As for year-end approaches, people are sitting back and making travel plans, but many are hesitant about it on finding their debts to be cleared. The question many asks is “how can I make travel plans while in debt?”
In fact, you don’t have to be totally debt free to plan your trip! Everything we want to see across the globe can be ours, and there are plenty of travel enthusiasts do it while they are actively paying off their debts. I traveled for five years before I was debt free. In this article, we will share some expert thoughts with the experienced travelers for the debtors to consider.
The two golden rules
You may find people saying that it is irresponsible to plan for travel while debt and also that it can be a waste of money which you can other use to pay off the existing debts.
But do you think it is really so? Is necessary that you have to drop all your travel plans and focus on debts?
If you are in really bad debts, then it may take a lot of time for you to pay it off fully. Depriving yourself of everything else which can effectively contribute to your happiness and well-being to focus on debts may be an unrealistic plan. Being in debt, what you have to do is to practice self-control and it is simply impossible to deny yourself all other sources of happiness and motivation all the time. Some people find fun in eating out, some people have to shop, and some others want to travel. Any financial planner will also suggest you make room for fun by including those into your healthy budget even when you are in debt.
So, it is okay to travel when you are in debt if you know how to solve problems with debts.
Rule #1: Remember not to fall into more debt to travel.
Before you make your travel plans, check your existing accounts and cash balances. Ensure that you have enough cash left to pay off all your expenses during the trip. It can be better put this way as to make your travel plan according to the cash balance you have and not by succumbing to more loans for travel.
The primary thing to consider on planning to travel during the time of debt payoff is to consider if you can afford cash for payments. This primarily means not putting anything on your credit cards, but to make the payment up front in cash. In fact, as per experts, you don’t have to carry cash to pay for things, but make sure that you have cash in reserve to meet the expected expenses. You may use your credit card also to pay for the goods you purchase during the trip, but make sure that you have enough balance to pay off the due without defaulting.
Rule #2: Stick to the debt repayment schedule
If you have to make a monthly payback of $200 to pay off your debt, then keep on doing it even when you are traveling. If you have to compromise on this schedule, the revisit your travel plans. Scrutinize your papers and how you can pay off our debts along with your travel expenses effectively. With a bit of research and proper planning, you can easily manage to pay off your debts while exploring the world around.
By sticking to a proper plan, you will find that traveling while in debt is not only practical, but also affordable. Some tips as follow.
Make unique travel plans
You may plan your trip different than in the past. For example, if your previous vacation spots were 5-star hotels and resorts, now you can consider opting for affordable accommodation like a home exchange, house-sitting, etc. which even comes for free. If you cannot afford international trips, then think of short but enjoyable local trips to discover your home state or nation. Shorter trips to count as travel, and most of the times, more enjoyable too. The excitement of travel is inexperienced, something new and there are plenty of such unexplored experiences at places nearby to you too.
2. Utilize the travel rewards
If you are very sure of using the credit cards with a responsible spending plan, then consider using the travel reward cards. There is a number of options coming with credit card services as travel rewards. On signing up for a new travel reward credit card, you may receive a bonus which may be worth enough to meet many of your expenses during a trip. There may be affiliated hotels and other destinations where you may enjoy free or reduced fee services through privilege points.
Use such travel reward cards to gain more mileage. You have to spend some money anyway, so put it in wisely to work back for you when you shop and pay bills to get further travel rewards. However, keep a close eye on your credit score too and if your credit score is not that good, then don’t try for this as it may add on to your existing debts.
3. Do extensive research
While traveling in debt, you have to do extensive research to stick to your budget. Explore options and do a comparative analysis to find the most affordable options at your destinations. Understand the average cost for food and accommodation at the place. Explore the cheap attractions and free destinations to explore. Here are some essential money management tips from experts.
It is best to use the third-party booking sites to search for hotels and restaurants as they can compare the prices and suggest the best ones for you within your budget. Do the same for travel transportation too where the third-party booking sites will act handy.
Above all, effective use of social media too can help you in better planning your travel while in debt. Simply post a status update on the Facebook page or leave Twitter tweet with which your friends know where you are and make appropriate recommendations and suggestions. Be reassured that just by being more diligent and vigilant, you can have even more enjoyable trips while in debt without further worsening your financial conditions.