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Episode 254 - Why You're Still Paying for LAST Year's Vacation (And How to Stop)


Vacations should be a time for relaxation and adventure, not a period clouded by worries about debt and credit card bills. In today's post, we dive into practical tips and strategies to help you enjoy your vacation days debt-free. Join us as we discuss how to manage travel expenses like a pro, based on over a decade of debt-free living experience.  


The Cost of Vacation Debt  

Let's face it, vacations can be expensive. In the U.S., many people finance their travels using credit cards. In fact, 65% of those who use debt to pay for vacations find themselves thinking about how they're going to pay it off while they're still vacationing. Even more concerning, over one-third of people who finance their travel are still paying off their previous trips. Imagine going on a vacation with nothing on your mind except your next adventure. It's possible, and today we're sharing tips to make that a reality without the looming shadow of debt.  

The Real Cost of Vacation Debt  

Brad shares eye-opening statistics from WalletHub, indicating that more than one in three people still have credit card debt from their last vacation. Additionally, 55% of Americans plan to spend less this summer compared to last summer. Half of the Americans use credit card rewards to fund vacations, particularly for benefits like rental car insurance, travel accident insurance, and price protection.  

Hidden Costs That Blow Budgets  

Travel expenses can quickly add up. Apart from flights and accommodations, there are hidden costs like airport parking and food, which can significantly increase the total expenditure. You always think the initial cost is the total, but then you forget costs like sunscreen, which can be astronomically priced in hotel lobbies. 

Strategies for Debt-Free Travel  

When traveling to Disney, you can save a lot by bringing your own water and snacks, avoiding the high costs of in-park food. It's also smart to plan ahead and use credit card points and other rewards. 

Brad learned to budget for every part of the trip, and they even saved money for emergencies. This way, if something unexpected happens, you can afford it without stress.  

Is It Worth Going Into Debt for Vacations?  

Ryan used to go on multiple Disney trips financed by credit, which led to stress and arguments. Yet, planning and saving for vacations made them more enjoyable and stress-free. You should understand that special life moments can be planned without financial ruin. Events such as a sudden illness or a canceled flight can put a dent in your plan if you're not financially prepared. While it might seem appealing to charge it and worry later, saving and planning make the experience much more rewarding.  

Planning and Budgeting for a Stress-Free Vacation

You can plan carefully for vacations, saving a little extra for unexpected costs. By budgeting and saving ahead of time, we ensure that our trips don't follow us home financially. Scaling back on the extravagance but still enjoying the experience can save money. It's not about where you go, but the memories you make. Planning vacations can become part of your strategy to ensure that you can travel and still make debt payments. It's about finding a balance.  

The First Debt-Free Vacation Experience  

Ryan: "The first time we went on a paid-for vacation, it felt amazing. Coming home to no debts made the trip feel peaceful. It totally changed my mindset about financing travel." Brad: "Unexpected costs can arise, but having a budget makes it easier to handle them without stress. It makes for a much more enjoyable vacation."  

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