Taking a break from your regular routine can be essential to maintaining both your mental and physical health. In fact, that’s one reason why most employers offer a certain number of vacation days to their employees each year.
But when you are trying to get out of debt, you may think the last thing you need to do is spend more money to take a vacation. You may ask yourself if you even “deserve” to take a vacation while in debt.
Should you use your vacation days from work to travel and get away from real life for a while? Should you just save the money and put it toward debt instead?
Overall, I think paying off debt takes grit and sacrifice, which is why on the surface, I’d say you shouldn’t spend the money to take a vacation while in debt. BUT, you have to live a little along the way to avoid debt burnout, which could cause a much bigger setback.
My advice is to to find a balance between taking no vacation and taking an expensive vacation. There are ways you can keep the costs down so you don’t end up with more debt from your getaway.
Of course, the more people you take on your vacation, the higher the cost of lodging will be. However, if you don’t have kids yet or they are a little older, maybe you could go camping. Or, to keep prices in check, search the internet for ways to find cheaper lodging through TripAdvisor or Airbnb. You can also rent out your own home through some of the home swap sites to help earn a little money while you’re traveling.
Grab that ice chest you have been storing in the garage, dust it off, and wash out the inside. If you are taking a road trip, you can plan ahead and pack the food items you need to take with you. Use the cooler for the few items you need to keep cold and keep another container in the car for the other items not requiring refrigeration. When you start to run low on essentials, such as bread or cheese for sandwiches, make a quick stop at a local grocery store to pick up more. Even if you splurge on things like pre-cut fruit at the store, it will be a lot cheaper and healthier than fast food.
Thankfully, current gas prices aren’t what they were a few years ago. Taking a road trip in your car is usually cheaper than flying, and much more desirable than taking a bus. Of course, depending on where you live, there are also trains to consider as a transportation choice to your destination. Any of these options can be economical if you take the time to shop ahead and know where you are heading.
Look for free or low cost activities for your vacation, such as going to a lake or beach. In addition, consider museums, hiking, or just walking around on your own taking in all of the sites. A vacation can be a fun adventure without having to spend a fortune for guided tours or other expensive activities.
5. Pay in Cash
Save cash in a sinking fund to pay for your vacation. This way you won’t rack up a single cent in debt for your getaway. Of course, that doesn’t make your vacation free, but it can make it do-able.
6. Take a Shorter Trip
Sometimes your schedule, or budget, will not allow you to take a week off and head somewhere exotic. However, that shouldn’t mean you have to give up taking a break altogether. Simply make it a short one for only a weekend or a couple of days during the week. You can still have some fun without breaking the bank.
Taking a break now and then from your regular routine is not only good for you, but it can be a priority for good health. Whether or not you should take a vacation while in debt is ultimately up to you.
Are you planning to take a vacation before your debt is paid off? How will you keep it cheap?