CPA Dave Young discussed the best ways to stretch your summer vacation budget Monday during News 8 at Sunrise.
“Start off with what you have to spend, whatever you’re going to budget,” said Young. “Let’s just say you’re going to have a couple of thousand or two or three thousand dollars. Once you have an idea of what’s in the pool of money to spend that can kind of give you an idea of where we’re going to go here. So once you have that, think about the discounts. So wherever you go a lot of times you might get an AARP discount or a AAA discount. Some places even give you a discount for being a veteran. Take all of those things into consideration so when you do your budget, when you call ahead, make sure you bring those things into consideration.”
Young said book airfare of train fare well ahead to get the best price. Think about your hotel or lodging and meals together. “What I would tell you to look for is a hotel with a kitchenette, because one of your biggest costs is the hotel and then the food. If you have got three teenagers like me the cost of food goes up substantially! So if you can throw a kitchenette in there, go grocery shopping to get at least some of the meals covered. The hotel cost is pretty high. If you can get that down to what’s more in your budget, get a discount in there, get a kitchenette in that same hotel room so you can cut down on the cost of meals you will get more money to spend on what you want to do.”
Look for venues or parks with free or discounted admission advised Young.
If you’re going abroad, look for a country with a favorable exchange rate. “If the dollar is high you will have more money to spend,” noted Young. “Make sure you have a passport that doesn’t expire. You won’t be able to book if it’s going to expire with six months. If you are traveling with your passport, keep a copy of it. Take a picture of it on your smartphone, just in case you lose the passport. It’s going to be a big problem. Make sure you tell your cellphone carrier you’re traveling and you take that into consideration or you’ll get a lot of roaming charges. And make sure you tell your credit card people you’re traveling or else when you whip out your credit card when you’re over in Europe it might not work.”
Above all, Young emphasized make sure you set a budget and stick to it!
For more “Smart Money” advice from the New York State Society of CPAs, visit nysscpa.org/getmoneysmart.