If you asked me the same question 2 years back, my answer would have been “NO.”
Why? Because traveling was one of the main reasons for my debt.
After realizing that I was in utter financial trouble, I stopped traveling, not to waste money anymore.
Like me, many people would say traveling while in debt reflects the irresponsible nature of a person. But is that really true?
Now, I am free from the evil credit card debts, but not debt-free as I have some student loans to pay off.
How do I think now? Well, I think planning a trip while in debt is possible.
1. Depriving Yourself of Fun Is Demotivating
It could take quite a long span to pay off a big debt load. If you deprive yourself of fun for a long time, you may lose interest in the debt payoff goal.
In my case, I had stopped doing anything related to extra spending. It was challenging to deprive yourself of everything all the time, but I was rigid. Sometimes, it felt unsustainable. So, this time, when I am planning to pay off my student loan debt, I am more flexible than before.
Now I am following a healthy budget focused on saving and having some room for fun, too.
I love traveling, so I save some amount every month to organize a short and refreshing trip once or twice a year. I repeat, “short trip,” not a luxurious one!
2. Track Your Bank Account Before Planning a Trip
What I do now is planning, planning, and planning.
But don’t plan only for what to wear or where to stay; think about whether or not you have enough cash to pay for all expenses during the traveling. Remember, using a credit card to fund your trip is the biggest no.
Don’t accumulate more debt to travel.
Travel to de-stress yourself, not to gather additional financial stress.
Once you are confident that you have enough cash in your bank, create a separate budget for the trip and stick to it. Thus, you can avoid accumulating debt even using a credit card. Make sure you pay the balance within the period.
3. Don’t Ignore the Debt Repayment Plan You’re Following
Don’t skip any single debt payment just because you’re planning a trip. Keep making your monthly debt payments. After doing so, if you can’t afford the trip, then drop the travel plan. Or set aside a portion of the money to travel later.
If you are still unsure what debt repayment plan to follow, you’re probably not ready for travel. Your priority should be your debt. Track your debts and figure out how to pay them off.
4. Set up a Separate Savings Account
Keeping a different savings account is helpful for someone in debt but wants to travel. How? Separate savings account dedicated to funding a trip helps to understand whether or not you have enough money for it.
Another account, which is for debt repayment, will show you whether or not you have money to make the next debt payment.
Separate savings accounts help you to understand your willingness.
5. Find Out About the Interest-rate Free Debt
Paying off debt is not easy. Obligations are rigid; the interest rate increases the total debt amount. If you don’t have options other than taking out a loan, consider interest-free debt.
For example, If you want to fund your studies, then try to consider government student loan programs that are interest-free, or find out govt. Grants. If the rooftop of your home needs a significant improvement or the entire house needs a renovation, then find out low-interest-rate loans or loans from family members or friends.
Don’t take out payday loans. Usually, payday loans come with a higher interest rate, and you may get trapped into tribal payday loan debt as well. Better not to take out a payday loan.
6. Seek Professional Help When You Feel Like
Everyone doesn’t need to know about all the ways to pay off debt. Then I will agree with this statement because when I was in a horrible debt problem, I was a novice in handling money and debt.
One of my friends who knows finance had helped me to understand financial puzzles. I read a lot of personal finance articles based on debt stories. I took professional help, as well.
So, if you think you can’t manage your debt, don’t hesitate to consider professional help. Seek credit counseling to understand how to create a budget focusing on debt repayment while considering a trip.
The counselor will guide you as per your income and debt amount. If the counselor thinks you can’t manage your debt by yourself, then he/she will also suggest the best debt management service.
7. Be Open to Some Lifestyle Changes
Don’t assume that you can still live a lavish lifestyle while in debt. If you do so, you will be in severe financial trouble shortly. It is wise to accept that you have debt, and the situation requires some lifestyle changes. I am not saying to make major changes; you need to reduce some practices like making unnecessary expenses, planning random trips, frequent eating out, and excessive use of credit cards.
While in debt, your primary target should be to get out of it as soon as possible. Otherwise, the debt will spoil your financial life. It will hit your credit score majorly; you may get a rejection for a loan, even rent.
So, learn from your mistakes and build some good financial habits to stay financially blessed. You will see that you can still enjoy your life. A healthy financial life includes planning a trip and having fun. You need to organize your money as per your priorities.
Lastly, I will suggest you not stop earning extra money just because you’re on a trip. You may require some extra earnings to pay off your debt. Yes, a side hustle works excellently to pay off debt fast. But, if you’re planning for the trip when in debt, don’t stop working. Try to continue the job while traveling.
How? If you’re doing an online job, then carry a computer and finish your job at any time when you’re free. If you’re doing a part-time job, then ask your employer to give you a project that you can finish while on a trip. I know it may not be possible, but you should try your best to keep earning money while traveling. Thus, you can make debt payments as much as possible without worrying about the post-travel financial problem.
Robin Edwards, often hailed as "The Penny Hunter" by her close circle, is not just a financial writer; she's a financial educator committed to helping people understand the value of every penny. With a background in finance and a knack for simplifying complex financial concepts, Robin has become a go-to resource for those looking to take control of their financial destiny. With her zero-based budgeting method, she's changing the way we think about money, one dollar at a time.