Planning for summer vacation

Published 6:00 am Monday, May 7, 2018

It’s time to start thinking about summer. This season is a great time to relax and spend time with family. One of the best ways to spend time with your family is during summer vacations, but planning for those can be expensive and time-consuming.

To begin planning for a summer vacation, it is important to make a budget. This will help you decide where to go, where to stay and how to get there. A budget can also provide you with a spending guideline for once you reach your destination. Remember to account for credit and debit card purchases as well as cash expenditures. Decide on a reasonable budget number and stick with it. Keep track of all your transactions by saving receipts.

Once you have your budget, it is essential to start researching and planning. The Internet is a great place to find information on any destination. You will be able to find attractions, hotels, air travel, maps, etc. When booking hotels and making plans, be sure to only use reliable sites.

You can also enlist a travel agent to help you plan a trip. Travel agents are professionals who help consumers find the best prices and places. Here are a couple of reasons travel agents are useful.

Planning – Let them do the work. You can tell them where you want to go and what you want to do and let them work out the details. They can also tell you where or what is available within your budget. In addition, they receive daily updates on great places to visit.

All-inclusive options – If you are looking for a getaway with everything included, travel agents will have that information easily available. The travel agent can book your trip so everything you expect to be included is and you can enjoy yourself worry-free.

Discounts and perks – Often, you receive discounts to attractions, rental cars and hotels when making reservations through a travel agency. Travel agents may have access to additional options not available to those planning their own trip. For example, when booking with a travel agent, you may receive free parking at theme parks, a discount at a gift shop or a voucher for eating at a specific restaurant.

Tour books and maps – Certain travel agencies like AAA can provide wonderful tour books and maps, and if you are driving, they are willing to map out your route.

When traveling, remember to pack efficiently. Use the list below to ensure that you do not miss anything. If you are flying, use the 3-1-1 guideline recommended by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration: 3 ounces or smaller bottles of a liquid must be placed in a 1 quart clear bag, allowing one bag per traveler. Liquids larger than 3 ounces may not be taken on the plane. They must be placed in checked luggage or discarded.

CLOTHING ITEMS

____Outfits for each day

____Undergarments, socks

____Shoes

____Sleepwear

____Swimwear, active wear

MEDICAL

____Aspirin/pain relieve

____Allergy medicine

____Prescription medications

____Glasses/contacts

____First aid kit

PERSONAL ITEMS

____Toothbrush, tooth paste

____Brush, comb

____Shampoo, hair products

____Deodorant

____Makeup

____Lotion

____Razor/shaving items

____Sunscreen

MISCELLANEOUS

____Reservation confirmations

____Directions or GPS

____Passport/driver’s license

____Credit cards

____Cash

____Event tickets

ELECTRONICS

____Camera

____Memory card, film, batteries

____Cell phone

____Chargers for all devices

When preparing to travel, make sure to be smart, efficient and find the best bang for your buck.

For more information, contact the Bell County Extension office.

Rebecca Miller is the Bell County extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin. Source: Annhall Norris, extension associate