There is more to planning a trip then finally booking the airfare and hotel.  Financially planning for a trip in advance will absolutely lead to a less stressful situation.

In about a month or so I turn the big 3-0 and to celebrate The Wife, myself and The Boy are heading to Atlanta to see the Falcons play the Carolina Panthers this weekend (October 16). Despite growing up in New York I am a huge fan of The Falcons and I think it all stems back to Deion Sanders who started his career and loud mouth ways there.  What makes this trip even more exciting is how well financially it was planned by The Wife and I.

Planning To Travel Makes Traveling So Much More Enjoyable

From airfare to hotel to spending money we started planning this mini-vacation almost a year ago.

Airfare

It was about a year ago that I received an advertisement in the mail for 50,000 miles from American Express for spending $3,000 in the first couple months.  At the time I was living on cash-only and had only recently eliminated $18,000 of debt, but this was 50,000 miles!

After talking it out with The Wife we decided to use this card for everything and since it was a charge card rather than a credit card we had to pay it off monthly.

Over the course of a year we earned another 25,000 points and received 2 tickets for “free.”  Yes, I consider them free since:

  1. I would have spent the money anyway it was just concentrated one specific card
  2. The Gold American Express is a charge card not a credit card so I had to pay it off monthly
  3. While there are usually annual fees I recently got all my American Express Fees Waived

Saving = $600 – $700

Spending Money & Hotel

I am not shy with my love affair for ING Direct.  Its high-yield savings account interest rate may be a joke it is still higher than the national average.  I have a ton of sub-accounts but a screenshot from the beginning of 2010 highlights how I have “free” spending money for Atlanta.

For years, The Wife and I would each put $30 bucks in the account labeled “vacation fund” from our separate cash accounts. Whenever we go away we use this account to pay the bills off.  I know everyone’s situation is different but I do not ‘feel’ $30 coming out of my checking despite the fact that I purposefully keep myself cash poor.

 

How do you plan for a Trip? Do you just put it on a credit card and pay it off?