According to Joe Robinson, author of “Work to Live; A Guide to Getting a Life,” taking a vacation is as important as watching your cholesterol or exercising.
As we enter vacation season, here are some tips to help make vacationing a reality.
* Start with your budget. Remember that quality is more important than quantity. Take the available dollar amount you have to spend, divide it by the average cost per day, and you will have the number of days you can spend on a vacation. Your vacation should be designed around available funds, not the number of days you have available off work.
* Travel off season. If possible, try to travel just before or after peak season. Prices are lower, the weather is still decent, most shops and restaurants are still open, and it is less crowded.
* Plan your trip early, but be flexible when possible with dates, travel times, stop-overs and airports.
* Get a credit card that offers rewards for travel or gasoline. Be sure not to carry a balance, or rewards will not offset the cost of interest.
* Find airline deals. Some offer a free stopover (a break of more than 24 hours) in their hub cities in route to another country. Find these deals under “special offers” or “stopovers.” In addition, the best price on airline tickets is round 45-47 days ahead. Use multiple search engines and aggregates in your search, or use “incognito” mode.
* Check out coupons for long-term parking at Longterm Parking. Look for ways to save on meals such as Entertainment, Valupak or Hot Coupon World. Headed to a theme park? Visit Theme Park Insider for deals. Visit Gas Buddy or Gas Price Watch for the cheapest gas prices.
* Get your passport well in advance. Make sure passports have at least 6 months left prior to the expiration date for your return travel. Some countries limit access if your passport is about to expire.
* Check the visitor’s bureau for the destination you plan to visit. Many list upcoming events and offer discount coupons for attractions, restaurants and hotels.
* Learn about your credit card’s miles programs, as many do not have black-out dates for reward travel, but hotel/resort cards do.
* See if your travel rewards credit cards offer trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage.
There are also many websites and apps to help you travel smart and save money. Take
time to find what works best for you.
By: Teresa Hunsaker, Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences educator
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