Budgeting Tips For Summer Travel Savings
SEARCH & RESCUE DOGS were just one feature at the Kid’s Safety Day held recently at the Hobbie Bazaar grounds. Sandee Ford, at left, is shown explaining the the service her dogs provide.

As consumers prepare for summer travel after a long winter and a chilly spring, Citizens Bank is recommending 9 Budgeting Tips for Summer Travel Savings.

According to AAA, the summer travel season begins this weekend, when 34.8 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles from home over the Memorial Day holiday. Nine out of ten travelers will take to the nation’s highways, according to the AAA forecast released this week.

With Citizens Bank ATMs located in more than 1,000 Cumberland Farms, GetGo® and other convenience stores from Maine to Florida, Citizens Bank suggests the following money-saving tips for consumers planning summer vacation travel:

Build a budget –To manage the expenses of your vacation, an important first step is to create a realistic budget that will help you to understand how much you can afford to spend on travel this summer. Once you have your budget in place, it will be easier to plan the trips you are going to take. In addition to the “big ticket” costs at your destination, be sure to factor in the incidental costs along the way.

Pay yourself first To take the sting out of the cost of your vacation after you get back, start saving for it now by setting up an automatic deposit to your savings fund from your paycheck or checking account. A specific amount of money can be transferred automatically on pay day before you even see it. It’s easier to save when you pay yourself first.

Don’t borrow trouble Don’t finance a vacation and place the cost on your credit card or line of credit unless you have a responsible repayment plan. A credit card is a great convenience, especially when traveling, but if you don’t pay off the full balance, you will incur finance charges that will add to the expense of your vacation and may make your vacation memorable in an unintended way.

Put social media to work Wherever you are going, there is likely a conversation about local deals taking place in social media. Follow hotels, restaurants and destinations on Facebook and Twitter. Use consumer ratings sites and sign up for social coupon sites. If you cover all of your social media bases, a special offer from the best place in town may pop up just as you arrive. Many of these sites also offer mobile apps that make it even easier to find the best value on the road.

Use debit cards Instead of using cash or credit cards, a debit card is a convenient way to make purchases. When using a debit card, keep in mind money will be deducted automatically from your checking account as you make purchases.

Use mobile banking When you are away from home, it can be easy to lose track of your day-to-day finances. Many banks offer mobile banking apps that you can use to check balances, pay bills, transfer funds, locate ATMs and more.

Write down credit and debit card information Make a list of all your account numbers and phone numbers for your cards and keep the list in a safe place that is separate from your cards. In case your wallet is lost or stolen, you will have the information readily available should you need to notify your bank or credit card company.

Avoid fees If you use an ATM to get cash, know where your bank’s ATMs are located so you have easy access to your money without incurring ATM fees. Citizens Bank has approximately 3,600 ATMs, including more than 1,000 ATMs in Cumberland Farms, GetGo and other convenience stores from Maine to Florida.

Maximize your fuel efficiency –An important budgeting tip to help you save on your summer vacation is to follow the recommendations of the U. S. Department of Energy when it comes to fuel efficiency. Spend less on gas this summer by:

Observing the speed limit Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 miles per hour. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.25 per gallon for gas.

Using cruise control If you use cruise control on the highway, it can help you to maintain a constant driving speed and, in most cases, will help you to save gas.

Keeping tires properly inflated –You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.

“With a little bit of planning to help you anticipate the big-ticket and the incidental expenses of your summer vacation, it is easy to enjoy summer getaways without coming home to a financial crunch,” said Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

For more information, visit citizensbank.comor call the bank’s 24/7 customer service line at 1-800-922-9999.