How to Go on a Debt-Free Vacation
Q: I’m sad to say we’ve never been on a vacation without putting it on a credit card. How can we go on a debt-free vacation this year?
Rachel: Great question. Going on a debt-free vacation is totally doable! Here’s how:
Plan. I’ve said this so many times that I probably sound like a broken record (or is it a scratchy CD?). But I can’t emphasize it enough. Unless you have a tablecloth made of $100 bills, you’ll need to save for your vacation. This requires time, which might mean you need to start budgeting for next year’s vacation right now.
Stay home. You don’t want to go into debt. So if the numbers don’t work, there’s nothing wrong with taking a year off from traveling and going on a “staycation” instead. Treat your home like a condo: no major chores or do-it-yourself projects. Just relax and explore some of the activities you can do right in your hometown.
Research. If you have a little money saved for vacation, you want to stretch it as much as possible. Use the internet to look for freebies, like breakfast or additional nights at hotels. Search for coupon codes or discounts if you’re going to a place like Disney World. When it comes to researching good deals, you can never be too thorough!
Change your thinking. If you can’t afford a weeklong vacation at the beach, what about a three- or four-day weekend in the mountains? How much money could you save by not eating out on vacation—or by staying in the “garden view” room instead of the “ocean view” room? Or, instead of going on vacation in summer, what if you planned an off-season trip, maybe during fall break, when rates aren’t as high? Be open to alternative cheaper options.
Remember, the purpose here isn’t to spoil your fun. The purpose is to set you up financially to be able to have even more fun later.
The best vacations are those that don’t follow you home!