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How to Pay for Your Vacation

September 20, 2012

How to Pay for Your Vacation

You don’t have to beg, borrow, or steal to indulge your wanderlust. Armed with these practical suggestions, your dream vacation may be more affordable than you think.

I’m short on cash. Should I put my vacation on a credit card?
Nooooooooo!

Unless the trip is someone’s dying wish, charging travel expenses that you can’t immediately pay back is not the way to go. “You end up paying much more than the cost of the trip,” warns Mackey McNeill, a Kentucky-based CPA and author of The Intersection of Joy and Money. “When you factor in double-digit interest rates and the months–or years–it may take you to pay it off, you can end up spending 50 percent or even 100 percent more.”

That goes for other kinds of borrowing as well. Don’t let an excuse like “We deserve it” prompt you into a home equity loan. Financial expert Grant Cardone, star of the television series Turnaround King, offers a simple rule of thumb: “If you’re too ashamed to ask Mom and Dad for travel money, don’t ask a bank or a credit card company.”

That said, Cardone notes that if you are able to pay off credit card charges before interest or fees kick in, it’s an efficient way to keep track of your expenses and can often nab you bonus points for future discounts or upgrades with a hotel chain, rental car agency, or airline. McNeill suggests that if you use a card, ask for an introductory, no-interest period beyond the usual 30 days and make sure you understand exactly what your deadline is.

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