7 Tips for Saving for an Amazing Summer Vacation

Start now and take an unforgettable summer trip, courtesy of LearnVest Founder and CEO and Entrepreneur in Residence Alexa von Tobel.

From Alexa: Make sure your passports are up-to-date, because it’s time to talk about summer vacations. I know, I know—it’s barely spring! But when it comes to planning a getaway during one of the most popular travel seasons of the year, now is the time to get started. 7 Tips for Saving for an Amazing Summer Vacation from the ivanka trump collection: briarcliff crossbody (shop similar styles here)

Planning ahead has a few key benefits:

First, you can make sure you have enough money to cover your trip. There’s nothing worse than going on a vacation only to come home to the stress of credit card debt. I want you to truly enjoy your time away, and I believe that properly planning how you’re going to pay for your vacation can help you do just that. And second, a study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that much of the happiness you get out of a vacation actually comes from the planning phase. If you’re more of a last-minute vacation-goer, you could be missing out on the good feelings of excitement and anticipation. So here are a few planning to-dos (and tricks) to get you ready for a happy, stress-free summer vacation:

1. Create a savings goal

How much will you need to set aside? Setting specific goals can make them more realistic, and in turn, more attainable. When you’re figuring out your target amount, include the basics (transportation, accommodations), and don’t forget the extras (dining out, souvenirs, tips). Set up a separate savings account, or subaccount, so you can easily set up automatic contributions each month and track your progress.

2. Make it a family affair

If you have children and want to involve them in the savings process, consider setting up a savings jar and having them put leftover change in the vacation fund. They can watch the savings grow and get a personal finance lesson along the way.

3. Stay motivated

Consider giving yourself some added inspiration by creating a Pinterest board with images of your destination. You can even turn your favorite picture into your desktop image. If you find yourself making tradeoffs (e.g., skipping dinner out to save for your trip), this can help remind you why you’re saving. 7 Tips for Saving for an Amazing Summer Vacation mar-a-lago club

4. Search smart

When you’re researching flights and hotels, make sure to clear your computer’s cache or use an incognito browser. Why? When travel sites know you’re in need of a certain booking, they will often raise rates accordingly. Clearing your cache keeps your search record under wraps, so you can get a better price.

5. Hack your fares

If air travel is a part of your plan, try setting up price alerts on sites like Airfarewatchdog.com or Hipmunk.com, which will keep you in the know on the best rates for a particular route. Kayak will often propose “hacker fares”—a way to save by flying different carriers on the same trip. If you’re going international, consider flying into a nearby destination. Once you’re in the general vicinity, you can book the final leg on a lower-cost regional carrier.

6. Read up on rentals

Renting a home or room can be a budget-friendly alternative to a hotel. This may be an especially great option for families with kids in tow, who might like some extra space. When renting, make sure to do your homework. Use a reputable site (like Airbnb.com) and check out the host. Read past reviews, make sure they have a verified profile, and send them some questions to gauge their response time and see how helpful they are in advance.

7. Call your credit card company

Once you’re all packed and ready to go, don’t forgot one important to-do: contact your credit card company to let them know you’re traveling (this is especially necessary for international travel!). This will help you avoid the headache of a card being declined when you’re on the road. Bon Voyage! For more advice from Alexa, read her recent columns on personal finance, or visit her online at LearnVest.com. LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc., that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. LearnVest Planning Services and any third parties listed, linked to or otherwise appearing in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies. LearnVest, Inc., is wholly owned by NM Planning, LLC, a subsidiary of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. Images Courtesy of Ivanka Trump Photographer: Nathan Kraxberger Stylist: Nycole Sariol Hair & Makeup: Heather Blaine Model: Mary Butterfly, Next Models