Seven Tips to Make Your Summer Getaway Fun and Financially Rewarding

Seven Tips to Make Your Summer Getaway Fun and Financially Rewarding

Traveling the world has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve been able to experience awesome new food, scenery and adventures with a combo of advanced planning, research and a little bit of creativity. With summer travel season kicking into high gear, I have a few tried and true tips to help you maximize the financial rewards you earn throughout these warmer months – whether you’re purchasing international airfare, taking a dream vacation to a paradise resort, planning fine dining and five-star hotel stays, or cross-country road tripping. No matter your activity, here are my top ways to translate rewarding summer travel adventures into rewards for your wallet.

1) Dream Big and Budget Responsibly

It might sound simple, but it can be a big help to set the realistic budget you’ll need to take your dream vacation – and then commit to contributing a set amount on a regular basis. Whether that’s setting aside money from each paycheck that goes into a separate savings account; bringing your lunch to work instead of dining out; or even saving just $5 each day by making coffee at home – once you get into a consistent pattern of setting aside those savings, it can quickly add up to reward you with a dream vacation. It’s a great feeling to set a long-term goal toward taking a trip – and then finally reach it with a steady and consistent approach.

Overlooking windy Canyonlands National Park in Utah, one of Americas best National Parks

Overlooking windy Canyonlands National Park in Utah, one of Americas best National Parks

2) Layer Your Rewards Programs Together

Additionally, always look to layer together your credit card, hotel, airline, dining and banking loyalty programs to earn rewards in as many places as possible with just one transaction. For example, I always include my frequent flier number (layer #1) when I my book flights with my Bank of America Premium Rewards card (layer #2). As a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member (layer #3), I get a credit card rewards bonus that boosts my earnings to 3.5 points per dollar on travel and dining. That combination of loyalty programs helps me get enough points for my next trip much faster than just using one.

The rewards get even deeper with the first-class benefits that are built in to my Bank of America Premium Rewards card – including a credit of up to a $100 to use toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry Application fees every four years, no foreign transaction fees when I’m jet setting on international adventures and even the unexpected Bank of America Museums on Us program – which gives me free admission to over 225 museums (arts, sports, science and more!), cultural heritage centers, aquariums and botanical gardens during the first full weekend of each month. Check out a location in your own backyard or near your summer travel destination with the Museums on Us location finder. Upcoming Museums on Us weekends for all Bank of America and Merrill credit and debit card holders are July 6th and 7th, August 3th and 4th, and September 7th and 8th.

3) Check Travel Blogs and Learn the Language Basics

There’s no shortage of travel guides on the internet. You can start with my 30 best lists – and with a little bit of searching you can find other awesome blogs as well.

Personally, I rely on other travel blogs when creating my itineraries – I think the reviews are more authentic and they tend to share more unique recommendations than larger travel sites. Start with planning a loose itinerary of activities you’d like to try but be sure to leave some space to be spontaneous. You may find yourself really enjoying a destination and looking to stay longer or hear about a local attraction that you had not accounted for and want the flexibility to visit.

If you’re traveling to a country where English isn’t the primary language, learning the basics of the language will make your trip even easier. Even if you only have time to learn “hello,” “goodbye,” “please,” and “thank you,” it will help you build rapport with anyone you meet, no matter how profound the language barrier. If you run into any major language problems, try stopping into a hotel for clarification – many concierges will speak English and can help you out.

Stunning St. Basil's cathedral in Red Square in Moscow, Russia

Stunning St. Basil’s cathedral in Red Square in Moscow, Russia

4) Cash AND Cards are King

Currency norms can vary from country to country, so I always make sure to have both the local currency and a credit card with no foreign transaction fees (like the Bank of America Premium Rewards card). I order my foreign currency online prior to my trip because as a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member I get a 2% discount off the published foreign currency exchange rate plus free shipping. With both cash and card in hand, I arrive at my destination prepared, no matter what gets thrown at me.

Dubai at sunset

Dubai at sunset

5) Check your Rewards on the Go

Zipline through the jungle treetops of Southern Belize

Zipline through the jungle treetops of Southern Belize

When I’m traveling, I like to check the Bank of America My Rewards dashboard in the Bank of America mobile app, which allows me to track and manage all of the rewards, deals and benefits I’m earning across multiple Bank of America programs in one place – including Preferred Rewards, credit cards and BankAmeriDeals. I can see how my rewards, deals and benefits are adding up; explore what’s available and start redeeming; and I’ve even discovered new benefits that I was previously missing out on (though, never again!). For example – using My Rewards, I’ve been able to find BankAmeriDeals for up to 15% cash back at local stores and restaurants – giving me meals and experiences that are both budget-friendly and rewarding all summer long!

Two Final Tips

You might have seen this in some of my other blog posts, but I’ll repeat it again here – when in doubt, remember that less is more on your summer trips. I always take half the clothes and twice the money ?. Another simple one that’s worth mentioning is to be sure that important numbers are stored in your phone! I love having peace of mind as a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member – because no matter where my trips take me, I know that priority customer service is only a phone call away.

To learn how you can maximize your financial rewards on your next trip, visit

Disclaimer: I am a paid spokesperson for Bank of America.

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  1. I’ve traveled to 80+ countries essentially using rewards for flights and hotels the whole time. Rewards are a game changer for normal people.

  2. Blogs like yours are always the most reliable source of information. You’ve actually been there and done that. I hate the big conglomerate sites like Trip Advisor etc.

  3. That’s a great set of tips. Traveling must be affordable for everyone and budgeting responsibly is definitely the way to go. Safe travels and enjoy the summer 🙂

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