I need a vacation, but I have debt. What should I do?

It’s that time of year in MN where many of us are thinking spring, but we know that there are still plenty of frigid temps and snow storms to come. Instead let’s just dream of a tropical vacation and flashback to this post about how to decide if you should go on vacation if you have debt.


Everyone needs a break from the monotony of real life. Work, school, family, chores, bills, debt, errands…it all adds up and can feel like a huge weight is on your shoulders. So you might think (as I have MANY times), “I need a vacation.” But should you go on vacation if you have debt? There isn’t always a clear answer, but here are the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.

The Pros:

A break from the real world
Relaxation and time to de-stress
Should I pay off debt or go on vacation?Fun
Quality time with family/friends or yourself
Relief from cold weather
Seeing something new and exciting
Checking something off your bucket list

The Cons:

More stress from adding to debt load
No headway being made on your debts
You still don’t have much (if any) in savings
Accruing more debt to pay for the trip
Having to catch up on tasks when you get back

These lists aren’t all inclusive and may change from person to person. As you can see, the ‘Pros’ list is slightly longer, but the potential ‘Cons’ carry much more weight. If the whole point of your trip is to get away from stress, it defeats the purpose returning from your vacation into a worse spot financially and/or mentally.

So should you go on vacation if you have debt? That’s up to you, but my advice is to go only if you’re able to save enough money for your trip WITHOUT ADDING ON DEBT.

Using your tax refund may be a good way to get out of the state without accruing debt. But again, think about how else you could use that money. If you go on vacation, don’t add on to your debt, but still don’t have savings, how will you pay for an unexpected financial emergency?

If you decide to skip the big trip this year, think about a smaller-scale road trip or stay-cation. It doesn’t have to cost a ton to get away for a couple days. Or, treat yourself to a massage/spa treatment or whatever relaxes you…as long as it’s affordable. Instead of that big trip, you could potentially get a massage every couple of months AND pay down debt and build savings. Plus, you can always start setting aside money for a trip next year.

Check out how to plan a summer vacation on a budget for some frugal traveling tips. If you’re looking for something you can do now with your significant other, read 10 Cheap Date Night Ideas.

If you are trying to get rid of your credit card debt, but it seems like it’s taking forever a Debt Management Plan may be the answer. With on-time payments, you can pay off your debt faster, save money, and improve your credit. Call LSS at 888.577.2227 for your free session or get started online right now to see if a DMP is a good fit for you. We can help you conquer your debt FOR GOOD.

Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.

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