Should You Travel if in Debt?

The many cheaptravel options, including cheap airplane tickets, cheapdeals, discount hotel rooms, discounttravel deals, and cheap vacation packages, maketravel mighty tempting. 

Unfortunately, many American live under a mountain ofdebt.  It can easily feel like you paynothing but bills in your monthly budget, given your mortgage payment, yourstudent loans, your car loan, and your credit cards.

The average U.S. household owes a total of over $137,000,including their mortgage.  For thoseholding credit card debt, the average is over $16,000 per household.  Often the question is raised when a trip isbeing considered whether it is responsible to add travel debt.

The argument for travel includes not wanting to miss out onthe opportunity to explore the world while you are young and healthy enough toenjoy it.  However, you do not want tojeopardize your credit score or your longer-term priorities, such as retirementor your children’s college education by spending money you do not have onexpensive vacations.

The follow are tips for traveling when in debt, accordingto Sarah Schlichter:

·     Take agood look at your financial position and determine if you are keeping up withpayments on long-term debts such as your mortgage and student loads.  Are you paying down your credit cards’balances, or are you just paying the minimum as your debt balloons?  Apps and money managing services such as Mintand Quicken help users visualize where their money is going and determinewhether they are spending more than they earn.


·     Make along term financial plan and create room in your budget for travel.  You may want to transfer your credit cardbalances onto a single zero interest card for example, or take out a personalloan to pay them off at a lower rate, thereby freeing up extra cash to puttoward an inexpensive vacation.


·     Nevertake on additional debt to pay for a vacation. Instead, budget and save in advance so that you have enough to pay foryour trip up front.  In addition toestimating the cost of vacation, add an additional 20 percent to coverunforeseen expenses, and divide the total amount by the number of months youhave to save.  Proceed to put aside thatamount of money each month while continuing to make regular debt payments.


·     Considersupplementing your income with a side hustle. Side hustle ideas include driving for Lyft or Uber, selling crafts onEtsy, or renting out a spare room on Airbnb.


·     Travelwithin your means.  If you have big debt,pitch a tent in a state or national park. If you are debt free, move up to first class and a luxury hotel.  There are many ways to minimize the cost of atrip, from scoring free lodging, and finding hacker fares to using credit cardpoints for flights and even eating for free. Weekend getaways, road trips, camping trips, and even a “staycation” inyour home city can scratch your travel itch without spending a lot.


·     Getcreative.  The founder of “Solo Trekker 4U” recommends trading services for lodging, food, and most travel costs.  Consider being a nanny for a family going onvacation.  Or look into providing companioncare for seniors interested in traveling abroad or domestically.  Be a vacation dog sitter in another city orcountry.  Some people even make moneywhile traveling by doing things such as teaching English abroad.
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