Going on and planning for a vacation isn't supposed to be stressful, but it certainly can be. Especially if you don't plan ahead. To help you avoid that stress here are our 3 best tips to planning a vacation.

#1.  Who, What, Where, When?
The first thing to do would be to figure out the answers to those old "w-h" questions. Knowing how many members of your family are going, where you are going what you'll be doing and how long you have to plan will make step #2 easier.

#2.  Budget
Vacations are supposed to be a relaxing break from reality. Poor budgeting can make them the exact opposite. research the activities and lodging near the destination you are looking to visit. It's always safer to estimate on the higher end of the cost spectrum so you can avoid sticker shock when you should be relaxing.

Look for lodging that fits your needs. If you are comfortable with eating out every meal, then hotel accommodations without any kitchen amenities may be suitable to you. If you don't mind preparing a few meals on your vacation, looking for a hotel with a kitchenette or renting a condo or rental home may be a better option. Tip: Most popular vacation spots will have tons of options for rental homes or condos. Do some searching online and you're sure to find one that fits your needs.

If you're going to a theme park, don't forget about items like souvenirs, snacks, parking and ticket prices. Believe it, or not, many high-profile theme parks are split into sections and admission to each one is separate. these prices can add up - so its best to know what areas you want to visit when planning your trip. If you're going to a theme part during the summer months, chances are a lot of other visitors are also. Shorter wait times for rides can help you maximize your time at the park. it may be worth purchasing whatever express pass the park offers to let you jump to the front of the line.

#3.  Saving
Saving up for all of the costs you just calculated can seem daunting. Payroll deduction and a Wish Club account can make it very simple. Take your total amount that you budgeted and divide by the number of pay periods until you leave for the trip. For example, if your vacation is going to cost $2,500 and you want to leave one year from now, divide (26 for bi-weekly pay periods, 24 for semi-monthly and so-on). In this example you would have to save about $97 per pay period for bi-weekly or about $104 per pay period for semi-monthly pay periods. Two other options would be to use the same credit card during the trip and pay it off over time using the same method to calculate the payments; or apply for a personal loan with an affordable payment and use the proceeds to fund the trip.

#4.  Stay Cool
Wherever you decide to go and whatever you decide to do for your vacation try not to sweat the small stuff. Letting yourself get upset with circumstances can turn a great trip bad in a hurry. Keep a positive mind set and remember that you are on vacation!

Health Care Family Credit Union is here to help you save for your next trip! You can talk to a Member Service Representative about setting up a Wish Club account and payroll deduction, getting a credit card or a personal loan by calling 314.645.5851.