Take A Vacation
A dream vacation might feel out of reach, but there are plenty of ways to get to your destination without putting yourself hopelessly in debt.
Picking Your Destination
If you have some flexibility with your vacation destination, take some time to consider what you want to get out of the experience. Is this time for you and your family to unplug and relax, or an opportunity to do some adventurous activities like rock climbing? Pick your destination accordingly. Once you know where you’re going, consider whether there is an ‘off’ season where flights and hotel costs might be reduced. If you don’t mind traveling during that off-season, it can be a great money saver.
Also, consider alternative means of getting to your destination. A train or a car might be less expensive, and could add to the overall experience. If you have to fly, there are plenty of flight finder websites out there dedicated to helping you search for the lowest-cost airfare.
Make a Plan
As with most things, a budget is helpful when planning your getaway. The more you can break-down the costs of your trip, the better. Try to estimate what you’ll need for travel, lodging, food, entertainment, etc. Add-in a little extra for wiggle room—10% or so—so you’re covered for an extra activity or night on the town.
When you make your plan, take advantage of your savings-momentum to take care of some or all of your outstanding credit card debt. True, it might not be a direct expense of your trip, but if one of your goals is to pay-off credit card debt, chipping away at that goal whenever you can is a good strategy. Even paying down a few hundred dollars makes a difference in the amount of interest you’ll pay in the long run.
Once you know how much you need to save, create a savings account that will help you. Rivermark has a You Name It savings account that is perfect for goals like saving for your dream vacation. When your savings has a name and a specific purpose, you’ll be less likely to use those funds unless you absolutely have to.
Once you’re on the road, the best souvenir you can get is a debt-free arrival home. So, as tempting as it may be to take your eye off your spending while you’re on vacation, don’t. Keep your budget in mind, earmark the funds that you need while you’re at your destination, and carry those funds in the form of Travelers Checks. That way, you’ll be less likely to overspend, and your funds are insured if your wallet is lost or stolen.
If you find that you weren’t able to set aside all of the funds that you would need and your vacation is looming, you might consider skipping that month’s loan payments. Rivermark offers a program where you can skip your loan payments for a month to free-up extra funds. Once you apply and pay a small fee, you’ll be free from those loan payments until the next billing cycle.
Taking a vacation can build memories and give you a much-needed break from the daily grind. Planning ahead can ensure that you’re able to afford it comfortably.