Managing your money and paying off debt can feel like a never ending process. And, if you have a long term debt repayment plan, you may find yourself wondering if you can realistically take a vacation without feeling guilty and/or potentially wrecking your financial progress.
Whether or not you travel while having debt is a personal decision.
Personally, I did travel when I had student loan debt (read more about how I paid off $40,000 in student loans in 7 months here). They were usually short trips, and I always made sure to budget for them while keeping them as affordable as possible.
And, we still had a great time!
We went to Puerto Rico, Kauai, and many other places, and each trip was done affordably.
Plus, it was a great way to feel refreshed so that I could enjoy life while working towards my financial goals.
See, I believe the key is finding a healthy balance. Luckily, I didn't have any super high-interest rate debt, so going on vacation didn't stress me out as bad or derail my financial progress. I also didn't add to my debt by going on vacation, and I knew not to splurge on travel either.
I know others who have debt but still spend thousands of dollars on each of their vacations, and they also believe that this is the only way to travel.
That is not correct at all!
You can still enjoy life on a budget, but it's all about having a good balance and seeking out what will work best for your situation.
For example: If you have high-interest rate debt that is building up each month and becoming more and more unmanageable, then I do not recommend going on an expensive vacation. Instead, enjoy the area that you live in for free, which is still very possible to do! In my opinion, spending money on a vacation would just add to the stress while money would be better used towards paying off your debt. This will make sure that you don't put yourself into a deeper hole.
For today's post, I would like to start a discussion in the comments below. Below is my opinion for traveling while having debt, and I'd love to hear your opinions in the comments as I know that opinions will vary.
Related content on how to travel on a budget:
- How To Take A 10 Day Trip To Hawaii For $22.40
- How To Enjoy Life Without Going Broke
- The Ultimate Guide To Getting Started RVing
- How To Save Money For Long-Term Travel
How to travel if you have debt:
Find a way to travel affordably.
Travel is great. However, it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to enjoy your vacation.
If you still have debt, especially a lot of high-interest rate debt that is causing you to live paycheck to paycheck, then you will want to find a way to enjoy yourself affordably while on a trip.
This may mean taking a staycation and exploring the town you currently live in, instead of splurging on an expensive vacation across the globe.
Here are tips for traveling affordably:
- Take a staycation. Like I discussed above, if you have a lot of debt and need to put as much money as you can towards your debt, then a staycation is probably your best bet. I recommend finding free events and other free things to do in your area so that you are spending as little as possible.
- Budget for the whole trip. Budgets are always a good idea!
- Don't slow down your debt repayment plan. If you don't have the money to travel, then you may just want to skip the travel or find a way to make/save extra money in order to do so.
- If you have the gear to camp, camp! Camping can be expensive, so I wouldn't recommend that everyone go out and buy new gear to do it. However, if you already have camping gear, then it can be a great way to travel somewhere affordably and see the beautiful outdoors. Read How To Find Free Camping for budget friendly camping ideas.
Related tip: My preferred way to travel affordably is to stay in short-term rental vacation homes such as Airbnb (this will give you a $30 Airbnb coupon code for your next stay). Airbnb vacation home rates are usually comparable or cheaper than a hotel, plus you usually have more room and there is usually a kitchen as well. Also, if you have a lot of people going on vacation with you, you can split a house for a much cheaper price than it would be for everyone to get a hotel room. Read my Airbnb review The Many Positives Of Using Airbnb Plus a Coupon Code For Your Next Vacation!
Whatever you do – don't take on more debt.
I've heard countless stories of people taking on more debt in order to go on a vacation and to travel more.
In fact, one story I often share here on Making Sense of Cents is one of the worst stories I've heard about this. This person would take out thousands of dollars in extra student loans to pay for timeshares and cruise vacations.
And, they would actually brag about this!
To take a vacation, you should never take on debt (using credit card travel hacking is a different story and can be done wisely). Taking on debt to travel will just dig your debt hole even deeper, which will cause a lot of stress and probably make you regret taking a vacation in the first place.
You want good memories to come from the trip that you take, not stress, regret, and other negative feelings when you think about your vacation.
Vacations are great and all, but taking on debt to go on them is 99.999999% of the time not worth it.
Let's start a discussion. Do you think people should take a vacation if they have debt? Why or why not?