4 Finance Tips for a Stress-Free Vacation

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Nothing can ruin a much-anticipated vacation like the stress of being financially unprepared. The worst thing you can do is put your trip on a credit card thinking, “I’ll pay it off later.” When you take the time to budget for travel expenses, you’ll find yourself infinitely more relaxed and carefree during your vacation. If you and your family plan to take a trip within the next few months and you’re wondering how to prepare financially, here are a few tips I’ve learned as both a parent and a financial advisor:

  • Include vacations in your monthly budget.Since a vacation is a non-recurring expense, most people don’t think to include it in their monthly budget. Though you may only vacation once or twice a year, I recommend adding money each month to a savings account specifically earmarked for vacations. Then you’ll know exactly what you have to spend when it’s time to plan a trip.

  • Take a longer vacation. Next summer my family is heading to Utah and renting a small apartment for a full month to escape the Texas heat. I can’t wait. Now before you start thinking this sounds too extravagant, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Most real estate managers and homeowners will offer a significantly better price to long-term renters. Additionally, if you rent a home for more than 30 days, you’re considered a long-term renter for tax purposes. This can be financially beneficial since you won’t be required to pay daily taxes like you would on a week-to-week rental or hotel room.

  • Plan a good, old-fashioned road trip. One way to dramatically save on vacation expenses is to choose a destination within driving distance. This allows you to save the money you would have spent on airfare for the actual vacation. This is especially true when traveling with children. Your family will have more discretionary funds for your trip, and you’ll likely make some amazing memories along the way.


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For two decades, financial advisor, entrepreneur, speaker, author and mother, Emily G. Stroud, has counseled clients on how to handle money, manage risk and plan for their financial future. She currently lives in Fort Worth with her husband and two children. For more information, please visit EmilyGStroud.com.