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plan your summer vacation on a budget

As the weather continues getting warmer and the days grow longer, many people are beginning to plan their summer vacations. Consider these tips for ways to get the most vacation for your buck.

As you plan...

• Budget, budget, budget. No matter your plans, begin your vacation with a realistic budget. Be as detailed as possible and include items such as gas, lodging, food, tips, souvenirs and admission fees. Add a little bit of extra cash into your budget to cover unexpected costs.

• Prioritize. Before booking your vacation, set your priorities. What is most important to you on the trip: Length of time away? Type of transportation? Amenities? Prioritizing will help you plan your budget and know where to cut back when necessary. Consider staying in hostels or bringing along your own snacks instead of buying food while you are out and about. 

• Plan ahead. Odds are you will get better rates if you plan ahead. Airline tickets are often expensive when buying them at the last minute. Planning ahead also allows time to research various hotel offers or package deals.

• Carefully organize. Keep detailed records to avoid problems down the road. Designate a folder to keep every confirmation number and notes of when you called places and with whom you spoke. Documentation is the key to ensuring that you get what you planned.

• Shop around. Use travel websites to compare rates and get the best value for your dollars. Travel sites generally offer package deals that include airfare, lodging and car rental services. Searching the Internet for message boards and hotel reviews can also be beneficial. Other travelers may provide useful information, and you can learn from the mistakes other people have made.

While you travel...

• Consider alternate means of transportation. Often traveling like the locals is the best way to save money on transportation. Learn subway, trolley or cable car routes and save yourself cab fares. Ask local residents what they suggest for transportation.

• Use plastic over paper. Use your credit or debit card to make purchases to avoid ATM usage fees and carrying around large amounts of cash. If you use credit, be sure to pay it off at the end of the trip. Using credit or debit also allows you to track spending online or on your statement for an accurate account of how you spent your money.

• Look for deals. Hotels may give discounts to persons with disabilities, senior travelers, government employees and those with certain affiliations like AAA. Ask about special amenities such as complimentary breakfast, dinner or concierge services.


These tips are provided by the Iowa Bankers Association (IBA), representing banks and thrifts in the state. The IBA serves it members by providing legislative advocacy, training, regulatory compliance and other services designed to enhance the ability of banks to serve their communities.  Learn more at



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