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Planning Your Perfect Vacation

A family vacation, or even a trip alone, is a great way to clear your mind, reset, and make priceless memories. Of course, it often comes with the anxiety of crafting the perfect vacation at the best price. Below we will discuss how to make planning your ideal vacation a breeze while saving money in the process.

Create a budget.
One of the first steps to planning the perfect vacation is to create a budget. Sit down and think about how much you want to spend overall. Once you have that number set, begin breaking down your budget into categories, such as hotels, food, airfare, fuel, souvenirs, and so on.

By detailing all of your costs before embarking on your trip, you’re able to have a pretty good idea of the total amount of money you’ll need. It's much easier to stick to a budget and plan accordingly before heading out than spending on a whim for everything...and possibly regretting it later.

Open a special savings account.
A great way to begin saving for your upcoming vacation is by opening up a special savings account. In doing so, you can set up payroll deductions or automatic transfers to have money put directly into your new account each payday.

There are many benefits to setting up a special savings account, including the ability to see how much money you have set aside for your trip. Plus, you’re more likely to stay motivated to save and avoid spending the money frivolously before your vacation when it’s in a separate account with limited withdrawal options.

Summer Club accounts are a special share account intended for vacation expenses. Deposits may be made whenever you wish. Two penalty free withdrawals may be made during the withdrawal period; additional withdrawals made during the withdrawal period or withdrawals made outside of the withdrawal period are subject to a penalty. The withdrawal period for Summer Clubs is May 1st through August 31st. Summer Club accounts may be opened at any time. Setting up an automatic deposit to a club accounts guarantees that you’ll have the funds you’ll need. We recommend payroll deductions or automatic transfer from another LM Federal account.

Avoid using a credit card.
When planning a vacation, it's not uncommon for people to use their credit cards with the intention of paying the balance once they return. However, that’s rarely as easy as it sounds. Life happens, and payments may become delayed – resulting in expensive interest costs. Instead, consider alternatives to using a credit card, such as a personal loan.

Utilizing a personal loan is often a better option than turning to a credit card.
1. A personal loan provides a specific dollar amount you can borrow, which makes budgeting easier.
2. The interest rates on personal loans are usually lower than on credit cards.
3. You will have set repayment terms on your loan, which will help you pay off your debt quicker and avoid the higher interest charges of credit cards.

Detail food costs.
Food is almost always one aspect of a vacation budget that is overlooked. Meals often make up a substantial portion of your vacation budget. If you’re taking a road trip instead of flying, consider packing a cooler with sandwiches, snacks, and drinks. In doing so, you can avoid constantly spending money on fast food or restaurants along the journey.

Before booking your lodging, consider choosing a hotel that offers a kitchen or kitchenette. This option will allow you to buy some groceries at the local market and cook the majority of your meals. Many do not realize that eating out is one of the most expensive costs while on vacation.

Utilize websites.
Be sure to book your hotel and flight well in advance to get the best pricing. By utilizing travel websites for booking, you can compare prices to help find the lowest rates and best value.
You may also want to consider booking your attractions or excursions ahead of time as well. Frequently you’ll find better deals and possibly discounted pricing.

We’re Here to Help!
Planning your perfect vacation should be fun and exciting, not overly stressful. With a bit of preparation, you can make saving for your getaway a breeze. Opening a special savings account and setting up automatic transfers are great first steps.

Please stop by the Credit Union or call 410-687-5240 to learn about the many financial tools available to you. As your credit union, our goal is to help you enjoy greater financial success ― and a nice vacation too!


Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.