Vacations: Save before you set sail


Your mind wanders to crisp-blue skies and romantic sunsets, salty ocean breezes, and sand between your toes. Then your telephone rings and you snap back to reality. There are no blue skies or ocean breezes, just your computer monitor staring you down. Do you need a vacation?

Budgets are tight, but with some disciplined planning and money-saving tricks, that dream vacation can become a reality.

Be careful with plastic.

Don’t finance your entire vacation on your credit card. That doesn’t mean it’s off limits, but relying solely on plastic will only lead to stress and heavy interest charges down the road.

Save, save, save.

Try to set aside some of every paycheck in a special savings account. Decide how much you want to have on hand to start your trip. Divide that total by the number of paychecks until vacation, then save that amount in your vacation account. If you are not able to save this much, take a look at your spending habits. Are there places you can make cuts?

Plan ahead.

Booking airfare, hotels, and rental cars in advance could save you a bundle. Consider using public transportation to save cash on a rental car or taxis. And travel midweek for the best deals.

Hotel deals.

You may be able to pick the price you pay for your hotel room. When renting a room or condo, some websites, such as Priceline.com or Hotwire.com, let customers bid for the lowest price. On sites like eBay, time-share owners sometimes sell unreserved rentals at discounted prices. Do some searching before booking a full-price room.

Save money and secure your dream vacation. We’re here to help!

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