Smart Travel Planning



VOL. 133 | NO. 55 | Friday, March 16, 2018

Dana and Ray Brandon


Ray and Dana Brandon

Updated 2:20PM

Ray’s Take: It’s been a long, cold, rainy winter here in the Bluff City, and everyone is looking forward to Spring Break, sunshine, warmer weather and possibly making plans for a summer vacation.

When thinking about a trip, it’s always a good idea to start with your budget before you make any plans. I’ve seen many clients splurge on large, expensive vacations they simply cannot afford. They end up paying them off for years, long after the memories have faded.

If you are a frequent traveler or would like to take a big trip with your family, look for credit cards that offer travel rewards when you make purchases. There are so many credit cards to choose from depending on what kind of traveling you want to do.

Some offer airline miles, others offer discounted hotel stays, domestic and international travel deals, no foreign transaction fees and even customized travel portals to help you plan your trip through their website. But don’t be fooled. Always be sure to read the fine print when signing up for one of these reward credit cards. Many have blackout dates throughout the year and some offer miles that are non-transferable.

When planning a large trip, make a list of the big-ticket items you will be spending money on, such as ski lift tickets, Disney World passes or seats at a Broadway show. Then work your remaining budget around those items. Sometimes it’s fun to live like a local and sample local fare in exchange for a fancy, expensive dinner. But if you have the money, then splurge and don’t feel guilty!

Last year, U.S. News and World Report ranked Memphis No. 6 on the list of the “Top Most Affordable Destinations.” So if an expensive trip is not in your family’s budget this year, visit the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau website at memphistravel.com for things to do in Memphis that are “off the beaten path.”

Dana’s Take: Everybody splurges on something, whether it’s a golf trip, season tickets to a Grizzlies basketball game or a designer wardrobe. In relationships, trouble emerges when one or both members hide their splurges. The intent of hiding a splurge is to avoid the blame game, but the unfortunate result is usually a loss of trust.

To avoid splurge wars, start a savings fund. If you both agree to splurge on travel, save for a blowout trip. If you have individual whims, establish a fund for each of you. It can be used to splurge without judgment from the partner.

Two people can love each other without sharing the same priorities for spending money. Communicate and allocate money for each of your passions and watch the love grow.

Ray Brandon, CEO of Brandon Financial Planning, and his wife, Dana, a licensed clinical social worker, can be reached at brandonplanning.com.



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