination, the dates and duration you will be there, and the approximate cost of the trip.

It’s essential to be realistic about the cost. If you have a good—but not precise—idea of the cost, then it is best to lean on the side of caution by using a higher dollar amount than the approximate cost you have in mind.

During this planning step, be realistic with yourself about your preferences. Are you the type of traveler who decides to buy business-class flight tickets instead of economy or premium economy-class tickets at the last minute? Why not? It’s your vacation, and you want to be comfortable.

Travel springs surprises (see what I did there?), and it’s essential to know your travel tendencies when setting your vacation goal and estimating your total costs.

Implement Savings Strategies

Planning a vacation can be exciting, but the total cost can be overwhelming. So, to make your vacation more budget-friendly, it’s important to implement some savings strategies.

You can follow simple tips that allow for some impulse spending but make the bill or receipt less painful. These strategies are optional, but they can be quite helpful.

So, let’s begin by taking control of your vacation expenses and making it memorable yet affordable! Some strategies include:

  • Create a dedicated savings account: Open a savings account specifically named or earmarked for vacations and leisure. Your bank may allow you to incorporate earmarked buckets for specific financial goals within the same savings account. Whether you have a separate account or a particular bucket, try to ensure the pool of funds for your dream vacation accrues in a competitive, high-interest-rate account.
  • Create a timeline: If you have a realistic dollar amount of the total estimated vacation cost and have set the date, use this to your advantage. If you know you have only a certain number of weeks to allocate funds toward your vacation financial goal, you can quickly tell how much you need to save per week or paycheck to reach your savings target. You can then look at your income and expenses to make any necessary adjustments to save a certain amount per week.
  • Make cuts to discretionary spending: Try to reduce or eliminate items of nonessential spending. You may have television subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Paramount Plus, Disney Plus, and Peacock. Determine which one or two you use the most, cancel the remaining subscriptions, and then direct those funds to your dedicated savings account. Also, see if you can eliminate dining out and entertainment spending for the months leading up to your getaway. If you need motivation, tell yourself it’ll be worth it while you’re on a beach in Cabo San Lucas.
  • Utilize travel rewards: If your travel requires purchasing airline flight tickets and hotels, use a travel rewards credit card. Everyday purchases made on the credit card could go to airline miles or hotel points. If you do not have a travel rewards card yet but are interested in getting one, I recommend going to NerdWallet.com to learn more about cards that might be right for you.
  • Have an emergency fund: It is recommended to have an emergency fund during all phases of your adult life; however, it is equally important to add to your emergency fund before traveling in the event of cancellations or, heaven forbid, medical emergencies.

Enjoy Yourself!

Now that you’ve established your vacation goal, set your vision, and have savings strategies to help you be financially successful, it’s time to enjoy yourself.

Vacations are terrific ways to recharge and rejuvenate both physically and mentally. Taking this uninterrupted quality time with family and friends and away from daily responsibilities can help you reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.

Travel and leisure can enhance creativity and productivity, and you might find yourself returning to work with renewed energy, increased motivation, and a fresh perspective.

Finally, by taking a break from your normal routine, your vacation can contribute to your balanced lifestyle, allowing you to prioritize your interests outside the office space.

Final Thoughts

Even though spring is technically not here quite yet, as I write this, I’ve been seeing some brave, albeit younger, individuals walking in and out of the grocery store wearing shorts—but they are also wearing jackets. This reminds me of what I’d wear to adjust for the different temperatures in each of the rooms of my first house.

Spring has about sprung. I’m wishing you all the best this upcoming travel season. I hope your short getaway goes according to plan, and I hope that your dream vacation is a dream come true.

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Eric Purcell, CFP®

As a Wealth Advisor, Eric loves helping people from all walks of life in meeting their objectives and accessing financial benefits they might not have known existed.