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05-10-2017 • Travel Smarter This Summer

CONSIDER THIS: Summer is just around the corner. For many, that means it’s time for vacations with family and friends.

But cost is often a factor as to when and where people take their vacations.

According to Condé Nast Travel, in the year 2016, households likely to take a vacation spent $1,798 on average, up roughly 11 percent from 2015. A survey by ValuePenguin noted that the typical vacationing family spends 44 percent of their travel funds on transportation.

Financial experts advise that consumers should resist the urge to take on a financial burden that will long outlive the benefits of a vacation.

Here are some tips to enjoy a little R&R without breaking the bank:

Scheduling matters: When planning low-cost trips, timing is everything. To save money booking accommodations, try traveling during an off-season, or even a few weeks before peak-season starts. If you’re booking airfare, book at least a month in advance, if not earlier. Airlines price their flights differently depending on the day of the week, so use an airfare tracker site or app to keep up with changes.

Travel smart: Many vacation destinations take advantage of the naiveté of travelers, so tourist hot spots may be higher priced than smaller, locally-owned places. Do your research before deciding where to stay, what to eat, and what activities you should embark on, and you’ll likely save during your trip.

Use rewards: Even though you may not consistently travel, airlines, booking services, credit cards—and even your financial institution, such as a credit union—may offer rewards points to redeem on airfare or a vacation.

Set aside a little at a time: Make room for vacation savings in your annual or monthly budget. Use your financial institution to open a savings account specifically for a trip. Many credit unions offer short-term personal vacation loans with low rates and fees. Credit unions are also a great resource to consult if you’re looking for ways to save and budget for vacation.