The holidays are almost here and maybe you are one of those that is fortunate enough to be able to get away from the stresses and strains of work and routine home life.
Many Nigerians in the diaspora will be heading home to spend time with loved ones, whilst others will be heading for other destinations. In all the excitement and anticipation, it is so easy to overspend.
Here are a few ways to manage your holiday finances and still have lots of fun. When you book early, there is time to shop around for the best deals on fares, accommodation and tour packages. If you have waited until the last minute to make arrangements for your holiday, you will have little flexibility and will have to accept whatever is available. Last minute bookings can cost you twice, even three times as much as if you had booked months in advance. This can get really expensive when you are making a booking for a large family or group.
DO YOU HAVE ANY AIR MILES?
Air miles are useful in offsetting your ticket or accommodation costs, if you book well in advance of your trip. However, the best value from your air miles is usually during off-peak seasons when demand is low. It will be a challenge to find air mile tickets for travel now. During peak periods the best use of air miles is to secure upgrades.
FOCUS ON YOUR BUDGET
You don’t have to travel to an expensive or exotic location just because “everyone else” is doing so. Look critically at your finances. Have you saved towards your holiday? How much can you afford to spend? Set an overall spending limit involving your family and try to stick to this. You will need to budget for the various aspects of holiday spending including accommodation, transport fares, food, shopping, entertainment, gifts, excursions and so on. Avoid borrowing to finance your holiday unless there is the absolute certainty of an impending inflow of funds.
CARDS, CASH, TRANSFERS
Have you sorted out your spending money? Cash withdrawals can be made using your Visa or Mastercard; they are accepted at over a million Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) globally where the sign is displayed to either pay for goods and services or access cash. Linked to your Current or Savings account, all transactions reflect instantly. If you are travelling with your Naira card be sure to read the terms and conditions; there is usually a daily cash withdrawal limit. If you plan to use your cards whilst you are away to save you carrying too much cash, notify your bank or credit card company; as an added security precaution, many card providers look out for what appears to be “suspicious” activity. If they see your card being heavily used particularly in what is an unusual environment for you, your account may be suspended until they have heard from you to confirm that it is indeed you using the card. As far as possible use your debit card for withdrawals at ATMs during bank opening hours. Hold some cash just in case your card is lost, stolen or not working.
You are entitled to Personal and Business Travel allowance. Visit your bank for information on the current policy and any limits. You can also make payments and transfers out of your account from online banking solutions if you have this in place.
Licensed bureaus de change are available at major airports but they tend not to be as competitive as those in town. Look out for the commission charge and the exchange rate offered. Be cautious when you patronize moneychangers, as there is the very real risk of being shortchanged or sold counterfeit money.
TRAVEL INSURANCE IS IMPORTANT
While vacations usually go without incident, have you given any thought to what would happen if something were to go wrong? What if someone in your family suddenly falls ill, your luggage gets lost, or you have to cancel your trip? Travel insurance usually includes coverage for medical bills, lost baggage and cancellations. Read the fine print to ensure that you have the best coverage at affordable rates and make sure your medical insurance card is on you at all times.
ROAMING CAN BE VERY EXPENSIVE
Roaming charges can result in a shocking telephone bill when you return home.
Contact your service provider and be sure of the implications and costs as you will be paying both for making and receiving calls. Pay your bills in advance so that you don’t get cut off whilst you are travelling. It makes sense to buy a local SIM card when you arrive at your destination; make sure that your friends, family, colleagues and important contacts have the number so that you don’t miss out on important calls. Most SIM cards don’t charge to receive calls and making calls will be much cheaper than using your usual number.
Father’s Day was celebrated last month and it focuses on celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. It also reminds fathers to consider the critical role they play in the family, to take stock and to carefully consider their responsibilities.
Fathers must be proactive about getting more involved in quality family time. The time a father spends with children is the foundation of deep and enduring relationships that impact their own relationships in future.
There is so much wrong in our society and over the years the focus has been largely on the girl child; this has implications for the development of the boy child who often craves that father figure. Use this long vacation to begin to do something about this.
Fathers and holidays
Far too many family holidays consist of just mum and children. For many fathers in their families, they feel outside of the “emotional core” of the family; some feel left out of the depth of the natural bond and closeness, warmth and love that mothers have with the children.
A vacation is really about spending quality time with loved ones, and having time to rest; it need not be that expensive; you can rediscover your own environment by visiting places close to home, revisit hobbies, pastimes, and sports, or simply just staying at home. Make it a point of visiting one of the stunning tourist destinations here in Nigeria. With a little careful planning, you can find a balance between having an enjoyable family vacation and still keeping your finances in check in time for the new school year.
Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private wealth management. She seeks to empower people regarding their finances and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance.
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Photo Credit : @timidakola