If you are like many, when summer rolls around you’re ready to get away but haven’t properly planned ahead for a retreat. Many fail to plan a vacation for a number of reasons. Number one, expense. It costs money to travel; even staying close to home can drain your bank account. So resorts, taking a cruise, or heading to Vegas for some excitement can seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can use your well-earned time off to do something fun, cross off a bucket-list to-do, or just recharge without breaking the bank.
One of the basics…plan for it anyway. You may not think you can do it, you may not even be thinking about vacation, or maybe you just can’t think of anything you would like to do. All of those reasons are okay. Plan for it, anyway. Life keeps happening and sometimes you need to be able to break loose at the spur of the moment.
We have all, at one time or another been in a position of stress with our job or life events where things get tough, tight, harried, and crazy. Once you can see daylight on the other side all you want to do is break away. Do it…but be ready. Stress will just end up in another area of life if you put yourself in a financial bind to flee your current stressor, so plan for it now.
As we come off of the holidays, we all crunch budget numbers and strive to save or pay off Christmas debt. Don’t be afraid to pop some vacation savings into your budget. It doesn’t have to be a lot, and the amount can grow as you go. Once you pay off one debt, it frees up money that you’ve already budgeted, so apply some of it to your vacation!
If you have a budget with built in bills, savings, overspending, and the coming Christmas that’s great! Put this year’s vacation in there, too! Yes, save some money to spend on yourself, even if it’s just five bucks. Start small and then add a little to it every time you pay off your debt. Don’t drain your savings when life gets to be too much. Start slow and build, but start.
Do you pay off your credit card balances each month? Maximize the value of your reward cards and use them for points whenever you can. Pay from your debit account after your transaction. Your flight and/or hotel room is now paid for. Free money. You didn’t even have to pay interest using your card.
Want to hit the beach but live up north? You can go during the off-peak times and save a bundle. Texas, Florida, and southern California have beautiful weather 9 of 12 months of the year. A jaunt to the south could be very cheap, even as a spontaneous get-away.
Is Vegas your dream vacation? Use your reward points! Flights to Vegas are often cheap and easy to find. You don’t have to stay on the strip, but even that can be affordable. Look at all of your options, all of your rewards, and find what works for you.
Are you worried that flights and hotels are the least of your worries in Vegas, but still want to go? There are ways to minimize your spending. Have deluxe accommodations in a casino hotel? Do not fear. Your first course of action is to go prepared. Know the rules and the games before you get there. Hit the internet to find everything you need before you decide you want to put your money on the table. I assure you, what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas. It can follow you home in the form of debt if you don’t plan for it.
Stop waiting for your ship to come in. Cruising is one of the easiest vacations to afford. If you know you want to go on a cruise you should find one that appeals to you and go for it. Most cruises can be booked on what many would look at as layaway. You can reserve your cruise and room and pay for it over time. The nice thing is, most will honor your full investment if you have to change your travel dates.
Don’t be afraid of looking forward to a great summer or fall vacation. The crunch of the holiday season will be gone soon, you’ll be used to living minimally when bills let up, so put excess to good use. Pop it into that vacation account so you don’t have to stress that bill. Happy vacation!