every bucket list has at least one — the vacation of a lifetime to a fantastic destination.
Whether it’s whale watching on an Alaskan cruise or a romantic escape to Paris for
just the two of you, it’s that one special trip you dream of your entire life. It
may feel out of reach, but with a little bit of advance planning, your travel fantasy
might be closer to reality than you think. Here are a few things you can do to indulge
your wanderlust without breaking the bank.
gets done just by thinking about it. So, get out your calendar and to-do list and
set your travel goal. Even if it’s five years away, an actual date on your calendar
gives you something concrete to work toward. Break up your big goal into smaller
steps, like researching your destination, establishing a budget and making reservations.
in Your Dream
last thing you need after a long vacation is a big credit card bill as a
souvenir. Make your budget and then set a savings goal. Open an account dedicated
to your vacation fund and decide how much you can afford to save each week or month.
Commit to putting cash gifts, bonuses or raises into your vacation account. For
family trips, get everyone involved. Start a communal jar for pocket change, or
skip other luxuries in favor of contributions toward the big adventure.
your trip for the off-season can make travel more affordable. While Paris is beautiful
in the spring, the same museums, cafés and shops are also open in November — and airfare and hotel rates are generally much lower
then too. Avoiding tourist season also means avoiding big crowds and premium prices.
Booking flights on major holidays, like Thanksgiving Day, can earn you reduced fares
and additional open seats for a more comfortable flight.
all Your Options
shop for hotels, airfare, car rental rates and excursion packages. Make reservations
early but check for generous no-fee cancelation policies in case your plans change.
More research up front can mean more dollars left in your bank account after you
unpack your bags at home.
done all this work to invest in a big trip — don’t let an unexpected medical emergency or natural
disaster derail your itinerary. Trip Insurance is a relatively inexpensive way to
be sure you’re not left out of pocket if things take a wrong turn. You can often
buy flight insurance at the same time you book your airfare. Contact your insurance
agent for general travel insurance as well as international health insurance if
you’re going overseas. Check with your regular health insurance provider to see
how traveling to your specific destination affects your coverage.
Raid Your 401(k)
you do, don’t trade fun now for a secure retirement later. Refrain from funding
your dream trip from your 401(k). Even if you plan on paying yourself back, unanticipated
life events can make that more difficult (leading to hefty penalties), and you may
face a significant opportunity cost for not keeping your funds fully invested —
even for a short time.
a Savvy Traveler
carry lots of cash on your trip. Use your debit card to take out what you need for
purchases at shops, restaurants and hotels. If you go overseas, you can take advantage
of the lowest available currency exchange rate by making electronic transactions
instead of changing money ahead of time. However, know that some credit
companies may freeze your card if you make out-of-US purchases without
notifying them in advance.
you thinking that your big vacation might not be as far off as you thought it was?
Contact your financial professional to make sure your trip is on track with your
budget — and your retirement plan. And don’t forget to send us a postcard! Bon voyage!