Saving on Travel

Plan for wants, as well as needs.

Travel is an excellent example of spending money for something you may want to do, even if it isn't a need like food or shelter. Travel can be the spice of life! With a little time spent before a trip, you can save money and protect yourself financially from unforeseen events. Illinois Extension resources can help you think through your motivations for travel, explore options to reduce costs, and help you protect your finances while traveling.

Travel Worksheets

Travel can be wonderful -- and it can also cause stress! Planning your expenses before you travel can help reduce financial stress. Illinois Extension's sample travel spending plan and a worksheet to compare transportation modes (for example, driving versus flying) are available to download. 

Protect Your Finances While Traveling

Before leaving for a trip, check your health insurance policy for coverage limitations when away from home. Many health insurance policies provide full coverage for costs only from selected local providers; however, they likely have additional emergency care policies. However, the coverage may be limited. For example, Medicare typically does not pay for health care costs when you are traveling outside the United States. Medicare drug plans don’t cover prescription drugs you buy outside the U.S. However, some Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) may cover your medical costs. For more details, visit Medicare’s website.

Before traveling, know:

  • Which medical care services does your health insurance policy cover when traveling?

  • What phone number or website do you contact to receive pre-approval for medical procedures when traveling?

  • Do you want to purchase extra medical insurance coverage including, perhaps, evacuation insurance?

Also, before traveling, check with the Centers for Disease Control and Protection’s (CDC) recommendations for safe travel. Depending on where you plan to go there may be quarantine regulations, a need for immunizations (especially for overseas travel), or other considerations. You can find helpful information about travel to specific countries too.

Travel insurance is another type of insurance to consider purchasing. If you can’t travel, then travel insurance will reimburse you for part or all your expenses. Key points to keep in mind include:

  • Be sure to read the insurance policy very carefully so that you understand what qualifies in the policy.

  • Your credit card may provide some insurance elements such as damage to car rentals or lost baggage reimbursement. Check with your credit card company before traveling.

  • Your regular auto insurance also may provide some rental car insurance coverage.

  • If you take big trips more than twice a year, you may want to consider an annual travel insurance policy versus purchasing insurance for each individual trip.

With a little time spent before the trip, you can save money and protect yourself financially from unforeseen events. Happy traveling!