Spend Less & Relax More This Summer

Kristina Kraus
Greater Nevada Credit Union
Summer is fast approaching and soon it will be vacation time for many. To make the season more relaxing—and more affordable—follow these suggestions.

Plan Ahead

Spontaneous trips can be fun; however they aren’t always the most cost efficient. By planning a trip beforehand it’s easier to avoid overspending on things like inflated day-of tickets for tours or shows, expensive last-minute hotel rooms, or premium gas prices in towns that are off the beaten path.
Another way to plan ahead for vacation is to set up a designated account and save automatically by having part of your direct deposit go into that account each payday.  Let’s say you get paid every two weeks and save $100 each pay period. In one year you’ll have $2,600 plus any interest earned to pay for that vacation. Or if you have a bit more time and money, park it in a share certificate (or certificate of deposit) for a while to earn even more.

If you need to borrow extra, look into lower cost alternatives such as a personal loan. You can borrow a set amount and know how long and how much it will take to pay it back, instead of racking up debt on a higher rate credit card.

Look for Discounts

Depending on the type of vacation you’re planning, there may have discounts already waiting for you. For instance, Greater Nevada Credit Union members have access to special offers on theme parks, vacation packages and rental cars. Some other tips from Forbes for travel deals include:
  1. Use your smartphone or tablet for last-second deals while you’re in a hotel.
  2. Look at alternative lodging, like hostels, or rentals offered by owner.
  3. Sign up for money-saving flight alert emails from sites like AirfareWatchdog.
  4. Before visiting a city, do an online search for free activities during your stay.  

Keep it Local

If you already live in a popular vacation destination like Nevada, why not stay local. For example, you can visit popular parks and campgrounds, historical sites, go out on the town, or even pamper yourself at nearby spas.
There are often also online calendars you can check for events, festivals, fairs and more that you may not have had time to enjoy before. You can often search by state or by community to narrow down your preferred location.

Wait for the “Off-Season”

Depending on what activities you want to experience, traveling during non peak times is often cheaper and less crowded. For instance, according to US News, the best times to visit Las Vegas are from March to May and from September to November, although pleasant weather and travel deals are usually available year round. Lake Tahoe shares the same off season, and though activities such as skiing or swimming may not be ideal then, you’ll still find plenty of activities to keep you relaxed and entertained.