American workers left a record number of vacation days on the table last year—768 million days, up 9% from 2017—according to new research from the U.S. Travel Association.
Of the unused days, 236 million were forfeited completely, equating to $65.5 billion in lost benefits. More than half (55%) of workers reported they did not use all their allotted time off.
An unfortunate truth is that cost is the top barrier to travel. But on the positive side, you do not need to be rich to travel- what you need to be is smart with financial planning and saving money!
Here are a few questions one may consider when planning a vacation:
What does my emergency fund look like?
A key tip: if your emergency funds do not have at least 3 months of living expenses saved, consider waiting until you have more money saved before taking that vacation and landing in potential debt.
Do not ever consider going into your emergency fund stash for a vacation; as emergency funds should only be utilized for unplanned and immediate expenses.
Do I have high interest debt to pay off?
If you have a high loan or credit card balance, hold off! If you don’t want that interest to build significantly, focus on paying these charges off first.
Do I have non-emergency funds?
If you have enough money saved here, you may use these funds towards a vacation. However, be rational about your decision. For example, say you have a down payment coming up, it may be wiser to use your money towards that payment instead of a vacation. Two of the most frequent reasons for not being able to take a vacation are household costs (44 percent) and paying off one’s debt (35 percent) (22 percent).
Overall, vacation spending is equal to about 2% of the total budgets of all US households annually and the average American takes four of them per year.
If you plan your vacation with cost-friendly options and have your finances arranged, taking a vacation should have you swimming this summer, not sinking!
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