About 40 percent of all American families take a yearly vacation. If you’re lucky enough to be among this group, you already know how great of an experience traveling can be. However, if you are ready to take your first trip without the support of your parental units, you might not realize how much planning it takes to make each trip safe, affordable, and fun. Keep reading for tips to help you get ready for your first parent-free excursion, whether you plan to stay close to home or dive right into a full-blown international adventure.
Make Your Money Matter
No matter your destination, one thing is certain: Money plays a significant role in where you go, where you stay, and how you get there. Before you even begin planning, decide how much cash you can afford to part with in the name of new experiences. Budget Your Trip notes that you can expect to spend at least $82 per day if you travel on the cheap and stay in the United States. For your first trip, however, it might be best to steer clear of hostels and bottom-dollar accommodations. While you may wind up spending a bit more, finding a hotel that serves a free breakfast and has on-site security may wind up saving you money in the long term.
Another budget consideration to keep at the forefront of your mind is the cost to travel to where you’re going. Chances are, you’ll want to drive. However, before you start filling your trunk and tank, take some time to ensure that your vehicle is road-worthy. If it’s not, now might be the ideal time to upgrade your ride. Even if you don’t have perfect credit, most dealerships will be willing to finance a new automobile. Unfortunately, their rates are often exponentially higher than you can get elsewhere. Visit myAutoloan.com first to compare rates. You’ll also want to check that your insurance is up-to-date and that you are paying the best price.
Destinations on a Dime
When you’re traveling, especially on an entry-level salary, you want to save money where you can. Fortunately, the internet makes that easy. Sites like Groupon can help you save money on everything from activities and events to lodging and car rentals. Before you input your credit card information, look around to see if you can save even more through a service like Rakuten, which offers Groupon coupons and cash back on purchases. While a few dollars might not seem like a lot now, every penny you can save and get back is money in the bank for later.
Scams Cost More Than Cash
It does not matter if you plan to head to Europe for a summer vacation or just spend a weekend at your nearest downtown hotel, thieves are highly astute at spotting a tourist a mile away. If you wind up having your passport pick-pocketed, you will not only have to contact a US Embassy or Consulate, you’ll also have to pay for a replacement and foot the bill for an extended trip. Further, if you do not stay diligent and wind up becoming a victim while vacationing, it might sour your attitude toward travel in the future, and that would be a shame.
No matter where you go, safety is a top priority. Here are a few tips to keep you safe:
- Travel with a group. Criminals are less likely to target groups of people.
- Know the crime rate of the area you plan to visit. You can use the LexisNexis Community Crime Map for destinations throughout the US.
- Spend money on a guided tour. Often, this will include discounts to planned attractions and, like traveling with friends, there is safety in numbers.
- Get a hotel room as far away from the street as possible if you are on the ground floor.
Traveling by yourself is an experience that everyone should have. However, you have to watch your money and keep yourself safe. The above advice can get you started but, ultimately, it’s up to you to mind your dollars and use common sense.