Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Guest Post: Planning a Vacation When You Have Credit Card Debt

Excessive credit card debt is highly stressful. Working your way out of credit card debt may well be a very long-term project with many luxuries falling by the wayside. However, one item that simply can’t be neglected is a vacation. This is particularly true if the family has always gone on vacation and you use this time to relax and rejuvenate before facing another year.

Most individuals with excessive credit card debt immediately stop using the credit cards. This is important so as not to accumulate more debt and interest charges. That means vacations may need to be budgeted carefully and some corners cut so the family can enjoy the holiday but the credit card debt doesn’t become larger.

Use Prepaid Credit Cards
One of the most valuable features of a credit card on vacation is that there is no need to carry cash. However, when planning a budget vacation and avoiding more credit card debt using pre-paid cards can keep the family on a budget but relieve the necessity of carrying cash.

Car rental is not possible usually when using pre-paid cards but a budget vacation usually won’t include car rental anyway. Decide how much cash and load the prepaid card with that amount, usually it is wise to go with the highest estimate. Prepaid credit cards can be used at almost any ATM to withdraw cash.

Budget Vacation Accommodations
Take the family camper, recreational vehicle or tent. Rather than spending a lot on hotels, renting a camping spot or parking at an RV spot can save hundreds of dollars that might have been spent on hotels. Additionally family cookouts and camp cooking are possible in these venues. They can give the holiday a picnic feel and are much less expensive than eating at a restaurant.

Vacation apartments can be the most budget friendly choices when planning a trip lasting over a week or two. Often these apartments can be found at a very modest price for a short period of time and most will include kitchenettes. Cooking breakfast in the apartment before going out for the day, packing lunches and returning to cook dinner can save a lot of money when in a strange city.

Bed and breakfast lodgings are available in some areas. They can range from very expensive and luxurious to charming and moderately priced. Most owners of B&B are happy to accommodate families and, off-season in most areas will see a reduction in pricing for all accommodations.
If you do elect to stay at a hotel or motel then make sure you choose one that allows kids to stay free. This can save a lot of money over children being charged the same as adults.

Plan off Season Family Vacations Where Practical
Family vacations that include visits to theme parks are usually much more budget friendly when planned during the slower seasons and during the week. Weekends are usually resort, beach, and park areas busiest times. Tickets to events and entry to theme parks are almost always less expensive during the off-season and during the week. When visiting places like theme parks it is wise to remember that accommodations located closest to the theme parks and attractions are usually the most expensive.

Reducing Travel Expenses When Planning a Vacation with Excessive Credit Card Debt
Although air travel is often, the fastest way to get to a destination it is not always the most budget conscious. Travelling by car may be far more budget friendly and allow the family to enjoy some of the countryside as well. If the travel is to be by air, consider travelling on a standby basis during off-season. The reduction in price can be astounding and shop for deals on flights offered by some airlines.

Have a friend or family member drive your family to the airport and make arrangements to pick them up. This can save quite a bit on airport parking. When the family arrives at the destination, consider using an airport shuttle to take you to your hotel or accommodations or use public transportation. Taxis at airports often charge an airport fee and this can add up. Many historic cities feature bus tours that are reasonably priced and far less expensive than using a taxi to get around.

An entire family vacation can also be planned in a rural setting. Renting a lake cabin in off-season can provide plenty of entertainment for the kids and relaxation for the adults at a budget price. Camping hiking and outdoor sports are often very budget friendly vacations and also healthy.

Choose Closer to Home Vacation Spots
Although exotic destinations may have been your vacation spots in former years when taking a vacation with excessive credit card debt, choosing vacation attractions closer to home may be more economical and help you keep to your budget. Many local destinations and theme parks, camping sites and attractions are overlooked in vacation planning. However, they can be less expensive to get to, pose fewer problems as far as lodging and home is just a few hours away in some cases.

Avoid Unnecessary Purchases
On a budget family vacation especially if excessive credit card debt is already a problem there can be a lot of expense avoided by not purchasing a new set of luggage, new outfits or making do with the old ice chest another year. Souvenirs are another area where expenses can be cut; park and city souvenirs are lovely but can be very expensive and add to the price of a vacation.

Although planning a family vacation with excessive credit card debt will require more planning than perhaps in other years, the vacation experience can be just as relaxing, thrilling, and enjoyable with a little planning. The difference may only be that you have a budget this year you will stick to and avoid spending more than you can afford or intend to spend. Vacations are incredibly valuable tools for recharging the family for another year and do not necessary have to sink you further into credit card debt.

About the Author
This is a guest post was written by Mirsad Hasic. If you are interested in writing a guest post, please contact PF Stock at the Email address listed in the sidebar.

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