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Don't Let Poor Spending Habits Spoil Your Winter Vacation Plans

PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 13, 2012) - For some people the holiday season is synonymous with winter vacation travel. They toil hard all year to reward themselves with annual getaways to warmer climates and the gift of sun, sand and surf. According to the Bank of Montreal's 2012 Holiday Travel Outlook, released earlier this week, some 60 per cent of Canadians plan to travel over the holidays, spending an average of $563 per person on their trips.

"With the growing number of destinations and travel deals available, winter getaways have become increasingly popular," says Valley First's Karen Edge, manager, insurance services. "Unfortunately, if not planned properly, holiday expenses can blow up faster than your Christmas dinner waistband."

Edge says a winter vacation is a good way to stave off the winter blues as a holiday can work wonders when it comes to recharging the batteries. However, to guard against a potential blown budget, she recommends anyone thinking about a festive season vacation should plan properly, make sensible decisions and prepare for the unexpected.

"If a winter vacation is something you really want, you need to chart it out," says Edge. "Even though there are a growing number of last minute deals, planning is still a must. The longer you plan, the more time you give yourself to build up a healthy holiday budget."

Planning becomes even more important when the weather starts to turn. To ensure your plans aren't derailed before you even leave home, it is wise to check your travel insurance covers unexpected travel delays or cancellations.

"There are two inescapable facts winter travelers must consider," says Edge. "One, it may snow. Two, that snow may affect our travel plans. Before you spend the night on the airport departure lounge floor, you should be certain of what you are and are not entitled to if your plans are delayed. Valley First has some tremendous travel insurance products that can offer peace of mind to anyone winter traveler."

When looking for a travel deal, lowest prices can often mean highest stress. Multiple stopovers, checking and re-checking luggage and more time spent travelling than vacation.

"Booking your flights, transfer and accommodation separately may save you a few dollars up front, but it also may mean you lose out on some of the other benefits that come with pre-packaged holidays," says Edge.

"With the help of the experts at Valley First, you can plan the dream vacation without coming back to the nightmare bills that haunt many travelers."

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has approximately $6.6 billion in assets under administration, more than 169,000 members and close to 1,400 employees. For more information on Valley First, visit valleyfirst.com.

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