FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 15, 2007
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
703-683-5004, ext. 118
Americans Plan on Spending an Average of $1,654 on Their Summer Vacation, Visa Survey Shows
Visa USA's Online "Travel Calculator" Helps Vacationers Take a Break without Going Broke
San Francisco, CA - June 15, 2007 – Helping consumers to reduce the financial stress of planning a vacation, today Visa USA introduced an online Summer Travel Budgeting Center which features a free, web-based budget calculator called the "Travel Calculator." Designed to help travelers stick to a budget while away from home, the "Travel Calculator" provides tips for consumers at all income levels and shows that with a little planning and the right budget, anyone can afford to take a break.
Creating a vacation budget is crucial, with the results of a survey from Visa showing that American cardholders are planning on spending an average of $1,654 on their summer vacation, making it one of the biggest purchases most people are likely to make all year. Interestingly, Visa's survey of 1,000 cardholders also found that 15 percent of respondents won't be taking a summer vacation this year. On the other end of the spectrum, 4 percent of those surveyed said they would be sending over $5,000 on their summer vacation, making them 'mega vacationers.'
Visa's "Travel Calculator" helps consumers decide between necessary and flexible expenses by walking them through the process of preparing a travel budget with an interactive checklist and corresponding travel tips. Users can build budgets for meals, hotels and entertainment expenses and make spending adjustments before traveling.
For example, the calculator will automatically estimate the cost of fuel for drivers based on trip mileage or prompt flyers to factor in the cost of food at the airport. With the "Travel Calculator" estimations, travelers can modify excessive transportation, lodging, and meal expenses to plan a more cost-effective vacation.
The Summer Travel Budgeting Center and "Travel Calculator" are part of Visa's award-winning financial education program, Practical Money Skills for Life, and available for free at www.practicalmoneyskills.com/travel.
"One week of fun in the sun should not lead to a year's worth of debt," said Jason Alderman, who directs Visa's financial education programs. "Making a reasonable vacation budget before you travel can help reduce the likelihood of getting a financial sunburn from your trip."
The Summer Travel Budgeting Center also contains some important tips for travelers to consider before hitting the road this summer. They include:
- Remember to budget for spending money: Equipment rentals, snacks and gifts can add up quickly.
- Seek advice from fellow travelers: Research online for recommendations from locals and learn from others' mistakes.
- Airfares to more remote airports are often considerably less expensive than the more popular, and crowded, alternatives closer to town.
- Always ask if hotels, restaurants and attractions offer discounts: AAA, AARP and other organizations often negotiate discounts for their members.
- Add 10 to 15 percent to your budget for unanticipated events: Things like lost luggage, a flat tire or an Emergency Room visit. Make sure you bring along copies your medical and auto insurance information.
Practical Money Skills for Life (www.practicalmoneyskills.com) is a free, award-winning, teacher-tested and teacher-approved financial education program that is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. The program contains three comprehensive sections, complete with money management resources and lesson plans tailored for use at home, in the classroom or at work. It also contains an array of tips to help prepare for life changing financial events, from planning a baby to saving for college and retirement, as well as a number of other budget calculators and interactive games. Visa also runs What's My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), a leading higher education consumer awareness program. The website guides college students through the ABC's of a FICO credit score, from factors that can lower a score to ways on improving it, at no charge.
About Visa USA
Visa USA is a leading payments brand and the nation's largest payments system, enabling banks to provide their consumer and business customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives tailored to meet their evolving needs. Visa USA is committed to increasing the choice, convenience, acceptance and security of Visa payments for all stakeholders – financial institutions, cardholders and merchants. In the United States, more than 521 million Visa-branded cards have been issued by our 13,320 financial institution customers.
Visa products generated nearly $1.8 trillion in total volume in the United States through March 2007 and enjoy unsurpassed acceptance around the globe. For more information, visit www.visa.com
For more information or to schedule an interview with a Visa USA spokesperson, please contact Romney Willson at 703-683-5004, ext. 118.
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