I cannot WAIT for my kiddos to get out of school! We have so many summer plans and we are taking a big old roadtrip in August. This is the first big road trip we will be taking in a long time, and I’m a little nervous as a single mom, but I know it will be fun. And I definitely chose this type of trip because I knew it would be affordable. Since I have been making a huge effort to take chunks out of my student loans, I don’t want to add more debt. Which is why I’m super happy to pass on these awesome tips from author Rachel Cruz for taking a summer vacation without breaking the bank!
- Make a budget.
I know it sounds boring, but this is the most important thing you can do if you want to take a trip without going broke. Before you start daydreaming about a Caribbean cruise, take a good, honest look at how much you can afford to spend on a vacation this year—and stick to that number! Avoid the temptation to spend more than you have. Trust me, you’ll have more fun on your trip if you aren’t worrying about unexpected expenses.
- Pick a location.
Maybe you can’t swing a luxury condo on the beach this year. That’s fine. Challenge yourself to get creative about where you can stay. You don’t have to stick to the traditional trips, like the beach or a big city. Consider going somewhere smaller or doing something totally new—like taking a family camping trip. National park admissions cost very little compared to the big resorts. And the memories you take home will cost nothing!
- Set a daily allowance.
As the spender in my family, I know how easy it is to get caught up in the excitement of a vacation and spend too much, too soon. Just ask my husband! But the last thing you want to do on your trip is blow all your food money at the beginning and be left snacking on cereal for dinner until you get home. Or even worse, go way over budget and leave your bank account in a post-vacation mess. So, set a daily spending allowance to cover all the food and fun.
- Focus on the family.
Once you hit the highway, remember why you’re going on vacation in the first place. It isn’t about squeezing in as many big-ticket adventures as possible. It’s about taking time to rest, relax, and make memories. Don’t feel like you have to go out to fancy restaurants every night or pick up a new souvenir every day. Vacation is about quality time together, not the receipts and trinkets you collect along the way.
Remember, the purpose here isn’t to spoil your fun. The purpose is to set you up financially to have even more fun later. If you simply can’t afford a vacation without pulling out your credit card, just take a year or two off from traveling. It won’t kill you. Don’t forget that vacation is a want, not a need.
The best vacations are those that don’t follow you home.
About Rachel Cruze
As a #1 New York Times best-selling author and seasoned communicator, Rachel Cruze helps Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She’s authored two best-selling books: Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey. You can follow Cruze on Twitter and Instagram at @RachelCruze and online at rachelcruze.com, youtube.com/rachelcruze or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.