I am not sure what else to call our family vacation this year…. Like many other families, our travel plans were turned upside down by the pandemic. Now, we are left wondering where to go and what to do? We definitely want to get out of the house – even if it is just for a day! My family and I are finding this to be a fun topic of conversation at dinner. We are starting to think about what we can do locally. The first questions we need to ask ourselves are 1) What is our budget? 2) Where do we personally feel safe traveling? 3) And how do we get there?
As I write this, most states are opening back up, and airlines are adding flights back to their schedules. But where does my family want to go? Where do we feel comfortable? Many places still quarantine travelers or limit capacity. These are big issues to consider. An even more significant consideration – will we be seeing anyone in the high-risk category upon our return?
We all have decisions to make, and many of them are personal. Every family is going to face different circumstances. One thing my wife and I know we do not want to do is overspend on a vacation that may sound wonderful today but may still be very limited as far as what we can actually do or see. As we narrow down our options, I think we will most likely enjoy staying local and experiencing some of the summertime events New England has to offer that we might not usually appreciate. This will meet our desire to get out of the house without blowing a hole in the bank account during these times of economic uncertainty.
Many of us have been impacted financially by COVID, and as people begin to return to work (hopefully in high numbers), one thing to keep in mind is how much money you should have on hand to deal with emergencies. If you have had to dip into your savings, or if you realized that you did not have enough in your emergency bucket, make building an emergency fund a top priority this summer and put the extravagant vacation on the back burner. People often ask me how much they should have in an emergency bucket. Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all amount. I suggest having at least three months of your expenses. If you have many dependents, you may consider six months. This money should be kept out of the stock market and not tied up in an illiquid investment. You need to sacrifice return on this investment and lean toward safety. I suggest a bank savings account. Yes, the interest rate is low, but the money will definitely be there if you need it.
Here is a helpful article about emergency funds. If you have any questions, I would be happy to have a discussion with you.
Once you feel comfortable with your finances, go ahead and plan that Covid-Cation. Here is a great link to things to do in Massachusetts. Maybe we will see you on the Freedom Trail or hiking in the Berkshires!
ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!