The summer vacation season is now upon us and perhaps you are in the final stages of getting ready to take your long awaited break. I know my wife and I are very excited about our upcoming vacation. We are huge baseball fans and we’ll be doing our first baseball tour. We are starting in the Mid West; 10 days, 6 games, 6 different major league stadiums, one great road trip.
Apart from doing something we love together, one of the best parts of this vacation is that it will not be following us home. We are taking this vacation with the peace of mind that all expenses will be covered without borrowing money. We want you to also experience this peace of mind so here are my 3 Tips for a Debt Free Vacation:
1. Plan Early
My wife and I started discussing this trip at the end of last year’s baseball season. We decided what we wanted to do, when we wanted to do it, and how we wanted to do it. We discussed flying vs. taking a road trip, how many days we would be gone, which area of the country we would first visit, etc. You need a plan so you can control what happens with the expenses.
2. Start saving now
After having a good idea of what we wanted to do, we could start putting together a budget with separate categories: gas, lodging, tickets, food, etc. That gave us a target for the total amount required so we could then build up our vacation “sinking” fund with plenty of time. Dedicated savings will keep you strong against the temptation of borrowing any money.
3. Purchase Ahead
Ideally, you would have saved enough of the required amount for your vacation 1 or 2 months before the start of the vacation. That means you can start paying for some items ahead of time. In our case, we had plenty of time to secure the best available seats within our price range. We also booked hotel rooms early which provides not only for peace of mind but also for savings. Some hotels offer discount rates if you pay the full amount ahead of time. In addition, we chose hotels close to the stadiums or to public transportation so we could save on gas and on parking fees at the ball parks.
A vacation is really a great opportunity to push pause on the day to day grind. It is good for your health both physical and mental. But guard against doing something that will harm your financial health. If this advice comes a little late for this year, do not despair. You can always decide to do something different next time. Start early and plan carefully so you can enjoy the benefits of a debt free vacation.
“All pleasure is bought at a price. For the legitimate pleasure you pay before.
For the illegitimate pleasure you pay after.”