Planning a Vacation on a Budget

Broken down into three parts, we’ve got all aspects [the planning, the packing, & the spending] of your traveling needs covered.

Planning Your Vacation - Best Practices

1. Weekday travel is DIRT CHEAP. Weekday travel during the off season is even cheaper.
2. Airfare is cheaper on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, if you select ‘Flexible Dates’, and if you search with an Incognito window.
3. Not every all-inclusive package is a scam. Airlines offer vacation packages that can save you tons of time, stress, and money.
4. Speaking of airlines, do you have a credit card affiliated with one? If so, you’re off to a great start. They offer awesome rewards.
5. Speaking of credit cards, use them for any hotel or flight rental. You do not want access to your debit card to become limited by a hold put on by a hotel. If you don’t have one, you can apply for a credit card with Missouri Central now.
6. On a budget? Missouri Central has prepaid travel cards available that can be added to the card at any time.
7. Download Apps! Uber, Maze, Travel Buddy, KAYAK, Airbnb, Hotel Tonight, Skyscanner, Google Maps, Google Translate. Find more on Travel & Leisure. Also, be sure to download any mobile apps available to you by your primary checking institution.
Missouri Central offers its members access to their bank accounts from anywhere and will help you find an ATM, transfer money, pay bills, check your balance, etc. We are the lightest thing you could possibly pack!

Packing For Your Affordable Vacation

A good rule of thumb to go by when packing is, if it costs less than $10, don’t pack it; buy it at your destination.

After you’ve split your belongings in half… or haven’t…Try this checklist:


  • Roll your clothes, don’t fold them.
  • Roll socks, tights, or undergarments inside your shoes.
  • Ladies, small items can also be tucked into a bra to save space and protect it.
  • Gentlemen, a rolled up belt tucked into your shirt collar provides the same functionality.
  • Pack dryer sheets to keep everything fresh.
  • Multiple thin layers save more space than one bulky piece of clothing. If you need a coat, wear it on your person. Otherwise, pack 5 thin long-sleeve shirts or cardigans vs. one big bulky hoodie.
  • Traveling for a month? A year? ~ Pack for TWO WEEKS ~ 3 shirts + 3 pants can make 9 outfits!

Miscellaneous Packing Tips

  • Shower cap = shoe protector.
  • Contact lens case = concealer/lotion container.
  • Pill bottle/case = jewelry box.
  • Glasses case = Phone charger/headphone holder.
  • Oven mitt = Curling iron/straightener protector.
  • Plastic baggies are essential. You will need them in any airports if you’re traveling with liquid, but we recommend them anyways, as you don’t want to risk any spills.
  • Travel-sized containers! Hotel samples from your last vacay will work great.
  • Put plastic wrap over any open bottles then put the lid back on.
  • Did you save some space? Great!! Have you contacted your credit union yet? Let them know you’re leaving and where you’re headed. This isn’t a space saving tip, this is a financial protection tip!

Tips for Saving Money on Your Vacation

Saving money while you spend isn’t an oxymoron. It is quite possible with some of these hacks:

  • Bring an empty water bottle to fill up once you get past security
  • Kids eat free! Find these kinds of places if you’re traveling with your Mini Me.
  • Did you pay more for the extra luggage? If so, scroll back up and reread our packing checklist! 
  • Dining out is half the fun! Small snacks purchased at a local store near your destination will save you money to spend on drinks and dinner!
  • Don’t give into any extras when you pick up the rental car. You have GPS on your phone and you don’t NEED the vehicle with the sunroof.
  • Also, when returning the vehicle, FILL UP THE TANK. You will most certainly be charged for this and it will most certainly be much higher than the price of gas.
  • Is it a holiday? Anniversary? Birthday? Anything?? Take advantage of that! Hotels can offer great customer service by providing upgrades; meanwhile, you get a free bottle of wine or an upgrade to a balcony for it!
  • Take cash with you beforehand. ATM’s are expensive, especially in the airport. Plus, you always want small change for tipping.

I think you’re all set! Make sure the lights are all off, the doors are locked, and the pets are taken care of. You are ready for departure!