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Should You Travel When You’re In Debt?

Social media has lead to Canadians being bombarded with photos of wild landscapes and tropical destinations, but should you follow the social media crowd and travel — even when you have debt to pay off?

Our Licensed Insolvency Trustees (LITs) from across Canada tackle this question and more in this June edition of our podcast series.

Our LITs share their advice and answers to questions including:

  • Should Canadians travel when they’re in debt?
  • What should people consider when planning a vacation?
  • What is the advice for people who are tempted to blow the budget on a once-in-a-lifetime trip?
  • How to return home from a trip without adding to your debt load?

With pictures from family and friends of their amazing vacations generating FOMO (fear of missing out), outside influences can easily sway your decision making. Beth Ann Bone from our Oshawa office shares her tips for dealing with travel FOMO:

  • Take time to remember that social media doesn’t always reflect reality as many recent polls have shown that Canadians are financially stretched to the limit.
  • Think about the financial promises you’ve made to yourself.
  • Plan a “skinny” vacation by costing out your dream trip and looking for alternative ways to reduce the cost:
    • Airbnb vs hotels
    • Going for a weekend versus a week
    • Cooking your own food versus eating at restaurants
    • Using air miles to fly
    • Public transit versus renting a car
    • Read this for more tips for traveling while in debt.

Having debt doesn’t necessarily need to prevent you or your family from travelling if you build a plan. Create a plan and do a full costing of the vacation. Now set a savings goal that the family can work towards. Start saving and focus on your efforts to reduce debt simultaneously. Remember, the goal should always be to use cash over credit when it comes to travelling when you have debt.

As for answering the question of whether you should travel when you’re in debt; it is ultimately up to you and how confident you are in managing your debt load. Our one piece of advice: travel should never come at the expense of taking on new debt or following through on your existing debt repayment strategy.

Give our podcast a listen for more advice about how to take that trip and come home without any new debt! Do you know someone in the midst of planning a trip that might find this podcast helpful? Share it with them and share it with other travellers on Twitter using #FrugalTravel, #FamilyFinances and #DebtSolutions.