Whether your clients plan to travel for relaxation or adventure, taking vacations can be a welcome escape from a busy life. But travel, just like many events in life, can be costly and should be planned for accordingly. Below, we’ll discuss the ways you can help your clients financially plan for travel, like how to save for and book a cost-effective trip.
TIPS TO SAVE FOR TRAVEL
Set a specific goal: A great first step to saving money for travel is to set a financial goal. How much will your client’s potential trip cost? Be sure to help them include things like transportation, food, lodging, and excursions in their estimate. From there, they can determine how much they’d like to save overall, and then break it down into smaller, achievable milestones. For example, if they need to save $8,000 for a trip, set a goal of saving $800 a month for 10 months.
Create a budget: Once they have a specific goal in mind, create a budget. Saving for travel can look like allocating a certain weekly or monthly amount to a savings account or saving extra amounts of cash from a tax refund, bonus, or side hustle. Some clients find it easier to open a new savings account specifically for travel; although this isn’t necessary, it could be helpful if they want to keep their travel savings separate from other finances.
Track expenses: It’s easy to overspend without realizing it, so tracking their expenses to ensure they stay within their budget can be a helpful strategy when saving for a trip. They can use a spreadsheet or an app to track their expenses, or simply write them down in a notebook. By keeping track of their spending, clients will be able to identify areas where they can cut back, if necessary.
Save automatically: For many clients, setting up a direct deposit from their paycheck into a designated savings account can make it easier to save, since it’s automatic. They could also set up automatic transfers for a specific amount from their checking account to their savings account each month. By automating their savings, clients will be less likely to spend the money before they have a chance to save it and build their travel fund more quickly.
Reduce debt: Debt can be a major obstacle to saving for travel. High-interest debt, such as credit card debt, can quickly eat away at clients’ savings. Making a plan to help them manage their debt can be a good idea to help build financial security, and then they’re able to allocate extra savings towards travel.
Cut back on unnecessary expenses: It can be helpful to cut back on unnecessary expenses to save more per month toward a travel fund. This will vary based on your client’s current spending habits, but eating out less, renegotiating cable, streaming, or phone bills, and buying less leisure or hobby items are just a few examples of potential savings opportunities for non-essential purchases.
WAYS TO SAVE EVEN MORE FOR TRAVEL
Flights: Airfare can easily become one of the bigger expenses when traveling. Being flexible with dates or traveling during an off-season can keep costs low, as well as comparing prices at different airports when available. Additionally, there are airfare deal sites that monitor ticket prices so that you can purchase tickets at the best time, and credit cards offer miles or other perks to use when buying plane tickets.
Lodging: Membership programs can offer deals on hotels and other accommodations; membership-based companies can offer travel discounts, and some credit cards have booking discounts or cash-back offers. Comparing prices of hotels, hostels, and short-term or vacation rental properties can also offer cost-savings. Different locations will vary, so research on specific travel destinations will be important when booking a place to stay.
Transportation: Depending on where your clients want to travel, they might be able to rely on public transit. Discounted daily or weekly passes may be available for purchase for the duration of their stay, rather than paying a singular (and typically more expensive) price every time they move from point A to point B. Rental cars may also be an option, depending on the city they’re in, and discounts may also be available through the membership programs mentioned above. In addition, many cities offer passes for electric scooters or bikes, if that’s their preferred method of travel.
Travel Insurance: Is travel insurance worth it? For most, it depends. For international travel, insurance can come in handy when dealing with unforeseen medical emergencies abroad. Generally, travel insurance can help with delayed or cancelled flights, but sometimes airline policies can deem the price of travel insurance unnecessary. The need for travel insurance will depend on where your clients are traveling, what airline they’ll be flying with, and how much peace of mind they’re willing to pay for.
Attractions, excursions, and daily expenses: What your clients do, eat, and see on vacation will also need to be accounted for financially. While some may just choose to relax on the beach, playing tourist in a new city could rack up more cost—but tours, museums, concerts, and other events can typically be planned for in advance and discounts may be available. Food is another important expense to consider while traveling—will your clients be cooking at all or only eating out? Are they staying somewhere all-inclusive? What kinds of restaurants will they visit? Costs will vary based on your food plan, but clients can typically budget for food in advance as well.
Travel planners: Just like financial professionals, travel planners can help navigate the challenges of planning a trip—by outsourcing the details your clients may save time and overall save money, even though there will typically be a fee associated for this service. Travel planners can help coordinate transportation, accommodations, activities, and excursions in addition to providing general information about different travel destinations based on your client’s wants and needs.
Saving money for travel—just like saving for other big events—requires discipline and planning, especially if your clients are interested in finding cost-saving deals. By setting goals, creating a budget, tracking expenses, and automating savings, your clients will be well on your way to making their dream trip a reality. Additionally, travel can be tailored to their level of financial comfort based on your chosen lodging, transportation, and activities. Sharing these tips with clients can be a great way to discuss travel, and how it fits in to their overall financial plan.
Blog post written and provided by Nationwide Financial