Everyone needs to get away from it all now and then. We all get worn down by working, raising kids, paying bills and dealing with people. It is not only a great idea to take time off, research has consistently shown that it is critical to maintaining mental and emotional well-being.
For many families, options for a vacation are severely limited, sometimes because of time, sometimes because of obligations, but most often, because of money. Vacations can be expensive, there’s no way around it, and it can be hard to justify spending on a trip when you’re worried about paying your bills or credit when your situation isn’t ideal to begin with.
Fortunately, there a few simple methods that don’t require a great deal of time or investment, that almost anyone can do, that can help you to take the trip you’ve been dreaming about.
Host a Yard Sale
Many people seem to have a stigma against yard sales, whether worrying about being conned into paying for more than an item is worth, hunting through tables and clothes racks to ultimately find nothing, or not willing to have a second look at what some would call junk.
But the reality is that yard sales are a great way to earn some additional cash. Research shows that more than 690,000 people shop at yard sales, and generate more than $4 million in profit, each week.
Most of us have more stuff than we have space to store it, and hosting a yard sale is a great way to free up some space while making a healthy profit that you can then channel right into your vacation.
If you don’t have time to set up a full yard sale, then consider online selling through sites like eBay. In 2017, the average profit return for used items sold on eBay was 462%. To illustrate in dollars: if you bought a china set for $100, and it has grown in value, you could potentially sell your set for around $562. Not bad for stuff you may not even be using!
Take a Side Job
While it’s not always appealing to add more to your work load, a side job is a reliable way to build up a steady revenue to fund a vacation.
There are plenty of part time and seasonal jobs on the market, that don’t require a great degree or skill, that you can apply for and get fairly easily. Consider working at a fast food chain or at the grocery near your home after your 9-to-5 is done for the day.
Alternately, if you have obligations, such as family, that prevent you from taking on multiple jobs, then consider working independently from home. Identify something that you’re skilled at and spend time with, such as drawing, playing the piano, or landscaping. You can make a decent profit by taking art commissions, teaching others to play an instrument, or doing small yard projects for your friends and neighbors close to your house, without having to do so for hours on end or spending more money.
Take Out a Personal Loan
Many people may be hesitant to take out a loan just to fund a vacation, but in truth, it’s a simple, easy method to quickly get the funds you need to go stick your toes in the sand.
There are many options for personal loans that won’t break the bank or put a great deal of strain on your finances, and there are many instances where taking out an unsecured personal loan can benefit you in the long run. In addition to getting you the funds you need when you need it, so you can take your vacation sooner, taking out a small loan can also help diversify your credit and improve your credit score.
A loan also gives you the option of paying for your vacation over time, which many vacation packages don’t offer. You can even use a loan to fund only a portion of your vacation, using your own money to fund the remainder.
Set Up a Payment Plan for Your Vacation
If you can’t afford to drop a huge sum for a single trip, consider looking at vacation packages that allow you to pay over time. While this may be a more challenging approach, since many vacation packages require you to pay up-front, if you can find a great package, either yourself or through an agent, it can allow you to make your perfect getaway. This is a great option to allow you to take a vacation, while managing it just like you would any other bill you receive.
Alternately, if your perfect vacation requires you to pay up front, consider reserving your trip well in advance, perhaps even up to a year, and then paying as you go.
Disney, for example, allows visitors to either Disney World or Disney Land to book their Disney Resort Hotels up to 499 days in advance, with a small down payment upfront. Using this method will allow you to budget how much you need to set aside each month to afford your vacation, and pay it before you check in.
If neither of these options will work, then start a budget: research how much money you calculate you’ll need, add about 10% more to your final amount to adjust for price inflation if you’ll have to save for some time, and start saving.
As we mentioned at the beginning, vacations can be expensive, and you certainly need to be aware of your current finances and other factors before you commit to packing up and chasing the sun. If you’re struggling financially, have a number of obligations that will keep you from getting away easily, or are just unsure, then absolutely hold off until you’ve taken steps to improve your situation.
But if you’re stable in your finances, and in a comfortable position with your work and family, then don’t let money be the only reason you’re not taking a vacation. Consider the options we’ve discussed, and use one or all of them to help you chart a course that will leave you and your family feeling relaxed, re-energized, and ready to tackle life’s challenges with a fresh attitude. Happy travelling!