Do you need to ‘Seize the Summer’ and take a trip?

All that bad news that tops the nightly newscasts and leads the daily newspaper might be enough to make most people put off any leisure travel. But, is it time to take a trip?

That’s what AAA is asking.

Acknowledging that “it’s time to separate general economic anxiety from personal financial reality” and “travel decisions are not always about dollars and cents,” AAA is urging would-be travelers to take a quick quiz and “Seize the Summer” travel – if it’s economically feasible.

“Given all of the negative economic news of the past six months and our society’s newfound frugality, some otherwise well-off consumers are feeling a little awkward or uneasy about leisure travel this year,” Doug Bower, vice president of AAA Travel and Financial Services, said in a recent news release. “… By carefully assessing our individual economic circumstances and personal travel situation many of us may realize traveling this year should not be seen as a guilty pleasure, but as something we should get out and enjoy. By going now, we also will be doing our part to get America’s economy moving again.”

Before making a final decision about whether to take a trip, AAA suggests taking a “Travel Needs Assessment” that examines a number of areas.

According to AAA’s “Travel Needs Assessment,” consumers should consider whether they are:

  • One of the estimated 90 percent of homeowners who are consistently on-time with their mortgage payments, or are always on-time with their rent
  • Among those who have access to some emergency cash to protect against an unexpected financial setback
  • A borrower with a responsible credit history
  • Steadily working on other life-time financial goals, such as student tuitions and/or retirement savings
  • Have a history of steady employment with fairly predictable earnings or have a reliable fixed income
  • Have been able to afford and pay for leisure travel experiences with little difficulty in the past

In addition, the “Travel Needs Assessment” asks:

  • Has it been more than 18 months since my last significant vacation?
  • When I traveled last, did I bring work or family pressures with me?
  • Have my recent travel experiences been too predictable and to familiar destinations?
  • Have I experienced a loss or other major change in my life that challenged my emotions?
  • Am I about to mark a major milestone such as a birthday, graduation, anniversary or career change?
  • Have I missed significant occasions when I should have celebrated or rewarded myself?
  • Is there a family member or friend that is owed a long-overdue visit?

“Would-be travelers that answer ‘yes’ to any or several of these questions should make travel a high priority budget item this year,” Bower said. “We all need to refresh and renew our emotional well-being from time to time. A trip that is all about relaxation, expanding personal horizons, marking special or significant occasion, or time with family and friends is an excellent method of doing so.”

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