Should You Go on Vacation While Paying Off Debt?

Should you take vacations while you are paying off debt? If you are super focused on getting out of debt then is it worth it to take a vacation?

I recently took a vacation with my mom, but I haven’t forgotten about paying off debt! I’m sharing my reasons why we took this vacation, ways to make it cheaper and ways to make it work while paying off debt.

I plan on taking vacations and enjoying them where I can but I also know that keeping things on a budget and staying on the frugal side of traveling helps make it possible while you are still paying off debt.

In the video I share a few of the ways we were able to take thing vacation while paying off debt thanks to some budget tips and tricks for traveling.

Why I Think You Should Take Vacations When In Debt

Personally, I think you should still travel even if you are paying off debt.

Some money experts recommend skipping vacations while you are paying off debt. Personally I’ve struggled with that concept and always traveled in the past when paying off debt. I still plan on traveling and taking vacations while paying off debt because it’s important to me to enjoy life and find the balance between enjoyment and smart personal finance moves.

Life doesn’t end just because you are trying to get out of debt.

Reasons why you should take vacations while in debt:

  1. You’ll have the chance to relax and refocus on your goals.
  2. You will be even more motivated to attack your debt after the trip.
  3. You can still take a trip without delaying debt payoff too long.
  4. You are not promised a future so you need to live in the moment too.
  5. Vacations can be done on the cheap and still be fun.
  6. People value experiences like vacations more than things.

Those are just a few of the reasons I personally found my recent beach vacation was worth it to us. This is definitely one area where I disagree with Dave Ramsey. I still think you can go on vacations while you are in debt.

If you want to take a vacation while you are still paying off debt there are ways to make it work!

How To Decide On Taking A Trip

If you’re on the fence about taking a vacation during your debt payoff season, there are a few ways to decide if the trip is worth it for you or not.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you are trying to decide if you should travel when you are in debt:

  • How much longer will you be paying off the debt if you take the vacation?
  • How many months will it take you to save up for the trip?
  • Can you save for the trip and not use credit for it?
  • Will you stick to your vacation budget while traveling?
  • Is it a once in a lifetime opportunity like a family wedding?
  • Is your debt high interest or are you already drowning in payments?

Those are a few of the questions you should ask and answer for yourself before deciding to take a vacation.

Tips For Traveling When In Debt

If you are in debt but still want to travel, know that it is possible! You may have to go about it a different way by lowering the cost of your trip in a variety of ways, but you can still get away and enjoy some relaxation. Paying off debt doesn’t have to mean no travel and no fun!

Split expenses with family.

If you split the overall costs of the vacation between multiple family members or friends then you will spend less overall. Splitting an AirBnB or adding multiple people to a hotel room is an easy way to cut expenses while traveling.

Stay in a less expensive area.

When you take a trip stay in a less expensive area of the city instead of staying downtown in a nice hotel. Find ways to make it cheaper by adding some commute from your hotel to the fun destinations.

Go for a shorter time period.

Maybe you can’t take a week or two week long vacation with your budget and debt payoff situation. But you could shorten the time span of the trip for a less expensive vacation which makes it more doable.

Make a budget for the trip.

It is very easy to overspend while traveling so make sure you make a budget for the trip and track your spending while you travel. Having a plan for your money while traveling will make you feel more in control.

Save up the money you need before you go.

You should never, ever go into more debt in order to travel. While traveling is wonderful, it is not worth more debt, especially if you are using credit cards to fund the trip. If you are going to take a vacation then you should save up the amount you need to spend before you actually go.

Start a side hustle to pay for the trip.

Pick up extra work to earn money outside of your regular budget and debt payoff plan in order to pay for a vacation. There are tons of side hustle ideas out there from driving for Uber to selling on Etsy to walking dogs and beyond. If you need money outside your budget to travel – start hustling to earn it!

Plan for cheaper meals at your hotel or rental.

While part of traveling is all about eating new things and trying new restaurants, make sure you plan for cheaper meals at your hotel too! If food isn’t important to you then this is easier and you could even plan to get groceries and make all your meals at your hotel.

Find free things to do on your trip.

There are free things to do in every city including the one you are traveling to for vacation. Look into local city guides and blogs to find out what locals are doing for free or if there are any fun events to check out while you are in town.

Try a staycation instead.

If you don’t actually want to spend all the money on traveling then try out a staycation! Don’t tell anyone you are staying home and avoid any obligations on your calendar. Instead explore your city and do new things, relax at home, and don’t do anything like chores.

There are many ways to keep trips on the cheaper side which lets you still get the rest and relaxation you need during debt payoff without breaking the bank.

The Argument For Not Going On Vacation When In Debt

Of course, as a personal finance blogger I still have to make the argument for when you should not go on a vacation.

Travel can be very expensive and many people tend to slip on vacation budgets and spend more than they planned. It’s very easy to incur additional costs when you are traveling that were not planned.

If you are already in debt, especially credit card debt, then you probably don’t need the temptation to spend while on a vacation. If you have high interest debt like credit cards then you should tackle that like it’s an emergency before considering a vacation.

‘Regardless of the type of debt you have, remember that additional expenses like a vacation and additional debt will make achieving debt freedom even more difficult. It will take longer and depending on the amount spent or debt incurred while on vacation, it could make your debt payoff situation much worse.

If any of these fit your situation then you probably should avoid vacations and any type of travel until your high interest credit card debt is gone.

Mary is the founder of Pennies Not Perfection where she shares her journey to build wealth through online income. She quit her day job in 2021 after she paid off her debt and doubled her 9-5 salary.

Mary's favorite free financial tool is Personal Capital. She uses their free tools to track net worth and work toward to financial freedom.

Her favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, where she built a custom portfolio for free with no fees. She shares her portfolio growth and savings progress every month on YouTube.