Spring Travel and Credit Repair: How to Save

Spring has practically sprung, and for many, a much-needed break from work or school is on the horizon. However, traveling on a budget may be difficult, especially if credit repair is on your to-do list. Price hikes and mandatory fees can turn a relaxing vacation into a financial burden without careful planning. You might be wondering, “Can I afford to fix my credit and have fun this year?” The simple answer is yes! Long-lasting credit repair requires savings, and there are plenty of ways to travel cheap and still have fun. Read on for some helpful tips.

1. Book last-minute deals. If spontaneity is your style, consider booking last-minute deals to new (and exotic) locations. Airlines, hotels, and travel sites offer deep discounts for seats and rooms that need filling. If you relish an impulsive weekend away, saving is a no-brainer.

Blind booking is also a great way to save for travelers who love the unknown. Sites like Priceline.com allow you to book hotel rooms at discounts up to 60% off. The catch? You won’t know the name or location of the hotel until after you book.

2. Travel the old-fashioned way. Even with deep discounts, flying the friendly skies may be out of your “fix my credit” budget. Airline prices are up, and higher baggage fees sometimes make it difficult to find a good fare. What’s worse, the cost of gas in the U.S. has increased significantly, forcing many families to rethink their 2012 road trip excursions. Regardless, don’t let the economy keep you from having a good time. Consider traveling the old fashioned and economical way: Cross-country commuter trains run by Amtrak offer their passengers affordable rates and a chance to see the country. A round-trip ticket from Chicago to Boston costs as little as $200 per person, a far cry from expensive airfare. Greyhound is another credit repair-friendly alternative, pricing the same trip for as little as $180 per person. If you have time to spare, consider taking a longer trip—and saving money in the process.

3. Pay cash. Credit cards offer easy access to funds, but increasing those revolving balances can kill your credit scores. Enjoying a vacation does not mean abandoning your budget. If you fear overspending, why not carry cash or traveler’s checks? When your wallet is empty, it’s time to stop buying souvenirs.

4. Learn how to haggle. Foreign locales offer new experiences in food, sightseeing, and shopping. Many markets also offer discounted prices for those who ask. If you are shopping in Cancun or browsing in Rome, never pay the sticker price without asking for a deal first. Saving means more money in the bank, and that likely means you’ll have better resources for lasting credit repair. Let good credit be your motivator.

5. Hit the local grocery store. Food is a major expense for most travelers. While you may enjoy fine dining and local fare, look for a local grocer to find snacks for the beach or lunches for a long plane ride home. It’s the small details that produce huge savings.