sea-beach-holiday-vacationAre you dreaming of a vacation but don’t think you can afford one? Think again.

While vacations can be costly, simple strategies can help you budget, save for, and execute an economical vacation. With a bit of discipline and these five tips, you will be better able to finance the vacation you’ve always wanted and desperately need.

  1. Establish a budget

When it comes to determining a price-point for your trip, no one formula applies to all. A December 2016 survey by Community Marketing and Insights found that in 2013, 55 per cent of LGBT travellers consider themselves moderate or budget-conscious travellers that enjoy the occasional splurge. However, you might not fit within this category, and that’s fine. Whether you consider yourself a luxury or economy traveller, you must identify a price point and establish a plan to acquire the necessary funds to meet it. A trip can be financed by your savings, credit, or a combination of both.


  1. Consider all the costs.

One of the most critical aspects of planning a trip is assessing the costs accurately. An analysis from ValuePenguin based on how much Americans reported paying in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2013 Consumer Expenditure Survey

estimates that the average vacationer spent just over $580 for domestic travel and over $3,250 for international trips, including food, lodging and transportation. The tendency is always to consider the hotel and the plane ticket first; however, one shouldn’t forget the more minor expenses such as food, tips, taxis, etc.

Setting aside a portion of your budget to cover unforeseen expenses and emergencies is also essential. This will give you the flexibility to improvise on fun activities and stay relaxed, knowing that you have the extra money if you need it.


  1. Use effective saving strategies.

Once you’ve established a budget – that includes all your foreseen expenses plus an extra for those spontaneous decisions – it is time to start saving.

Create a separate budget to track your monthly expenses and income and establish priorities based on it. There are tools at your disposal, such as Budget Watch, that can help you throughout this process. Examine which routine expenses you can do without and use that money to fund your trip. An easy way to do this is by opening a savings account where you continuously deposit a predetermined amount of income that will eventually go towards your vacation.


  1. Be mindful of the risks.

According to Wells Fargo’s 2015 “How America Buys and Borrows” survey, for more than one-third of Americans, the cost of a vacation will be one of their most significant expenses throughout the year. Even though paying for a break with credit can be attractive, it can also be risky if you’re not able to pay the cost of the trip promptly. To take advantage of a tool like credit, it is essential to identify the right way to use it.

For example, if you plan to finance your trip with a credit card, you should use a card that earns rewards with every purchase. That way, you might increase your budget and even offset some of the expenses completely. However, it is essential to emphasise that you should always be ready to pay the debt on the card as soon as possible. Otherwise, the accumulated interests might result in your trip being much more expensive than what you intended.


  1. Prevent identity theft

Vacationers, particularly overseas, have been prime targets for identity thieves looking for credit card and bank account information. In addition, identity theft at home can ruin plans for a peaceful vacation. There are three easy things you can do that will help you avoid identity theft:

·       Protect your bank statements and account information: Stolen mail that contains personal information is one of the most common forms of identity theft. Lower this risk by ceasing to receive printed information and using Online Banking instead. While on vacation, leave your chequebook and essential account documents at home in a safe place.

·       Monitor your finances. Examine your account statements regularly to stay alert if you don’t recognise charges. Many banks let you set up customised alerts to send messages to your email address or mobile device when specific criteria are met.

·       Protect your password. Avoid using easily identifiable information, like the name of a relative or your birthday. Use a combination of capital letters, numbers, and other special characters when possible.


  1. Additional considerations while travelling

a.      Notify your bank before travelling.  To protect you against unauthorised transactions, banks can constantly monitor your account activity. Notifying them while travelling will help avoid issues due to suspicious account activity.

b.      Exchange money for local currency. Having local currency on hand for taxis, tips, and meals is always helpful. Upon your return home, you can easily exchange leftover paper currency.

c.      Avoid using shady ATMs. If you need cash while travelling, only use ATMs at reputable banks, and avoid going alone or night.

d.      Enjoy comprehensive protection from fraud. You should use a protected card against unauthorised transactions, which financial institutions should offer at no extra cost.


We hope these tips allow you to discover one of the many ways Wells Fargo Advisors is working hard to help you have better financial experiences and outcomes every day.