In the personal finance community, there seems to be many common debates: buying new cars versus a used car, self employment and whether it is for you, and whether you should go on a vacation when you are in debt. Now that the warmer weather has passed (for some of us), you might be thinking or dreaming about your next vacation. But what if you’re in debt? Putting aside the common terms and meanings of “bad” debt and “good” debt, when do you decide whether you should continue paying off debt and sacrificing not having yet another vacation, or splurging and finally going on one?
There are some times when taking a vacation isn’t horrible, even if you do have debt. This can be if your debt is manageable. Such as if your debt is your home payment and you have money and future cash flow to pay for this. Maybe you’re going crazy at work or at home and need a relaxing break. Taking a break isn’t a bad thing! It can help clear your mind and have you more refreshed for when you start back up again.
Also, maybe you have a vacation fund, as some do. If you don’t have this yet, then start designating a certain amount of money every month or every week towards it. This way you don’t have as much guilt when you do go on a vacation. I have a friend who once took out one of those payday loans in order to go on vacation, because he wasn’t prepared and didn’t save ahead, yet he desired to go away.
However, some will argue that by having a vacation fund, that you aren’t exactly adding to your debt when you go on vacation, but you also aren’t eliminating your debt because you are still designating available funds towards some other purpose.
But what if your debt is $50,000 worth of credit card debt that you owe because you have a clothing addiction? Where do you cross the line then? These are all difficult things to think about when you’re in debt. However, there are also ways to save money if you do decide to take a vacation while still in debt, so that you can truly enjoy your vacation and not feel bad about it. Taking a vacation while you’re still in debt is not always bad!
1. Go camping
Camping is usually affordable, especially when you already have the tools and you are camping relatively close by (as compared to flying somewhere and camping there).
Camping can also be a great way to relax the mind since the normal, everyday, rush of life isn’t around you (instead nature is).
2. If you have a lot of people, drive
Driving to your vacation can usually save a lot of money if you have enough people to split the cost of the gas needed to get there and back. Buying airfare is usually only cheaper if the place is farther away or if there are a limited amount of people going on the vacation with you.
3. Bid on your hotel, couch surf, stay at a private home
These are all great ways to save on your vacation. Bidding on hotels can make the hotel very cheap, and there are many websites out there that can teach you how to get your best deal when bidding.
Couch surfing is also a great way. It is FREE! And most of the time, the people who you are staying with will show you around and are extremely friendly.
Using sites such as AIRBNB is also another great way to save. You can usually stay in a house, condo, or apartment for much cheaper, and they are much more homey and at a much better price than a hotel.