Picture this. You spend a wonderful week away relaxing and forgetting the worries at home. The kids have fun playing in the sand or at the amusement park. You eat amazing food, sleep in and come back completely refreshed. One month later you open the mailbox to credit card bills which don’t take you back to the enjoyment of your vacation, but rather the stress of now paying for it!
How can you avoid this? The best thing to do is to still stick with cash. You can pay for your tickets with a debit card*. You can rent a car with your debit card*. You can use it just like a debit card just about anywhere. There is no reason to pull out a credit card or open a new one simply for your vacation.
When you do travel, stick with cash or travelers checks if possible. You should be use to using cash and you know that when you have to track your spending, you tend to spend less than you normally w0uld. The same is true on vacation. You can take along your envelopes – just modify them for your trip:
Hotel (if you using cash rather than debit)
If you do use cash, make sure you do not take all of it with you on every outing. Request a safe in your hotel room and keep it locked up (many hotels now have this included as a standard feature).
One way to save is on dining out. Rather than purchase breakfast out each morning (if your hotel does not include one), you can stop by the store and pick up a few items for your morning meal. You can request a refrigerator in your room so you can keep milk and other items chilled. You can also pick up snacks or even items to make sandwiches for lunch. If you can limit your actual dining out to one meal a day, you really can save money.
Perhaps your budget is too tight to allow for a vacation this year. Why not do a stay-cation instead? You can set up your own water park in your backyard. You can turn on the game and make your favorite ballpark foods and have a game day at home. You can even visit local tourist destinations in your own city. Nothing says you have to travel more than 10 minute from your home to have a great time with your family.
No matter what you plan to do this summer, just make sure you budget everything on your trip. By doing that, you can help ensure you don’t overspend and you don’t end up back at Step 1 — Learning how to get out of Debt — when you get home. There is nothing worse than walking into the door, tired from vacation to see a hefty credit card bill lying in wait.
*Make sure you card is a bank card with credit/debit features otherwise, it may not be accepted. Contact your banking institution if you are not sure.