Ever had a vacation hangover? No, I’m not talking about how you took a trip to Cabo and drank waaaay too many umbrella drinks and wound up almost drowning because you were passed out on the beach when high tide started rolling in.
Most all of us like to take a vacation at some time during the year, and whether you like to go to the beach, the mountains, tour in an RV, or go on a cruise, vacations can get really expensive, really quickly.
A vacation is always such a great time to kick back, relax, and do some things you might not get to do during your normal 9-5 workaday life. But if you’re using debt to fund that trip it can be very easy to get carried away and put yourself in a black hole of vacation debt that is miserable to pay off and can actually end up causing financial stress in your life, negating the relaxation you experienced on your trip.
Best Cure for a Vacation Hangover
So what’s the best cure for a vacation hangover? The best hangover cure is to prevent the hangover in the first place.
I’ve found that the best way to take an anti-hangover vacation (at least debt wise anyway) is to save up throughout the year and pay cash. Of course, that means doing things a little differently than most people, such as:
- Make your vacation a line item in your budget- You are doing a written budget right? (read how to get one started here) Just put a little money back every month so that when vacation time comes, you don’t even have to think about running up a credit card balance.
- Take the vacation you can afford- Using 12 months worth of saved cash instead of a credit card saves you money because you’re not spending money you don’t have. When you decide to use credit you will almost always spend more than if you use real money because using credit doesn’t feel like real money. Credit is so frictionless to use that it becomes very easy to spend more than you intended, especially when you’re on vacation and having a good time.
- Take less vacation if your income is down- Using credit can make it easier to take that same vacation to the high end resort you’ve been going to every year instead of going somewhere a little less ritzy that you can actually afford. It’s a trap that is very easy to fall into when credit is your vacation funding of choice. Once your income recovers you can go back to the fancy resort, this time with cash!
Taking your vacations using saved up cash is a great way to take a fun vacation without ending up with that miserable pit in your stomach when you get back. You know the one I’m talking about, the one that gnaws at your belly while you ask yourself, “My God, how did we spend that much money, and how long is it going to take to pay that off?”
I know all about that feeling, I’ve been there.
I also know about the great feeling of paying for our trips with cash and having no pit in my stomach when I return home, relaxed and unconcerned because I have not created a vacation hangover for myself and my family. Angie and I have been doing it that way for years now, and I can certainly testify that it beats the alternative hands down!
It may be too late this year to pay for your vacation with cash, but if you start saving now, next year you’ll be amazed at the great feeling you have when you arrive back home without that miserable vacation debt hangover.