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I’m back from vacationing feeling relaxed and refreshed but slowly transitioning back to “the real world.” As I reflect on the good times, the smiles and the laughter, there was something different about THIS particular vacation. It wasn’t because Mista and I were together (although that had a lot to do with it,) and it wasn’t necessarily because I got to spend time with a great group of people (although they played an integral role in making my vacation more enjoyable~Happy Birthday Teresa!) but looking at my vacation canvas from a financial perspective, this vacation was like that of no other. But what was different about this vacation? I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, then it hit me…..
THIS WAS MY FIRST DEBT-FREE VACATION!!!
In all my years of traveling, I had never traveled DEBT FREE. A weekend getaway here, a few days there was fun, but it was nothing compared to the feeling from my past trip that still lingers. I casually strolled about the ship as if I didn’t have a care in the world. I could truly appreciate taking in the sea air, closing my eyes and slowly exhaling while watching the sun set from our balcony. For the first time in my life, I felt an overwhelming sense of “calm.”
The key to having the “ULTIMATE STRESS-FREE VACATION” is to travel debt-free. Being debt-free is a feeling like no other and traveling debt-free is an even greater feeling.
How many times have you vacationed and had the time of your life only to have those feelings of euphoria doused after returning home because of the dreaded credit card statement that is sure to follow?
If you are not debt-free, you should not take a vacation.
While traveling, I was able to read Michelle Singletary’s book “The 21-Day Financial Fast” ($15.99-Barnes and Noble.) She wrote of a speaking engagement where a young lady stood and proudly stated she was able to save approximately $2500-$3000 on an impending vacation. She was asked by Ms. Singletary if she had any debt, to which the young lady replied, “Yes.” Ms. Singletary advised her she should not take the vacation she saved for and to use the money to pay down her debt. I’ve got your back on that one Michelle. She spoke absolute truth.
In the past, I could never truly relax going on “vacation” even on those weekend getaways (sometimes alone) knowing I was in debt. I have passed on TWO trips to Africa and one trip to London because my finances were not in order. I felt if I was in debt, it was in my best interest NOT to go on vacation.
Now. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time off from work. We ALL need that. However, if you are in debt, it is wise to use any monies saved towards a vacation to pay down debt and delay that vacation. NO SACRIFICE NO REWARD. Look at the big picture. It all boils down to discipline and delaying gratification. I’m sure this isn’t what you want to hear, but I promise you, If you follow this principle, you’ll thank me later.
Don’t misunderstand me. Just because I’m debt free, didn’t mean I broke the bank while traveling. Budgeting for my vacation was like budgeting for any other task. I gave myself a set amount to spend and even allowed myself to splurge a little (like arranging for car/limo service to and from the airport.) After calculating the amount it would cost to use the Park and Fly airport shuttle service coupled with the fact I saved boarding fees for my dog Sherlock because my Mom kept him, I was actually saving money, so why not? I was even able to purchase a few Christmas gifts with the spending money allotted for myself, so I still came in under budget.
So the message I pray you take from this posting is simply this: THE BEST WAY TO TRAVEL IS TO DO SO DEBT-FREE.
CHECK OUT MY LATEST POSTING PERISCOPE TV: THE ULTIMATE “STRESS-FREE” VACATION HERE:
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~The Financial Hack ©2015