Summer travel season is looming upon us, and in addition to getting your money into shape for the beach and travel season, there are also the expenses of traveling that have the potential to break your budget.
Between airline fees, bank charges for international travel, overpaying for hotels, and being stuck with other costs you do not even notice until you are home, you can really sap the fun from your travel. As someone who travels a lot to speak at conferences and for networking purposes, it really is important to keep an eye on just how much you are spending for these trips.
This is even more important if you an entrepreneur traveling to develop new business, on the road to speak at conferences, or just hoping to network a little bit while you travel for leisure. While there have been a lot of articles about travel hacking, many of which are good and chock full of information, the approach taken here is exclusively from a financial perspective.
As a CPA, I naturally keep my eyes on the bottom line -- there is no reason why traveling has to bust a hole in your budget. Traveling is a great experience, can give you memories that last a lifetime, but does not have to leave you in a financial hole.
Let's take a look at some finance friendly tips as you plan your travel for the summer:
1. Watch for deals
If you are already using your smartphone or tablet, why not use it keep track of opportunities to save you money? You can either download specific carrier apps and track changes in pricing through the app, sign up for email newsletters that notify you of travel deals, or check websites that post updated flight and price data as it becomes available.
2. Use the right credit cards
That summer trip abroad might come with some unexpected surprises. When you are traveling, especially internationally, you might come back unpleasantly surprised by the sheer dollar amount of fees and charges on your account. In addition to looking at fees and interest rates, if you know you are going to be traveling a lot, be sure to check their terms and conditions for international charges.
3. Make a travel budget
I know that it can be tough to think about a budget when you are on the road, even if your vacation or travel only takes you to other parts of the country, but make that plan before you leave. Planning out a budget for travel expenses will also force you to think about what you want to splurge on, and what you are not as interested in doing. Taking this approach will leave you with a more organized trip, and money to spend on the things with the most bang for your travel dollars
4. Don't hotel like a tourist
Something that I have noticed time and again when traveling for business, is that it seems like the entire business hotel, and business traveler crowd, clears out sometime between Thursday evening and Friday afternoon. Why not go against the travel stereotype, and book your stay at the business-style hotel for the weekend? The hotel is just as nice, will probably be less crowded than alternatives, and will most likely cost less since it is that hotel's "off-peak" time.
Travel season is nearly upon us for professionals traveling to speak at conferences, and for people looking to get a little rest and relaxation. If you have not already started planning out your travel destinations and plans, now is as good a time as any. Travel is fun, exciting, and will inevitably cost money to do, but that is no excuse to have your travel plans break the bank. A little planning and thinking ahead can save you big bucks this year.