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Going into Debt to Travel is a Really Bad Idea

Debt, Travel, Pay for Travel, Personal Finance

Debt, the dreaded D word – I hate it with a passion. The very idea of paying for something long after you’ve received the full benefit from that item or experience makes me cringe. Not only is going into debt in general bad, going into debt to travel is a really bad idea.

Being in debt is one of the most suffocating feelings. The Bible says that “the borrower is slave to the lender”(Proverbs 22:7). When you owe money to a person or an institution like a credit card company, you give away some of your control. You give the other party permission to be in control over you and your finances. If you don’t pay them back the amount that they tell you to, when they tell you to, not only do they penalize you, but they can start taking away everything that you’ve worked hard for. Constantly owing money affects your happiness and prevents you from living your best life.

Debt, Travel, Pay for Travel, Personal Finance

If you are an American born citizen like me, you were born into a culture where debt is a normal part of life. You want to go to college? Get a student loan. You want to buy a house? Get a mortgage. You want that trendy, new smartphone? Put it on your credit card. Sure, it’s very realistic to consider the fact that not everyone has cash on hand to pay for certain expenses up front, but if you keep relying on debt as a way of life, how will you ever have the cash in advance to pay for anything?

Although the experiences gained from traveling are worth any amount of money spent, never go into debt in order to travel. Yes, you may have to delay your travel plans in order to make this happen, but delaying gratification in order to make smart, proactive decisions is always a good idea. Plus, you’ll feel 100 times better when you return from your trip knowing that it has been paid in full. Traveling is only glamorous and enjoyable if you already have the money to cover the costs.

“Never spend your money before you have it.”

Creating a budget and setting a goal to have that cash on hand actually opens the door for you to have an enjoyable trip without the burden of penny pinching and questioning your expenses each time you incur them. When you set a budget, save towards a goal, and only spend the amount of money that you’ve set aside for that particular trip, you feel a sense of freedom in knowing that you’re making wise financial decisions.

So what if you’re already in debt? My advice is to take a break from traveling in order to focus on paying down the other debt that you have. Paying off your debt first will free up money that you can then use for debt-free travel. I’m a big fan of the Dave Ramsey methodology and it has changed a lot of people’s lives. Make listening to his free podcast a part of your life and you could, as Dave says, get out of debt and “change your family tree”. Click here to go to the Dave Ramsey Show podcast. Also, check out my suggestions for what do when you have the desire to travel, but can’t

Trust me, it is 100% possible to travel without going into debt – this is an attainable goal, I am living proof of that! It just takes a little planning, a lot of self-control, and a grave desire to be in control of your own life.  

So, this post tells you why you shouldn’t go into debt to travel, but how do you even save enough money to be able to travel in th first place? Stay tuned for next week’s post about this very topic. I’ll share my tips and tried and true advice on how to save for travel!

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    candy
    November 3, 2017 at 7:33 am

    I disagree somewhat. My husband had cancer and we decided to go to Ireland, England and Iceland. Something we had always wanted to do. Put everything on the credit card and went. Had it paid off in couple months and we had a blast. I wouldn’t tell people to normal go into debit to travel there are occasions just need to go.

    • Reply
      Brett
      November 3, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      I would have done the same. As a rule, we don’t buy things unless we can pay cash. Or charge it for miles and then pay it off. But if one of us was sick we would try to get the dream trips in.

    • Adrienne
      Reply
      Adrienne
      November 11, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      There will always be occasions where going is a necessity, rather than just a want. I’m so glad that you both enjoyed your trip! What a special memory to have.

  • Reply
    Amber Myers
    November 3, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I so agree! If I can’t pay off a vacation the following month, I won’t go. I hate being in debt.

  • Reply
    Franc Ramon
    November 3, 2017 at 10:28 am

    It’s really important to work on a budget. Travel is only ok if its sustainable and burdening yourself with debt si a heavy load to take.

  • Reply
    RP
    November 3, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Very informative and to the point everyone should follow this advice.

    • Reply
      Teronne Da light
      November 8, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      I agree, Adrienne seems to me like a wise woman. She is the new Oprah!

      • Adrienne
        Reply
        Adrienne
        November 11, 2017 at 6:25 pm

        Oh, stop it! You are too sweet!

