Summer is already here, and you probably wonder if it is a good idea to go on vacation if you are in debt. Well, this depends on how much you owe, your monthly payment amounts, and whether you plan a short trip to the countryside or a long summer vacation overseas. This also depends on your income and expenses, the number of family members, and other factors.
When Vacation Is Not an Option
In some cases, vacation is not an option, and you may want to think of other ways to have a good time. This is the case when you have:
- High-interest debts
- Multiple debts with large outstanding balances
- Seasonal or part-time job
- Unstable income
If you have to add more debt to go on vacation, then it may be better to change your summer plans and put off your trip. If you have paid vacation days, on the other hand, this is definitely a plus. In any case, if going on vacation is a source of stress and you are in a precarious financial situation, it may be better to put off your trip. There are other questions to ask yourself before you make a decision, and one is how quickly you want to get rid of your debts. If you want to repay your debts within a short period, then going on a short vacation or putting off your trip makes more sense. If you have a 25-year mortgage with affordable payments, you don’t have to wait for 25 years to go on vacation. If, on the other hand, you have a payday loan with a short term of 1 – 2 months and a very high interest rate, then it is best to pay it off first. If money is in short supply and you go on vacation, you may incur an extremely high interest rate. This will only make things worse.
Obviously, to go on vacation, you should save enough money for plane tickets, accommodation, travel, leisure activities, dining, car rentals, and anything else. By charging purchases on your card you will spend a lot on interest charges. Interest charges add up if you only pay the minimum and you will end up paying dearly. This is especially true if you hold a high-interest credit card, whether a specialty or standard card. At the same time, if you have a travel credit card, you may want to redeem your points for airfare and accommodation to save money. Many travel credit cards feature complimentary welcome bonuses, rewards points to redeem for travel expenses, affordable travel packages, discounts, room upgrades, and a lot more.
If your monthly payments are reasonable, travelling on a budget is one option to consider. If you don’t mind staying in hostels, this will save you a lot of money. Hostels are inexpensive compared to other accommodation options such as cottages, rental homes, resorts, family hotels, etc. What is more, you can choose from different types of hostels such as boutique or luxury hostels, eco and design hostels, party and surf hostels, and others. It all depends on your budget, preferences, and destination. Some hostels even offer free food such as BBQ, baked goods, instant coffee, milk, a choice of cereals, and a lot more. If you choose a hostel that offers free breakfast, you will save more. If breakfast is not offered, then you can have a big meal at lunch. Many budget restaurants offer lunch specials for cheap. Another idea is to shop at food courts, stores, and markets near closing time which is when you will find deeply discounted food items.
Check short-term rental homes as well. Some rental homes are quite affordable, especially those that are away from busy locations. Many short-term vacation homes have a fully equipped kitchen as well. Plus if you travel with a friend or companion, you can split the costs.
If you have camping gear or you can borrow from a friend or relative, this is also an option to consider. You may also buy used camping gear and equipment. You will need camping equipment and essentials such as:
- Sleeping bags
- Thrash bags
- Aluminum foil
- Campfire grill
- Dish pan
- Cutting board
- Can opener
- Folding table
- Folding chairs
Don’t forget to bring your first aid kit with you. Pack things such as your sunscreen, bug repellant, bee sting kit, cotton swabs, roll bandages, splinting materials, antiseptic wipes, personal medications, and anything else you can think of.
Book in Advance to Save Money
Book air travel, bus travel, hostel or hotel accommodation, and train journeys well in advance. This will save you a lot of money. It is best to book at least 1 month in advance because prices tend to go up. Usually prices go up the closer you get to your departure date or trip. To save even more, you may want to consider going on vacation during low season and off-peak season when hotels and flights are cheaper compared to peak season.
Choose a Budget Destination
If you have outstanding balances, it is best to choose a budget destination such as India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, or Honduras. Check low-cost airlines which serve major hubs and airports. The main benefit is obviously the low price of tickets. On the downside, low-cost carriers offer fewer amenities compared to standard airlines. Budget destinations such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and others have plenty to offer – affordable accommodation and food, breathtaking nature, beaches and palm trees, tea and coffee plantations, waterfalls, lakes, mountains, temples, and more. An air-conditioned room equipped with amenities, Wi-Fi, dining facilities, spa and a swimming pool can cost you as little as $50 – $60. In fact, some hotels feature rooms with a view of the garden or beach and a private hot tub and sauna for as little as $50, with superb breakfast included in the price. Other budget destinations include the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Greece, Bulgaria, and Hungary.
Opt for a Cruise Vacation
One alternative is to choose an inexpensive cruise. The price of a cruise usually includes different dining options for snacks, dinner, lunch, brunch, and breakfast, your stateroom, amenities, waterslides, pools, and evening shows. The price also includes room service, youth and kids’ programs, a fitness center, lounges, entertainment and live music. Non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages are usually not included in the price and so are specialty restaurants, photos, shore excursions, and video games. The same goes for tips and service gratuities, laundry services, beauty salon services, and spa treatments. If you have children, check whether kids under the age of 18 sail free.
Saving Money While on Vacation
There are other ways to save money while on vacation to avoid overextending yourself and adding more debt. If you plan a vacation at home, you may want to shorten it. Why not pick a desired location to spend a few days with family, friends, and loved ones? Just choose an affordable location and make it a weekend-long trip to visit places of interest, attractions, and nature wonders. Choose a location nearby or within a 3 – 4-hour drive to save on gas. This way, you will also have more time for leisure and fun activities. Instead of doing local trips, you can visit friends or family to spend time with them. If they are willing to host you, you will save on accommodation as well.