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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Planning the Perfect Getaway

Summertime – the perfect time to plan a trip and enjoy a vacation! Before you take your trip, take time to plan it. Plans can help you manage your money happily and increase the chance that everyone has a good time. Before you go, ask yourself some questions:

  • Who is in your traveling party?
  • What is the goal of your vacation?
  • When and where do you want to go?
  • What is your budget?
  • If traveling with family, have you asked them for input?

My summer family vacation started out as a vague idea that I 1) wanted to get out town, and 2) wanted to do something fun with my son and husband, and 3) I didn't want to take an expensive vacation. In the process of planning, my son mentioned that it would be lots more fun if another kid went along. Good idea – and now my nephew is joining us too.

To keep our trip costs down, we decided to drive no further than six hours. Looking at a map we realized that Ozark National Scenic Riverways was within driving range, and met our goals of out-of-town and fun. By thinking ahead, we have a fun, low-cost family vacation planned.

Establishing a spending plan – before you leave – also has a positive impact. When you plan for your getaway, list all the costs you expect to have. Some expense categories might include:

  • Travel tickets
  • Parking
  • Admissions
  • Tolls
  • Gasoline
  • Food and snacks
  • Lodging
  • Clothing
  • Film
  • Souvenirs

Once you have your categories listed, decide how much you're comfortable spending. Talk to your traveling partners about these expected expenditures to avoid conflicts during the trip. I like to give my children money for souvenirs and extras at the beginning of the trip. This is a great way for children to have practice managing their money – and avoids a lot of begging for treats along the way!

Traveling in one of the things I enjoy spending money on, and with a little planning I can get lots of pleasure from my dollars. Good luck planning your next trip too.

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