Smart Savings Tips For Planning A Summer Vacation

The school year is coming to a close and the sun is making its way out from behind the winter clouds, which can only mean one thing … summer is almost here! For 85 percent of Ohioans, that means gearing up for a summer vacation, according to a consumer survey conducted by the Ohio Credit Union League.

The survey revealed 18 percent of respondents have been saving for their summer vacation for 1-3 months, 26 percent for 3-6 months, and 47 percent from 6 months to a year. Only 4 percent of respondents said they started planning for their vacation more than a year in advance.

The survey also uncovered several factors individuals consider before booking a flight or gassing up the family vehicle. Seventy-five percent of respondents said cost influences where they go on vacation, 50 percent said their schedules play a role in the decision, 38 percent said travel distance, and 51 percent said the destination and amenities most influence their travel choices.

The average amount Americans spend on travel has gradually crept upward over the past few years, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2005, taking a trip within the U.S. cost an average of $440. By 2013, that amount was $583. Average spending on international trips went from $1,991 in 2005 to $3,273 in 2013. Overall, according to the U.S. Travel Association, people in the U.S. spent an estimated $805.7 billion on travel in 2015, up from $662.1 billion in 2008.

Here are some tips and resources to help you keep your summer vacation affordable.
  • Book reservations separately - Try booking your hotel and airline tickets at different times, online sites sometimes have rates based on the time and day of the week you book. Try different combinations to see if you can get a better deal.
  • Travel off season - Consider traveling off-season. For example, a skiing trip in spring instead of winter, or a trip to the beach in autumn. Airline tickets and hotel accommodations are usually less expensive and it's less crowded.
  • Sign up for rewards - Even if you aren't a frequent traveler, sign up for reward points. It's no cost to you and the points will eventually add up and give you savings.
  • Talk to the locals - Locals often have insight into restaurants just outside of town that serve great food at a low cost or entertainment venues off the beaten path that won't break your budget.
  • Be financially prepared - Instead of charging vacation expenses to a credit card, consider opening a credit union savings account specifically for vacationing. Another option is to take out a credit union vacation loan, which will cost less in the long run than charging to a high-interest credit card.

To learn more about credit unions in your community and what financial assistance they offer, visit and find a credit union in your area.

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