    • Adrienne
      Reply
      Adrienne
      November 11, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      Thank you! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Sarah Bailey
    November 3, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    This is a great post I think sometimes there are needs that mean you must / should but on the whole you shouldn’t get yourself into debt for anything.

    • Adrienne
      Reply
      Adrienne
      November 11, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Very true. I think the biggest takeaway from this post is that having a savings account so that in the event of an emergency, you don’t have to go into debt.

  • Reply
    Tomi C
    November 3, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    You have to have a travel budget. If you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t go. I love to travel and I do save up for my trips so I can explore more and really enjoy myself… oh and get souvenirs for all my fam and friends.

    • Adrienne
      Reply
      Adrienne
      November 11, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      Can’t forget those souvenirs!

  • Reply
    Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh
    November 3, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I completely agree! We opened a Disney Visa, because they were offering a discount on rooms at the time..We attached that card to our room keys and used them all over the park for souvenirs and meals…we came home and realized that we had made a huge mistake.

    • Adrienne
      Reply
      Adrienne
      November 11, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      Oh, no! Hopefully you guys were able to recover from that setback.

  • Reply
    Pam
    November 3, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    This is very good advice. It’s so important to try to stay out of debt as much as possible

  • Reply
    Glamamom
    November 3, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Amen. I can’t tell you how many people I know that are posting their travels to Instagram all the time and I know they cannot afford all the trips. Debt is so stressful!

    • Adrienne
      Reply
      Adrienne
      November 11, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      I know, right. Debt is not as glamorous as gorgeous travel Instagram photos.

  • Reply
    Kita Bryant
    November 3, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    I agree. It’s not a smart idea to put yourself into debt over anything except a house.

  • Reply
    Anosa
    November 4, 2017 at 3:15 am

    I agree on the part of not going into debt so you can travel but do not agree with putting off traveling when you’re already in debt. I took that mentality and was depressed but then I made some like changes whilst still paying off my debt and I traveled to 32 countries in 2 years whilst paying off my then debt and still enjoying life.

    • Adrienne
      Reply
      Adrienne
      November 11, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      Good for you, Anosa. It seems like you have a lot of discipline and were able to stay focused on your debt payoff whilst traveling. Not everyone is able to be so focused. You go girl!

  • Reply
    Rosemary Palmer
    November 4, 2017 at 6:37 am

    We carry very little, if any credit card debt. Paid off monthly. Maybe something like a cruise will be put on a card, but paid in full before the trip.

    • Adrienne
      Reply
      Adrienne
      November 11, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      I’m completely okay with that route as well, as long as there isn’t a rollover balance at the end of the month, go for it.

  • Reply
    Jenn @ EngineerMommy
    November 4, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Going into debt for anything voluntary is a bad idea. Traveling is definitely not a necessity so I agree with you!

  • Reply
    ricci
    November 4, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Unfortunately something like travel, while fun, shouldn’t put you into debt. I have a few credit cards I’m paying off so my traveling has been limited this year but I can’t wait to pay it off so I can travel more!!

  • Reply
    Cyn Gagen
    November 4, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Yep, I so agree with all of this. I haven’t been doing quite as much traveling recently because right now I have some extra expenses. Once those are paid off, I’ll start the travel fund up again.

  • Reply
    Terri Beavers
    November 5, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Your tips are really helpful and I agree 100%. There have been many times I wanted to travel but didn’t because I couldn’t really afford it and it’s never a good idea to go into debt.

  • Reply
    Lori Vachon
    November 5, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Where there’s a will there’s always a way! Unless there are extreme circumstances, avoiding debt is usually more enjoyable.

  • Reply
    Sapphire Kharyzma
    November 5, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I am happy to be an industry professional, so I don’t pay market rates. Also, I usually receive FAM/Press invites. Also, traveling in groups can help offset trips, sales/promos, and even good ole’ saving can help you avoid debt. I also belong to a travel network which teaches you how to use rewards credit cards to rack up the miles/points without going into debt! I agree, no one should go broke just to travel. Thank goodness there are ways 🙂

    • Adrienne
      Reply
      Adrienne
      November 11, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Perks and connections are definitely helpful! Lucky you for being able to travel for free or at a significantly discounted price.

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