Dream vacations come in all shapes and sizes and are unique to every traveler. For some, a dream vacation may be visiting every ballpark across the country. For others, it could be exploring the national parks in their state or island hopping on a cruise in the Caribbean.
According to a recent Bank of America survey, 72 percent of Americans say they haven’t taken their dream vacation because they think it is too expensive. The good news is that dream vacations aren’t always out of reach — savvy planning and the right rewards credit card can help make that dream vacation a reality.
Travel expert and Food Network host Ted Allen has partnered with Bank of America to provide tips on how to be smart about your finances when planning your dream vacation.
Plan Ahead & Save
For 63 percent of Americans, paying for a dream vacation comes out of their own pockets, but experiencing the time of your life doesn’t have to put a dent in your wallet.
Ted’s secret to creating an affordable and enjoyable getaway is to plan ahead. By monitoring airfare and hotel rates a few months out, you can often save hundreds of dollars by avoiding last minute price surges. The same goes for traveling off season: by going on a trip during off-peak times, you can stretch your budget further and avoid the crowds.
Additionally, Ted recommends using a credit card that rewards you for purchases you make throughout the year.
“I love using my BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card because I earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases every time, everywhere, and since my points don’t expire, I can save up my points to help offset my future travel expenses.
“And it’s great when I travel overseas because there are no foreign transaction fees!” noted Ted.
Dial into Deals
Travellers are always looking to stretch their dollar even further when it comes to planning vacations. Whether searching online or receiving tips from a travel agent, 59 percent of Americans hunt for package deals or all-inclusive options when planning their dream vacation.
To maintain your travel budget, Ted also stresses the importance of establishing a personal connection with travel representatives.
“Confirming travel details over the phone and discussing logistics with the airline directly establish relationships that helps open doors for hidden upgrades and deals, putting you steps closer to keeping your dream vacation on budget.”
“With a simple phone call you may be able to find out if you can upgrade your seat or check your bag for free,” added Ted.
The same rule applies once you arrive at your hotel. Befriend the staff as local employees have the best access to hidden gems and a pulse on local culture. So the next time you travel away from home, ask the hotel staff where they enjoy eating and what sites they recommend visiting — you may walk away with an unforgettable experience that’s easy on the wallet.
Be a Savvy Splurger
A dream vacation can lead many travellers to spend extra on everything from activities to rentals. In fact, 46 percent of Americans report that while vacationing they get caught up in the experience and are more likely to splurge. Specifically, almost a quarter of Americans said they are most likely to spend more on food and beverages while on vacation.
“I always encourage every traveler to venture out and try as many flavours as possible to truly get a taste of the local culture,” shared Ted.