As we emerge from the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there seems to be a new travel trend. We used to take our vacations during the summer, but we now see people traveling more during the off-peak seasons. This is because most people now have flexibility in their schedules, thanks in large part to the pandemic trend of working remotely.
If you and your significant other are planning a romantic getaway before or after your holiday family time, here are some things to consider.
Find the Best Travel Times
Seasonal deals after Labor Day and before Christmas have been increasing. This is because October is typically cooler and fewer people tend to travel then, so prices tend to be lower. Additionally, there are fewer crowds and shorter lines—which translates into more time to experience the things you want to do. Saving time is part of saving money, and getting more time to spend with your mate is priceless.
Many couples want to go to Europe for a romantic getaway, whether it be Paris, Venice, or some other romantic European destination. Thanksgiving week is a good time for these types of trips because overseas countries don’t celebrate Thanksgiving and most attractions are open. Plus, things are slower here at home as work becomes less hectic around the holidays.
For a domestic getaway, January and February can be great times to visit warm southern locales to avoid the winter chill. Or you could visit the ski slopes early in the new year when crowds tend to be smaller. Tourist attractions in these areas may not be as busy, allowing you to enjoy seeing more of the sights.
With so many people working remotely now, it can also be easier to take time off for a “working vacation” by bringing your laptop with you to knock out a few work projects while taking in scenic views.
Plan Your Trip Ahead of Time
Although many people use travel to relax and recharge, vacations can be costly when you factor in transportation, lodging, and meals. So how can you swing the cost of a four- or even five-figure trip? Here are the key planning strategies you should consider:
Determine Your Budget
Your travel budget will depend largely on where you go and what you plan to do. For instance, going to an international destination will likely cost more than heading to a US beach or campground. Likewise, lodging in larger cities tends to be higher-priced than in rural areas. And of course, traveling at off-peak times could land you discounts on lodging and attractions.
Start Saving Now
After you have an approximate dollar amount in mind for the cost of your trip, you can break that down and set aside money each month until you reach your goal. You could also beef up your travel account if you receive a bonus at work and/or an income-tax refund. And cutting unnecessary expenses such as subscriptions and restaurants can also help accelerate your savings.
Check Your Credit Card Perks
You may be able to pay for parts of your trip without using cash or credit if you have a credit card that offers airline miles or hotel points. Put these toward your expenses in order to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
Don’t Overdo It
It is easy to overspend when you are having fun on vacation. So track your spending as a way to avoid a trip that costs you more than you anticipated.
Are you financially prepared to see the world? Working with a financial-planning professional can be extremely beneficial when it comes to planning a travel budget. No one wants to scrimp, struggle, or be saddled with significant credit-card balances after returning home from a vacation. A professional planner can not only help you plan for your future travels, but also your long-term financial success.
Grace S. Yung, CFP ®, is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner with experience in helping LGBTQ individuals, domestic partners, and families plan and manage their finances since 1994. She is the managing director at Midtown Financial Group, LLC, in Houston.Yung can be reached at [email protected]. Visit letsmakeaplan.org or midtownfg.com/lgbtqplus.10.html.
This article appears in our December 2022 edition of OutSmart.