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Thrifty Travel Tips

Building a Great Getaway on a Budget

Are you ready to check off your next bucket-list destination? Whether you’re already planning your next trip or looking to start saving for a future getaway, Elements Financial is here as a trusted source of advice with budgeting and spending tips to help you get ready, get set, and GO! on your next adventure.

Recently, two of our financial experts – Kara Fischer and Karmen Johnson – presented a Community Workshop focused on ways to be thrifty on your next vacation. They’ve assembled some of their best tips and key takeaways here. 

Get Ready

When you're thinking of heading out on your next vacation, ask these questions first:

  • Where do you want to go?
  • When do you want to go?
  • How much do you need to save?

Planning ahead with these questions will give you a better idea of how much money you need to budget for and how much time you have to meet your savings goal. 

Get Set

Now that you have an idea of what you need to budget for, it’s time to set up your savings plan.

Open a Separate Savings Account

Contact your financial institution and request to open a new savings account. Once it is live in your online banking, re-name the new account “Travel Fund.” This will give you a virtual piggy bank just to track your savings for your next trip and you won’t be as tempted to use the money for something else before the goal is met.

Set Up Direct Deposit

Decide what percentage of your monthly income should go to your travel fund and then set up direct deposit from your paycheck to your new account and watch it grow each month. If you are uncomfortable with it coming directly from your paycheck, you can have more control by setting up automatic transfers from your checking or primary savings account.

Use Photos as Reminders

As you are daydreaming about your destination, find some photos of where you are going online and save them. Then, print those photos and place them somewhere you pass by often, such as your refrigerator or on the mirror you use to get ready at in the morning. This will help you stay focused on your big goal. You could also make the photo your phone wallpaper, so as you are out and about shopping, your savings goal will stay at the top of your mind, and you will be less likely to overspend.

Save Your Credit Card Rewards

Your credit card rewards can easily be redeemed for flights, cruises, gift cards, and cash rewards! If you're looking for somewhere to get started, consider the Signature Rewards Visa Credit Card from Elements. 

After going on many solo road trips across the country, I have learned the importance of setting a budget and sticking to it along the way.

- Karmen Johnson | Communications Specialist


Once you have met your savings goal and are ready to set out on your trip, consider some of our Financial Experts’ advice to make your trip go smoothly.

Call Your Bank

Along with notifying your friends and family members of your travels, you should also notify your bank. Financial institutions have fraud technology that block transactions that are outside of your normal spending habits and locations. Let them know where you are going so that they can monitor your account and you won’t have difficulties with making transactions along the way. You can always contact Elements any time.

Turn on Card Control

Card Control is a companion app to our Online Banking app that allows you to control when, where, and how your Elements credit and debit cards are used. As you are traveling, you may misplace your card along the way. This app will allow you to instantly turn them off and on, set controls on usage, and establish alerts for a variety of card activities. Get started on our Card Control page.

Have Back Up Cash

Place back up cash in various bags that you will be using on your trip. This way, if your luggage gets lost along the way, you will have extra cash in your carry on to get you by until you can retrieve the rest of your luggage.

Find ATMs Along Your Route

Access your cash on the go by accessing one of our 78,000+ surcharge-free ATMs globally. Look up participating ATMs near you using our locator tool.


As always, Elements is here to support you and push you toward your goals. You can always contact us for additional advice before your next big getaway!

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