Summer Trips: 4 Ways to Go on Vacation Without Going Into Debt by Donna John
Whether you have kids or you’re single, there’s an expectation that summertime has to include going somewhere for a week, staying in a hotel and eating nice dinners. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the problems start when you go on trips you can’t afford. Rachel Cruze, author of "Love Your Life, Not Theirs" and "Smart Money Smart Kids," which she co-wrote with her dad, Dave Ramsey, says you don't have to go into debt for a getaway! It’s absolutely possible to take a summer vacation without breaking the bank.
- Make a budget. It sounds boring, but this is the most important thing you can do if you want to take a trip without going broke. Before you start daydreaming about a Caribbean cruise, take a good, honest look at how much you can afford to spend on a vacation this year – and stick to that number!
- Pick a location. Maybe you can’t swing a luxury condo on the beach this year. That’s fine. Challenge yourself to get creative about where you can stay. You don’t have to stick to the traditional trips, like the beach or a big city. Consider going somewhere smaller or doing something totally new – like taking a family camping trip. National park admissions cost very little compared to the big resorts. And the memories you take home will cost nothing!
- Set a daily allowance. It is to get caught up in the excitement of a vacation and spend too much, too soon. But the last thing you want to do on your trip is blow all your food money at the beginning and be left snacking on cereal for dinner until you get home. Or even worse, go way over budget and leave your bank account in a post-vacation mess. So, set a daily spending allowance to cover all the food and fun.
- Focus on the family. Once you hit the highway, remember why you’re going on vacation in the first place. It isn’t about squeezing in as many big-ticket adventures as possible. It’s about taking time to rest, relax and make memories. Don’t feel like you have to go out to fancy restaurants every night or pick up a new souvenir every day. Vacation is about quality time together, not the receipts and trinkets you collect along the way.
Remember, the purpose here isn’t to spoil your fun. The purpose is to set you up financially to have even more fun later. If you simply can’t afford a vacation without pulling out your credit card, just take a year or two off from traveling. It won’t kill you. Don’t forget that vacation is a want, not a need. The best vacations are those that don’t follow you home.
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