After the pandemic, it’s time to review your travel budget

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Matthew Charles visits elephants in Luang Prabang, Laos on his many trips abroad.

Courtesy picture

Hard to believe that over a year ago we were sitting at home, eagerly awaiting a sign that the COVID-19 pandemic would be under control and life could return to normal. Even now, no one knows how long this pandemic will pose significant health risks.

Now that vaccines have become more available, we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, and many are eager to resume pre-pandemic activities. The top activity on most people’s list is travel.

I’m one of those people and I can’t wait to start traveling again this summer. Travel has always been a big part of my budget. Throughout my travel experience, I’ve learned valuable tips that have helped me save money.

In addition to saving money when traveling, be sure to check the CDC’s latest travel guidelines. If you are traveling internationally, as of this writing, the CDC states, “All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, must have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation recovering from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States.

For travel to the United States, the CDC recommends that you only travel if you are fully vaccinated. And of course, wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Once you’ve researched how to travel safely before you go, consider these financial tips before booking your next vacation.

Flight days and shopping airlines: I tried to always minimize my costs for flights. Why spend more money than necessary? Generally, I have found that Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive days to fly. Flying on a Thursday and coming home on Monday is an easy way to save money.

However, if your work schedule does not allow it, morning or night flights are usually cheaper than mid-day.

If you are not loyal to one airline, buy flights for all airlines. Search engines make it easy to compare the prices of flights from various airlines. Just because you booked an airline to get to your destination doesn’t mean you have to use the same airline for your return flight.

Sometimes you can find cheaper deals if you fly with different airlines to and from your destination. Beware of hidden fees. Flying may seem cheaper at first, but after adding hidden fees for baggage and seats, it may not be the cheapest option anymore.

Place of accommodation: Choosing a place to stay has become an overwhelming process. You have so many choices, between the traditional hotel, B&B, Airbnb, etc. No matter what type of place you’re staying in, it’s important to consider location in relation to the things you plan to do in that city.

The common misconception is that it’s best to book the cheapest option available, regardless that it will cost extra money for a rental car, Uber, public transport, etc. . to move.

In some cases, you could save money by staying in a central location because you don’t have additional transport costs. This can give you more convenience and more time to cross things off your to-do list.

Credit card points: Credit cards are not for everyone. However, if you’re comfortable with a credit card, some offer rewards like cash back, vacation deals, and airline miles. These rewards can help you save on travel expenses.

From my own personal experience, I use credit cards that give me airline miles to help cover travel costs to and from my destination. Nerdwallet.com is a great resource for finding the right credit card for you.

Set a budget: Before booking your next vacation, I recommend setting a budget that you can afford and are comfortable spending.

A lot of people like to splurge on their vacation, which is understandable. Having a budget in advance helps eliminate those unexpected costs and gives you an idea of ​​what you’ll be spending.

Travel insurance: Travel insurance has become even more popular since COVID-19. Most of the time, when booking a flight or a place to stay, you will be asked to purchase travel insurance.

This is an additional cost that can provide some financial security if something happens before you go on vacation. However, it is important to read what the policy will cover, as it may not cover everything you think it does. Once you understand what the travel insurance policy covers, it should help you make a good financial decision.

Whichever destination you choose, these five simple tips can help you maximize your travel budget and get the most out of your hard-earned money.

Have a good trip.

Matthew Charles is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional and active member of the Financial Planning Association of Greater Kansas City. He is a Wealth Advisor for Mariner Wealth Advisors in Overland Park.