How to Stay Debt Free on Your Summer Vacation
About to hit the beaches somewhere in Hawaii? Or backpack through the national parks around New Mexico or Utah?
Travel expenses can pile up quickly enough to leave you reeling from the backlash. In fact, a LearnVest survey conducted last year showed that a whopping 74 percent of Americans went into debt to pay for their vacation in 2017.
There are now great debt solutions out there (see https://www.getfreeofbills.com/) for recovering from costly financial decisions. But why go into debt over your summer vacation unnecessarily? With a few modifications and a sharp eye on certain pitfalls, your bout of wanderlust does not need to mean a painful credit card bill on your return.
Here’s how to stay clear of debt—and still have a blast on your vacation.
Know what you can afford.
Your travel plans should start with a realistic view of what you can afford to spend on your vacation. Crunch the numbers and come up with an overall total number that won’t jeopardize the rest of your year.
Based off of the number you came up with, estimate how much you can spend on travel costs, eating out costs, lodging, and entertainment. Spending less in a certain category will mean more to spend in another category.
The best deals are found ahead of time.
It’s rare that a cheap and good option falls into your lap the day you arrive at your destination. It is not impossible. Just unlikely.
What’s more likely to happen? You’re faced with tourist traps that hike up prices for the summer–for food, lodging, and anything else that catches your eye.
Rest assured, these are not local prices that you are looking at. If you want reasonable prices, do your homework. Start with looking for the best cheap destinations and then move on to lodging once you’ve nailed down where you want to go.
If you have a friend in the area where you’ll be visiting, ask them for the best places to frequent that have prices within the range you’re comfortable with. If you have no one on the ground, check out TripAdvisor and Google reviews to get an idea of prices and how highly certain establishments are rated.
Think outside of the box for lodging and food experiences.
Serious about keeping your summer vacation within budget? What if your budget is on the smaller side of the scale? Get creative.
Instead of a hotel or a bed and breakfast, consider renting a cabin or pitching a tent. Airbnb also provides rooms that are much cheaper than other accommodations in the area. You could even house swap if a friend in another country is up for it.
For cheap food solutions while traveling, find out when the town’s local food market is. Before you begin your travels write down the address of the local grocery shop. Shop there to stock up on breakfasts and snack foods. Use apps and sites to not only find the best deals but also to score coupons for restaurants and eateries in your area.
Hotel room service is an easy way for accommodations to make extra money off of your stay. So avoid it like the plague.
Forget Instagram and just enjoy.
Did your past vacations consist of you trying to capture the perfect Instagram shot? Did you come home from that vacation feeling unsatisfied and way over budget? Want a different experience this year?
Forget trying to impress people on Instagram with snapshots of food and expensive and outrageous cocktails. Instead, hone in on what you enjoy, not what will get you the most Instagram likes. If all you need for happiness is long walks on the beach, focus on that. Of course, if fancy cocktails are the point of your vacation then go for it.
But just know who you’re doing it to please. Pleasing your Instagram followers on your vacation will come at a steep price tag.
Be drink savvy.
Having a happy hour at the bar or restaurant can jack up your total bill by a mile. If drinking out is your special entertainment and what you most enjoy about your vacation, by all means, indulge.
But if it’s not such a big deal to you, then definitely skip ordering drinks when out. Not only will the extra booze in your system cause you to overeat–which means extra weight to work off after vacation. But it could also cause you to spend more on the meal then you wanted!
Keep these money essentials in mind as you set off on your trip. And you will be able to stretch your hard-earned dollar all the way to your desired destination and back again.