3 Easy Tips To Plan And Pay For A Guilt Free Vacation

Vacations are a blast whether you take a beach vacation or a family vacation. However, realizing you went into debt to pay for vacation isn't fun. Instead, learn how to save money for vacation in advance. These ideas to save for vacation may be just what you need to have enough money for your dream vacation budget! Find out what our 3 tips to save for vacation are!This is a  post from our staff writer Cat Alford. Enjoy!

For the past few months, I’ve been saving my pennies for a babymoon.

For those of you not familiar with this strange new word I just learned, it’s basically a trip that you take when you’re about to have a baby.

Well, not right when you are about to have baby, but you get the idea.

It’s been a while since my husband and I have taken a trip just the two of us without any distractions or computers or cell phones.

So, we decided to book a hotel room in San Antonio, which is only a 6 hour drive from where we live in Baton Rouge.

That way, if something happens with this pregnancy, we won’t be too far from home, but we’ll be far enough away for it feel like a real break.

San Antonio is supposed to be really pretty around the holiday season, so we’re going to take advantage of that.

Of course, you might be wondering how I can afford to take a vacation when I have a ridiculous amount of student loans, etc.

Here’s how I did it and how you can too:

1. Set Up A Savings Account Just For Your Trip

I enjoy having goal oriented high yield savings accounts. It was never enough for me to lump all of my savings into one big account. I have to actually have labels on them, so I know that if I dip into my savings, I am taking away from something. About 8 months ago, I made a specific savings account that said “Vacation Funds” and I carefully added to it. Once it hit my goal of $1,500.00, I felt comfortable enough to book our trip.

**Lance’s Two Cents** If you’re looking to set up goal savings accounts, I personally recommend Capital One 360 Bank. Check out my review of them here. **Lance’s Two Cents**

2. Choose A Budget Friendly Location

I wasn’t looking to go on a really expensive trip, although that would have definitely been nice. I feel like everyone should go on the trip that they can afford. If you get to go to Europe, awesome! That means you’ve been saving your pennies really well and working hard.

However, if you have a crushing student loan debt like I do, it’s not really a good idea to do something lavish. A quiet few days in a hotel that’s driving distance was just perfect for us. We even thought about booking a hotel room in New Orleans, which is an hour away from where we live, but we’ve been there so many times, and we thought it would be nice to celebrate with something a little bit different.

3. Don’t Feel Guilty

I really struggled emotionally saving for this trip. On one hand, I am trying hard to stay on top of student loan payments, and I knew that every time I added $100 to my vacation fun, that’s $100 that I could have added to my student loan balance. I know that not everyone will agree with the decision to travel while in debt.

However, those of you who have been long time readers  know that I work extremely hard for many, many hours a week. This vacation fund has been a long time coming and came purely from side hustle income.

So, even though I do feel a twinge of guilt, I’m trying not to. After all, I saved ahead of time for this vacation and it’s a modest choice at location. That should be a celebration in itself!

How do you budget and save before going on a vacation?

**Lance’s Two Cents** Another great way I found to help me pay for vacations and not feel guilty is using credit card sign up bonuses. In fact, we’ll be taking a vacation next year that is mostly paid for by both my wife and I signing up for one credit card each. It will essentially give us $880 off of our vacation! **Lance’s Two Cents**

Photo by: ancasta1901 Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. She enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com.


  1. Last year we took a mini-vacation with our several other couples to a destination in the mid-west known for indoor water parks. We budgeted how much we needed, saved up ahead of time, and left home with cash in our pocket (figuratively). It was SO liberating to go on a vacation knowing that we could do all our planned activities (with even a little extra cushion) without affecting our future budget or savings

  2. I don’t feel guilty about our vacation spending at all. But, like Lance, we usually pay for most of our travel with credit card rewards.

  3. I really don’t see why I’d feel guilty about a vacation. Traveling is very important to us, we believe that such experience trump any gadgets and fancy clothing 😀

    We ALWAYS budget and save in advance for our vacations, it’s good to plan wisely so that you can really enjoy the experience

  4. Good for you guys for taking a trip before having the babies! We did something similar and stayed at a nice hotel here in town and did some things we’ve always wanted to do here but never took the time to. That said, we budget for our vacations as well and now churning to get them paid for by someone else. 🙂

  5. No need to feel guilty about spending money on a vacation! Life is all about experiences, not “stuff” like gadgets and expensive clothes and such. I never have a problem spending money on trips or other fun things…

    Though like Lance and Holly I now get all my travel for free thanks to credit card rewards, so there’s really no reason to feel guilty!

  6. The last time my wife and I took a mini-vacation, we went to Hollywood, Florida and stayed at my brother’s condo for a week. We saved a lot of money on lodging by staying at his place and enjoyed the relaxed, easy-going beach lifestyle there. We budgeted for the cost of the trip. It was a trip we definitely needed at the time and we enjoyed or time there. No guilt! 🙂

  7. Hey Cat, I love this. I wouldn’t know how to budget for a vacation because it’s taken so long. I guess I would follow these tips if there ever was a vacation on the horizons…crossing my fingers for the future! Thanks for the great read!

  8. We probably spend a little too much on vacations. But I don’t regret it at all. Vacationing and traveling really recharges my batteries and gets me motivated to work harder so I can keep having fun. It just feels so good to get out of your element sometimes.

  9. Bryce @ Save and Conquer says:

    Last time I was in San Antonio, I was in Air Force boot camp. That was in 1977. I assume things have changed some since then. I hope you have fun.

    Personally, I am happy to do staycations, but my wife really likes to travel. Next summer we plan to do a mini-vacation to Lake Tahoe. We have been there several times: in the summer for the hiking and boating, and in the winter for snow skiing. This summer we are renting a condo right on the water.

  10. Awesome city! You’re going to love it. We went there for the marathon this time last year. If you like breakfast, walk down the river walk (where it meanders into neighborhoods….it’s probably nearly 3/4 of a mile and you’ll need to follow directions on a map) to Guenther House. Someone made that recommendation to us and we nearly skipped it. I’m glad we didn’t. It’s a beautiful place in a fantastic neighborhood of old houses. Fun.

  11. Great tips Cat. I created a new savings account in my credit union just to put money in for a trip. I have never really created a specific account for it, but it has become time.

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