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How To Budget A Vacation While Having Student Debt

That time of year, vacation season, brings peace, relaxation and the potential for financial worries. However, a stress free break from an intense work schedule should not pose a stressful conflict with your pockets. Further, if you have student debt, that shouldn’t prevent you from going on vacation! It is important to budget accordingly though so that you don’t overspend.

So, just for you, here are five useful tips.

1. Make sure your vacation doesn’t impact your debt payoff plan!

If you have student debt or credit card debt, make sure you have a plan to pay it off (Snowball Wealth can help with this!)

One way to save for a vacation WITHOUT going into debt is to create a sinking fund. This is basically a separate account where you deposit a certain amount every pay period (or any chance you get!) and use it for a specific purpose. This sinking fund can even be in a high-yield savings account to increase this money even more. In this case, it would be your vacation sinking fund.

2. Try to travel during the off-season.

Believe it or not, summertime is the worst for your wallet. As the kids scream school’s out and the sun is bright and beautiful, the months of June through September present the worst time of the year to travel. So, if in your power, aim to spend that vacation time during what travel experts have coined the “dead zone”. This time refers to January, October and early December, being significant time prior to Christmas of course. Travelling at this time of year allows you to avoid the surging prices of summer and skip out on much of the crowded airports as well.

3. Look for less expensive hotel alternatives.

We would all enjoy ending a nice, fulfilling day of travel at a lovely nearby Ritz Carlton. However, until the budget allows for it, a more accessible housing situation is necessary. Thankfully, the market has allowed for places like Airbnbs and hostels to thrive in avoidance of overpriced hotels. Therefore, when on the search for housing during your travels, it’s important to weigh out all options. Yes, this includes considering that family member’s spacious guest room if need be. Further, alternate establishments, such as Airbnbs, sometimes present the best bargains, enough to feel as though you’ve spent more than you really have. Lastly, weigh out the costs and benefits of housing on the outskirts versus the center of a city. A slightly longer commute might generously save you money.

4. For international travel, visit places where the US dollar is worth more.

The beauty of differing currencies is that when converted for the location of travel, many times you can stretch your US dollar further. This occurs because when the dollar is stronger than the currency of your vacation spot, your money will pay for more there than it would in the US. Basically $1 might pay for two bagels instead of just one. This might just prove that sometimes the economy works in your favor. In short, go where you can get more bang for your buck.

5. Set a firm daily budget and stick to it.

Vacationing is all about planning. That is, planning your meals, tourist spots, and most importantly how much you’ll be putting towards each. You have to draw the line at impulse spending somewhere. So, before you even step foot in the location of your luscious vacation, make sure to practice discipline and decide your budgets beforehand. This works rather efficiently when you get down to the specifics as much as possible. How much will you spend on food, souvenirs, and attractions each day? You don’t really need that necklace, the street vendor is just really good at talking you into it. But, you could budget that in as well.

Overall, the best travelers plan their vacations around both mental and financial peace of mind. These tips will allow you to travel like the best and feel at your best without the stresses of overspending.

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