Can't Swing a Summer Trip? 3 Better Ways to Pay for It Than a Credit Card

by Maurie Backman | Published on July 23, 2021

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Woman buying items at a yard sale with cash.

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Low on travel funds this summer? Before you whip out a credit card, try these strategies instead.

Summer is a popular time to travel, but a lot of people spent the summer of 2020 bored at home due to the pandemic. This summer, travel is already booming, and you may be eager to jump on that bandwagon, especially if you didn't manage to go anywhere last year.

But what if money is tight and you can't really swing a summer trip (or the type of trip you want to take)? You may be tempted to just pull out one of your credit cards and charge your travel plans on it with the intent of paying it off over time. But if you go that route, you'll rack up interest charges that will make your trip cost more. Here are some better ways to pull off that vacation.

1. Get a side job

If your paycheck can't cover your travel costs and you don't have enough money in savings to dip into, then a second job could be your ticket to an awesome vacation that doesn't land you in debt. Depending on your schedule and work preferences, you could sign up to drive for a rideshare company, do data entry from home, pick up shifts at a local restaurant on evenings and weekends (a lot of eateries are desperate for workers these days), or offer up your services as a house painter or repair person. And these are just some of many options to consider.

2. Sell some belongings

What would you rather do -- take an awesome trip this summer or hang onto the gaming system you bust out twice a year at best? Selling that system, along with other rarely used items you own, could help you come up with the money to afford the vacation you want, so take inventory at home and start collecting cash for the things you can live without.

3. Take out a vacation loan

Racking up debt to go on vacation isn't ideal because no matter what, you'll end up spending some amount of money on interest. But if you're going to borrow to take a trip, you may be better off with a vacation loan than a credit card balance. A vacation loan is a personal loan you can take out to fund your travels. The interest rate you'll pay on a vacation loan will generally be much lower than the interest on a credit card, so it's a more affordable way to borrow.

Another thing you should know is that too high a credit card balance can damage your credit score, making it harder to borrow affordably when you need to. But if you take out a vacation loan and pay it back on time, it shouldn't hurt your credit at all.

If you're itching to get out and travel this summer, there are better ways to cover the cost of your trip than resorting to credit cards. Keep these options in mind as you make your plans so you don't regret them once your vacation is over.

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