Making Travel Plans After All This Time? Plan Ahead to Make Your Vacation Fun & Frugal.
As vaccinations against COVID-19 become more prevalent, Americans are likely to resume spending money on something we largely haven’t in the past year – travel.
The spread of the coronavirus pandemic last year put an obvious damper on the U.S. travel industry. In domestic travel alone (that’s Americans traveling around the U.S.), the United States brought in $972 billion in 2019, according to the most recent statistics from Statista. In 2020, Statista estimates that total dropped to $582 billion – a loss of $390 billion year-over-year.
Statista predicts those numbers will increase gradually as Americans become more comfortable in a vaccinated world. That renewed urge to travel could put an additional strain on our wallets that we haven’t felt in the past year.
How do you make smart financial choices as you plan your dream vacation?
If you’ve got the travel bug, don’t worry – a vacation away doesn’t have to break the bank or be too complicated! Here are some suggestions for frugal and smart travel from the Travel Channel and Members 1st Credit Union:
Before You Go:
- Consider off-season travel – Tours, lodging and even food are often discounted during the travel “off-seasons.” Consider trekking through Europe in the winter or visiting the Caribbean during the summer months (although this is considered hurricane season – so travel with caution!).
- Let Members 1st know – Before you leave, submit a travel notice to let us know when and where you’re traveling. Members 1st can put a confidential note in your accounts to help maintain uninterrupted use of your debit and credit cards. To submit a travel notice call us at 314-487-5628 or 636-937-7144. You can also add our Fraud Department at 877-253-8964 into your phone contact list in case they call you with questions regarding suspicious activity.
- Skip hotel reservations – Sometimes hotel rates can skyrocket. If that’s the case, consider finding lodging through an app such as Airbnb, which can sometimes save you money while also giving you more space and amenities.
- Carry prepaid debit cards – Prepaid cards are a convenient and secure way to carry plastic, but can also be used as a no-risk budgeting tool. The cards are not tied to your Members 1st accounts in any way but can be used wherever debit/Visa® cards are accepted.
While You Are Away:
- Use the Members 1st CardValet app – This app allows you to take control of your debit card activity even while you are on the go. You can turn your card on and off, set location-based usage limits and even schedule alerts for transaction types. Visit the App store or Google Play store today and download the CardValet App. To learn more, visit https://me1stcu.com/access_online.aspx.
- Avoid renting a car – Make a point of researching your destination’s public transportation or ridesharing app capabilities ahead of time. Usually, utilizing these options can save you money compared to renting a car. And remember, walking is a great way to explore a new place, and you’ll skip transportation fees completely.
- Dine out at lunchtime – If you’re planning to have one “fancy” meal a day on your vacation, make that meal lunch rather than dinner. Many restaurants have lunch dishes similar or identical to their dinner menus for a little cheaper. You will enjoy the same delicious food for less money.
- Stop by a Members 1st shared branch location – Shared Branching lets our members use participating credit unions in other places. Just remember, you will need to show your credit union member number and a valid driver’s license to access funds at these locations. Click on Find a Branch/ATM at the top of this page to learn more.
Whether you are staying close to home or traveling abroad, Members 1st is YOUR credit union, and we are here to help you with your financial plans. Call or stop by one of our offices today to find out how Members 1st can support you!
Toll-free: (877) 487-5628
Mattis office: (314) 487-5628
Festus office: (636) 931-7144