Home > Travel > Most Consumers Overspend on Vacation: Here’s How to Stay on Track

Comments 0 Comments

While many consumers say they design their vacation plans in such a way to save money, 60% of consumers said they exceed their summer travel budgets every year, according to a nationally representative survey conducted on behalf of Citi ThankYou Premier card. Nearly a third (30%) said they avoid holiday weekends when scheduling their vacations because of the high costs associated with them — only 11% said Memorial Day is the best time to arrange summer travel.

For those who plan to take a vacation this summer, most (74%) say they’re going to do so by car. On average, gas prices are about $1 per gallon cheaper this year than last year, according to AAA’s data on national fuel costs, though the average gasoline price has increased in the days leading up to Memorial Day. Still, gas prices this weekend will be at the lowest they’ve been in five years, and AAA projected this Memorial Day weekend will see the highest travel volume for the holiday since 2005 — 88% of travelers (about 33 million people) will travel by car, the organization estimates.

If you’re out and about for the long weekend, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to save money, in addition to the low fuel costs. Many studies support the idea that vacation is good for workers’ well-being and mental health, but running into financial problems from a getaway might outweigh its positive impact. Here are some tips for having a rewarding trip, whether you’re out of town now or planning an escape later in the summer.

Make a Budget & Stick to It

With 60% of consumers saying they blow their vacation budgets, it’s clearly difficult to control spending when you’re out having fun. First of all, make a realistic budget for your excursion by planning ahead, researching costs at your destination and reminding yourself of the importance of spending within your means. If you let things get out of control, you may jeopardize other aspects of your finances, or you may end up going into debt, especially if you put your vacation expenses on a credit card — and if you’re carrying a high balance on your cards, it could have a negative impact on your credit score. (You can get your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see how your credit card balances are affecting them.) Whatever your budgeting method is — keeping receipts, writing out transactions on a piece of paper, using a spreadsheet or tracking purchases in an app — stick with it when you’re out of town.

Look for Opportunities to Save

If you have a credit card that rewards certain spending categories or travel purchases, consider using it for your planned vacation expenses — just make sure you’re not spending for the sake of earning points, because that’s an easy way to let things get out of control.

There are many services that help you find discounts and coupons for travel, and if you have a smartphone, you can use an app to help you find deals using geolocation. Researching offers in advance certainly helps, but technology can also make it easy to find money-saving solutions in the moment.

Keep an Eye on Your Accounts

Here’s another area where technology is your friend. Chances are your bank has a mobile app you can use to keep track of your transactions, so if you didn’t bring a computer on your trip or don’t have a secure Internet connection, you can stay on top of your spending on the go. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to secure your phone and financial apps with passcodes, so in the event you lose your phone, no one else can access your sensitive information.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: Flying Colours Ltd

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team