Mapping out a trip to Seychelles or the Costa Rican coast? We asked financial planners and travelers for inside tips on how to realistically cover costs without packing on credit card debt.
Money pros advocate vacation buckets—special accounts where you sock away savings monthly. Take off your rose-colored shades and realistically project costs. If the daily rate for a Maui resort and spa is $349, that’s $2,443 for seven nights. Add airfare, meals, car rental, spa treatments, entry fees, and shopping money, and even taxes, tips, and frozen cocktails—everything you can think of. Then divide the amount by 12 and commit to putting that figure away religiously on payday.
“There are certain things you go into debt for, like your home or a student loan, because the value of a house or an education far outlasts the life of the loan,” says Dave Dowd, a certified financial planner in Montclair, New Jersey. “But a vacation is fleeting. It’s here and it’s gone, so it’s something you should save for. You don’t want to go into debt to take a trip.”