Traditional vacation prep used to entail choosing a budget destination, buying some traveler’s checks and heading to the airport just in time for your flight. For many, that list of things to do has changed drastically.
“Wellness travel” has become a big draw for vacationers who are willing to spend around 140 percent more than the average wanderer in pursuit of wellness opportunities. Wellness venues include treatment amenities ranging from spas, meditation, yoga, Pilates and kickboxing classes to personal nutrition and detox programs.1
If wellness is what you’re looking for, then prepare for some extra expense. One of the pitfalls of vacations is that we tend to overspend because, well, we’re on vacation. Before you even start shopping for airline tickets or hotel rates, it’s a good idea to establish a reasonable budget that you can afford to spend.
Another thing you may want to consider is buying travel insurance, which about 30 percent of travelers now purchase. Policies range from minor to comprehensive “cancel for any reason” coverage. Remember that travel insurance is best purchased for large-ticket risks, so you don’t necessarily need to buy it for “nickel-and-dime” expenses. Keep in mind, the older you are, the more likely you may need medical care while on vacation.2
Looking for the best credit card to use for traveling? If you’re going abroad, use one that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Many levy anywhere from 1 to 3 percent extra on every purchase — and that’s on top of any increases caused by currency conversion.3 Also, consider getting a credit card with the EU chip.
It may also be a good idea to procure the local currency for your travel destination before you leave the U.S. You can order it through your bank and will likely get a better exchange rate than if you use other vendors once you’re abroad. Be aware, too, that the number of merchants that accept traveler’s checks is dwindling.4
Another travel tip is to follow airline recommendations and arrive at the airport hours in advance to make it through security. This is especially important when the airport is busy. When it’s not, you’ve just got a lot of time on your hands and some uncomfortable seating. If you need some peace and quiet, find the airport chapel, or an airport museum or art gallery. Another way to break away from the crowds is to pay for a one-day pass into an exclusive airport VIP club.5
When it comes to planning for a restful vacation, remember not to overbook activities so you get worn out, and that taking advantage of travel insurance, concierge recommendations at your destination and other available resources may help take some of the stress out of traveling.
Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.
1 Why Travel. Nov. 23, 2016. “10 Hotels Leading the Wellness Travel Space in 2017.” http://whytravel.us/news/10-hotels-leading-the-wellness-travel-space-in-2017.html. Accessed Dec 2, 2016.
2 Jeff Blyskal. Consumer Reports. Nov. 19, 2016. “Should You Buy Travel Insurance for the Holidays?” http://www.consumerreports.org/travel-insurance/should-you-buy-travel-insurance/. Accessed Dec 2, 2016.
3 The Flight Deal. Nov. 21, 2016. “How to Save Money Abroad with No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards.” http://www.theflightdeal.com/2016/11/21/how-to-save-money-with-no-foreign-transaction-fee-credit-cards/. Accessed Dec 2, 2016.
4 Melissa Lambarena. Nerd Wallet. Mar. 9, 2016. “Where to Exchange Currency Without Paying Huge Fees.” https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/exchange-currency-paying-huge-fees/. Accessed Dec 2, 2016.
5 Rudy Maxa. Travel Channel. Dec. 1, 2016. “Layover Survival Guide.” http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/travel-tips/articles/layover-survival-guide. Accessed Dec 2, 2016.
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