Before filing bankruptcy, taking a vacation is a very bad idea.
Vacations are considered a luxury, and any money spent on luxuries cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. That means you will be required to pay back the vacation debt.
After you receive your bankruptcy discharge, you may feel you need a vacation, but money will likely still be tight.
Here are some tips for getting more vacation out of a smaller budget.
- Set a limit. Vacation spending has a way of getting out of control quickly. Setting a budget and sticking to it is the best way to ensure that your vacation spending doesn’t haunt you for the months that follow your trip. You just got out of debt—don’t jump right back into it.
- Plan for transportation. Transportation costs can include airfare, car rental, taxis, and public transportation. Most of these items are pretty easy to plan for. This tends to be the easiest part of a vacation budget to plan for and stick to.
- Estimate food costs. Food expenses can quickly get out of hand. As you’re having a good time at the beach or amusement park, it’s easy to grab something there and pay much more than you would elsewhere. Try to be realistic, and if your budget includes bringing a lunch, be sure you really do.
- Schedule entertainment. If you’re going to spend all your time at one location, like an amusement park, this category can also be easy to plan for. However, if you want a more spontaneous trip, entertainment costs can really add up. Be realistic about how you and your family plan to spend your time. Then, you can get an idea of what you’re likely to spend. You don’t have to strictly follow your plan, but budgeting for the activities you enjoy will help even if you change your plans.
- Stick to your budget. Keep all your receipts throughout each day of the vacation and keep a rough running total in your mind, or in a budgeting app. Having even a rough idea of what you’re spending will help you from straying too far. At the end of each day, check your spending against your budget. Total all your receipts each night and see how you’re doing in each of the categories. This simple action will dramatically increase the odds that you’ll stick to your budget.
- Adjust if necessary. If you’re overspending, tighten things up a bit. Maybe lunch will have to be less expensive today, or maybe you’ll have to take an activity off your agenda. By the same token, if you’re consistently under-spending your budget, maybe you would enjoy a fancy dinner or more expensive entertainment.
As everyone knows, spending money is easy. What seems like plenty of money can run out quickly without some planning and restraint. By making a budget and sticking to it, you’ll find your vacation is a lot more enjoyable. You’ll also find that the months after the vacation are a lot more enjoyable, too.