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Many people look forward to seeing family during the holidays, and often, that means boarding a plane home in late November or December. If you normally travel during the holiday season, you may be inclined to do the same this year. But here are a few good reasons to rethink your plans and stay home instead.
1. You're already in debt
For many people, holiday travel is only made possible with the use of a credit card. But if you're in debt already, the last thing you need is more debt to add to your personal pile. The longer it takes you to shed your debt, the more money you'll lose to interest. Plus, carrying debt is bad for your credit score, and when that number declines, it can be impossible to borrow money affordably in a pinch.
Even if traveling for the holidays won't push you into more debt -- say, you got a bonus at work and can cover your flight using cash -- it still pays to stay home and use that money to pay off your existing balance. It's a good way to start off the new year with a little less stress.
2. You have no savings
We all need money in an emergency fund for a rainy day. And during the pandemic, having a healthy savings account balance is crucial because you never know when you might lose your job due to the greater economic crisis. If you don't have money in savings, then frankly, you really shouldn't be spending what limited funds you do have to travel this year. Instead, tuck that money away in the bank so it's there for you if a true emergency strikes.
3. You have health concerns
When it comes to the spread of COVID-19, airplanes get mixed reviews. While the air that gets circulated on a plane is said to be well-filtered, you're still crammed onto a small vessel with what could be well over 100 people -- and potentially for many hours at a time. Plus, don't forget about the people you'll come into contact with outside of an airplane. You might get stuck waiting in a long security line at the airport, and if you need a rental car, that could put you on yet another crowded line when you reach your destination.
If you're at all concerned about the health implications of traveling this holiday season, don't do it. Similarly, if you're worried about picking up COVID-19 and transmitting it to a family member -- perhaps someone older or with preexisting health issues -- then it's really not worth the risk this year. Sure, it's a bummer to miss out on the holidays with family, but you could always get creative and enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner over Zoom, and look forward to being together for the holidays in 2021.
It's common practice to travel for the holidays, but this year could be a good one to hunker down and stay home. Not only might that improve your financial picture, but it could spare you a world of stress. And more importantly, it could protect you and your loved ones from a dangerous virus that unfortunately doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.