After such a rough year, we all feel like we deserve to splurge. We get it — we’ve all got cabin fever, and we can’t wait to get out of the house for some much needed relaxation in an exotic location of our choosing. Enter: The COVID Vacation.
According to a recent survey from LendingTree, 82 percent of people who are planning on getting vaccinated say they will spend money on something extra to treat themselves. What’s more, 72 percent of those surveyed noted that they have spent money during the pandemic in order to feel “safer.”
“I think there is an incredible amount of pent up demand for travel,” says Lending Tree’s Chief Credit Analyst Matt Schulz. “I think that for a lot of people once they are vaccinated they are gonna be ready to get on a plane.”
But we can’t let our eagerness to escape ruin our budget for the next 12 months — or longer. Keep in mind these give tips to avoid going overboard on your post-COVID vacation.
Revisit your budget
The pandemic may have thrown off your budget for the year, but if you’re planning to splurge on travel, it’s important to keep your saving priorities in mind.
“The first thing that people need to do, is they need to revisit their budget if they haven’t in a while,” says Schulz. “2020 changed so many things about our lives, and that can really impact your budget and if you don’t know exactly how much is coming in and going out of your household on a monthly basis it’s really hard to make any sort of meaningful financial plan of any kind.”
Schulz recommends creating a “splurge fund,” with money for shopping and leisure, and that COVID vacation that is accounted for within your budget.
“People might encounter the same mindset that they had over holiday where, for instance, parents were going overboard in shopping for gifts for their kids because they were trying to ensure that their kids had a great holiday despite the fact that the holiday was so much different,” says Smart Shopping Expert at truetrae.com Trae Bodge.
Reduce your debt before taking a COVID vacation
Before you gear up for your COVID vacation, it’s also important to bear in mind what you owe. It’s always a good idea to clear up as much debt as possible before spending on a trip.
“It’s a good idea to try and reduce your interest payments, whether that’s through something like a zero percent balance transfer credit card or a personal loan,” says Schulz. “It can also work to where you could pick up the phone and call your credit card issuer and potentially ask for a lower interest rate on that credit card.”
Taking these small steps will allow you to spend responsibly on your next vacation.
Consider travel insurance
After a year like 2020, we all know that it’s important to prepare for the worst. Travel insurance could be a smart way to reduce risk on your next vacation in case something goes wrong.
“One thing that people may want to consider, just because things are so fluid and it’s been such a crazy time is travel insurance,” says Schulz. “Quite a few credit cards come with some flavor of travel insurance that can help if something goes wrong or if you get sick on your trip.”
In addition to checking what travel insurance options your credit card has, Schulz also recommends checking out various travel insurance companies when preparing for a COVID vacation since they might come with more coverage.
Explore discount travel websites
Just because you’re ready to splurge on an exotic vacation doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get the best deal possible. Websites that aggregate the best possible travel teals on flights, hotels, rental cars and more, can be great resources for packages and deals that you wouldn’t have booking through a hotel directly. In addition to sites like Expedia and Travelocity, there’s also BookingBuddy, Kayak, Dan’s Deals, and Scott’s Cheap Flights, before you book your next journey.
“I always recommend that people look at travel sites,” says Bodge. “I think it’s also helpful if you are planning to travel, say, in a few months, once you’ve been vaccinated to sign up for the emails on a few of these sites so you’re kind of in the loop on their special deals that they might be offering specifically to their mailing lists.”
Don’t take the first deal you find for a COVID vacation
Even if you do see a great deal on a travel website like Kayak, Bodge urges those shopping for a vacation to not take the first deal you find.
“Look for deals, shop around. If you find something that looks amazing like a package to a place you’ve always wanted to go, don’t take that price at face value. I would definitely look at ther travel sites to see if there are comparable deals and then take the best one,” says Bodge.
While daydreaming about your potential COVID vacation is a great tool to get you through the next couple of months, be sure to spend wisely when the time comes.
- Rethink Your Vacation: Come Back Refreshed And Recharged
- 5 Tips Before Booking Your Next Vacation Stay
- 5 Budget Vacation Ideas For Planning Your Next Trip
- 9 Ways To Use Your Credit Card To Pay Less For Your Vacation
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