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Start Early To Save For Vacation

INDIANAPOLIS, May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- American families take an average of 4.5 trips every year. This year, it might be harder to do that, since the most recent Travel Price Index rose 3.6 percent year over year. This is primarily a result of rising gas prices, but lodging is getting more expensive, as well.

"Summer road trips and holiday flights home to see family are part of the fabric of this country," said Ken Hall, Senior Vice President, M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group. "With a little advance planning and budgeting, families might not have to forgo their vacation traditions even though travel is more expensive."

Hall offers a few ways to make saving for vacation a little easier and more organized.
  • Have a plan in mind. If you know where you're vacationing, when you want to go, and what types of activities you'll participate in, then you'll have a better idea of the trip's cost, and you'll be able to budget more effectively.
  • Be realistic about the funds you'll need. When you arrive at the destination, will you be eating out at nice restaurants? Seeing shows or attending sporting events? And don't forget to account for the souvenirs you'll want to pick up. Once you have a set budget, stick to it and avoid overspending while vacationing.
  • Set a monthly savings goal. Based on your trip budget and the amount of time before the vacation, determine how much you'll need to save every month to build up your trip fund. If you're travelling abroad or going somewhere with high food and lodging costs, this figure might be pretty high. If it's so high that saving is unrealistic, consider rescheduling the trip for a later date.
  • Use your planning as a teaching opportunity and talk to your kids about saving, budgeting and spending. If your kids are old enough, engage them in the process and set a goal for them to save a small amount to contribute to the experience.
  • Start saving. It's never too early to start saving for travel – especially if you make frequent trips or travel far. Some people prefer a big jar on the kitchen counter, while others will open a new savings account, or utilize short-term investment channels. Either way, pick a method that works for you. And don't be embarrassed to ask for help – family or friends might have creative ideas to help, and financial and banking professionals can advise you on how to meet your goals.

"Vacations and spending time with family and friends create life-long memories. Planning, control and consistency are key, whether the goal is a vacation or a new car," added Hall.

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