It's Time to Get Away! Here's how to plan.

Financial well-being March 31, 2016 By Paul Bass

Summer is just around the corner. For many, that means it is time to start planning your vacation. If budgeted and planned correctly, you can spend your vacation relaxing and enjoying time with your loved ones instead of stressing about the money you’re spending. Here are some tips to help get you started.

First, create an overall budget. Ask yourself, “What can I afford?” A good rule of thumb for a vacation budget is 2–4 percent of your annual house hold income, per person. For example, for a family of four with an annual household income of $50,000:

$50,000 x .02 (2%) = $1,000
$1,000 x 4 family members = $4,000 total vacation budget


$50,000 x .04 (4%) = $2,000
$2,000 x 4 family members = $8,000 total vacation budget

(Two percent is a good rule of thumb for regional travel; 4 percent is a good rule of thumb for international travel.)

After you determine your overall budget, address the following expenses within that budget:

  • Airfare 
  • Fuel/ rental car 
  • Hotel 
  • Food 
  • Entertainment 
  • Gifts 
  • Taxi/transportation 
  • Tips
  • Passport (if traveling internationally)

Now you are ready to address the specifics. Here are some additional things you should think about:

Itinerary. Make sure you research and determine an itinerary for each day you are away. Avoid unexpected expenses by having a plan when you arrive.
Notify debit/credit card companies. Before you leave, make sure the bank that holds your debit and/or credit card knows you will be traveling ahead of time so red flags won’t be raised when you purchase in a place where you don’t normally purchase. You may even want to ask the bank to raise your daily ATM limit.
Medicines. Refill prescriptions to make sure you have enough for the duration of your vacation. And, be sure to take any necessary medicines in your carry-on bag in case your checked luggage is lost or stolen.
Insurance. Sometimes, traveling can be unpredictable. You should consider purchasing trip insurance and even some extra insurance coverage when renting a car in another country.
Text/data plan if traveling internationally. An additional data and texting plan should be arranged through your cellular carrier to avoid astronomical costs while traveling abroad.
Care of pets. Don’t forget your furry friends! Start making arrangements early for the care of your pets though your veterinarian or a trusted pet sitter.
Safety. Carry a wallet that hangs around your neck and under your shirt to avoid pickpocketing. Also, it’s wise not to wear expensive jewelry or name brand clothing that would identify you as a tourist or a target for thieves.
Language. Attempt to learn a few important phrases before traveling to a foreign country.

Once your vacation has been planned and budgeted, don’t forget most important thing—enjoy yourself and those around you!

By Paul Bass

Community Bank President, First United Bank - Shawnee

Paul graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1984. Since he started at First United, he has held many jobs including Marketing Officer, Consumer and Commercial lender, Indirect Lender, and bank President at two locations. 

He and his wife, Carol, have two children, Erika and Hayden. Paul is very active in the Shawnee community and enjoys drumming, cycling, running, and fishing.