When you’re in debt, the quickest way to pay it off is to lower your expenses and send every extra cent toward your debt. This means no unnecessary spending – and that includes vacations. But is that really practical?
Personally, I think that you should schedule in a few cheap, and short, vacations throughout the year, regardless of that debt – as long as you don’t have to put the costs of the vacation on a credit card.
Taking regular vacations is important because it has an effect on your happiness levels. This New York Times article shows that the anticipation of an upcoming vacation offers the greatest rewards in terms of happiness.
You get about an 8-week happiness boost when you are anticipating a vacation.
Research shows that there is not a huge boost in happiness levels after a vacation. And those with the best levels reported having a very relaxing vacation. This means – do not schedule yourself something packed with activities that can be super stressful for you!
The conclusion of the NYT article is that you should plan several small trips each year to keep your happiness levels up. The length of the trip makes no difference – just remember that it should be super relaxing. You could easily do this for very little cost if you just take a short trip to places within driving distance of your home.
And, if you are smart about it and stick with the same hotel chain, you might be able to earn free nights for future trips, which lowers the overall costs of your trips! The way that you can do this is by keeping up with the promotions that the hotel chains offer each quarter and choosing one that offers the best chance at a free night. Or, you can get into travel hacking and try to get bonus rewards points for hotel chains and airlines via credit card sign ups – but only do this if you have a handle on your spending and getting a new credit card won’t be too much of a spending temptation for you.