Contributed by: Raya Chope
Whether you want to take a dream trip around the world or simply want to visit your close relatives for a few days, you can benefit from some pre-trip planning. If you plan far enough in advance, you'll usually get better rates on airline fares, lodging, and packages than if you wait until the last minute, particularly if your travel plans are flexible. If you're traveling to a foreign country, you may need time to obtain a passport or a visa or to research your itinerary. In addition, you'll reduce the inevitable stress that accompanies traveling by preparing yourself as thoroughly as possible.
Financial Considerations for Travelers:
Cash vs. Credit Card
The main advantage to paying for your trip with cash is that you'll be less likely to overspend, because you can clearly see how much you're spending. Plus, you won't have to pay your trip off gradually over time, long after your vacation has ended. Even if you pay for most of your travel arrangements with cash, make sure that you do not carry large amounts of cash with you on your trip. It's safer to take traveler's checks or use an ATM card.
Prepare a Daily Budget
Have you ever returned from a trip happy because you spent less than you anticipated? If you're like most travelers, the answer is no. You usually return from trips feeling overextended or even guilty because you spent more money than you wanted to. If you want to avoid this, plan a daily budget before you leave on your trip. This can mean simply deciding how much you want to spend each day, or it can mean breaking down how much you want to spend on certain items on your trip.
Prepare for Cancellation Fees
Before making travel arrangements, find out what will happen if you have to cancel your trip. In most cases, you'll pay some penalty if you cancel. For instance, if you purchase nonrefundable airline tickets (many tickets issued at a “low fare rate” are nonrefundable), you cannot get a refund if you cancel your trip. If you have to cancel a group tour or cruise, expect to pay part or all of the cost of the trip, depending on how early you cancel. Since the cancellation policies vary widely, make sure you understand how and when you will be charged if you cancel.
Make copies of your important documents
Before you go on your trip, copy all your important documents, including your driver's license, your medical card, your credit cards, and your passport. Give a copy to a friend/family member at home in case your wallet or identification is stolen. Keep with you a copy of your passport, your airline ticket number, and a log showing what traveler's check numbers you've used in case these get lost or stolen.
We love to see our clients living out their travel dreams, please don’t hesitate to call or email our staff with any questions.
Raya Chope is a Client Service Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.®
Any opinions are those of Raya Chope and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.