7 Tips For Planning a Long Trip

A long trip can be a great way to spend quality time with your family. While you teach them about other places and people in the world.

Besides making sure your finances can handle a trip like this, and preparing in advance by saving and paying down credit cards you may need to use…

Here are 7 Tips for making your trip fun and educational, while watching your dollars along the way:

1) Check your passport.

If you’ll be traveling International, be sure your passport is up to date. Some destinations require that your passport be valid for 6 months after the date you arrive.

2) Avoid national holidays.

There’s nothing worse than arriving at a cool destination, only to find out that everything is closed for 2 or 3 days due to a national holiday. Do your homework before you leave.

3) Check for schedule changes.

If you bought your airline tickets 6 months before you travel, do yourself a favor and check your reservation schedule at least a month before you depart. Sure airlines may send you change notices, but it’s easy to misplace those and show up to the airport late and miss your flight. If this happens, it’s likely you’ll have to come up with a good chunk of cash to reschedule your flights.

4) Educate yourself before you leave.

Locals are more apt to help you get around and find things, if they sense you already know a lot about their area. It also helps if you already know the top restaurants in the area you’re staying, as well as the top attractions to see. And of course, you’ll want to know how you can enjoy your trip, while saving as much cash as you can along the way.

5) Hotel Under Construction?

I’ve seen it many times. You book an awesome vacation at a beautiful hotel or resort. As you arrive and get settled in your room, you open the curtains, go out on the veranda, only to find a 100 foot crane and dozens of workers building a new addition, right across from your room. Check on these things ahead of time. Otherwise if you want to move to a different hotel, you may have to reach deep in your pocket to get a last-minute reservation.

6) Know Your Budget and Prepare.

Way before you leave on your dream trip, you must do the math to see how much it’s going to cost you. Just leaving with a credit card in hand is a very bad idea. As soon as you know you’re going on a nice trip, you need to start funding your “trip account” the same day. Then as the days count down until you depart, continue building your trip account until you know you have enough for all the things you want to do. This includes airfare, hotels, food, entertainment, tour guides and any unexpected expenses. A good financial plan will leave money in your pocket when you return home.

7) Avoid Spur-of-the-Moment Trips

Sure, it can be exciting to just pick up your things, and at a moment’s notice fly off to some far off destination. Yet just like with life, business and just about anything else… failing to plan is planning to fail. This is especially true when you’re planning a long trip that may last for months. And cost you much more because you didn’t plan properly.

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