Drew Furnari | Financial Coach | The Financial Clinic
Summer is vacation season, and while going on a trip may not be a top priority for customers, it can actually be an amazing financial goal. Positive habits, like saving and budgeting, are often built into the trip planning and booking process; and because traveling is nowhere near as expensive as it once was, the goal of going on a trip can be achieved sooner than say the longer-term goal of buying a house. Setting shorter-term goals help bolster customers confidence, and the reward of a vacation encourages them to keep their new positive financial habits.
Once your customer feels they are ready to book their trip, figuring out travel arrangements, accommodations, and activities that fit into their budgets, can seem like a daunting and expensive task. Luckily, traveling and booking travel is not what it used to be. With the help of technology, it is possible to book trips online without the help of a travel agent, and there are more cost-effective options than ever.
Here are some tips to help keep the cost of a dream vacation down.
Travelers tend to assume distance is what determines how expensive a flight is. While distance is a factor, it also depends on how busy the route is. For instance, there are many flights from JFK (New York City) to LAX (Los Angeles), and many airlines to choose from, making it easier to find a relatively inexpensive flight. Meanwhile, Nantucket is much closer to New York City, but it’s a less busy route and can be expensive. Websites like SkyScanner or Kayak help you see different flights from different airlines and airports all on one page. This allows travelers to compare prices and experiment with different flight connections, airlines, dates, and times.
Apartment shares such as Airbnb or VRBO, allow people to rent rooms or whole apartments. While the room or apartment may not have the same perks as a hotel, the accommodations are often more affordable. It goes without saying there can be a downside to this type of lodging. Be mindful of the unit you are renting and look at the reviews.
Many museums and attractions have designated evenings where admission is free. Planning a visit during those dates and times gives travelers the opportunity to see important cultural touchstones and to get a bit of free entertainment during their trip. Local tourism websites and centers are a great way of finding out about free activities happening in the area.
Summer is peak travel time because it is when the kids are out of school and many families are taking their vacations. If a customer doesn’t have kids or is not planning on taking their children on a trip, traveling during the Fall or Spring can offer many more cost-effective options depending on the location.
Setting a financial goal is an important step in the coaching process. Travel is a goal that you may hear from your customers, and we urge you to encourage them to start working towards their dream trip as a way of building positive, long-term financial habits. Additionally, there are several mental health benefits to traveling. Studies show that a change of scenery can be a huge stress reliever. Share some of these tips with your customers to help them get the most out of their trips.