How to have fun this summer without going into debt

Survey finds over a third of Americans plan to go into debt for summer vacations, often using high-interest credit cards - Photo by UnSplash +

A third of Americans plan to put their summer fun on a credit card

In spite of complaints about inflation and stretched budgets, a recent survey found that more than a third of Americans said they expect to go into debt this summer to take a vacation. 

And when they say “debt,” most probably mean the most toxic kind – credit card debt, with an average interest rate of more than 20%.

Personal finance experts say there are many affordable ways to take the family on a vacation without going into debt. One key is to choose a venue within driving distance. Avoiding airfares will not only save money but will also reduce the level of  stress and frustration that is a standard part of air travel these days.

Yes, a trip to Disney World might be memorable, but there are many less expensive alternatives. Every state has a network of state parks and many offer affordable lodging. Sometimes, nearby cities offer an inexpensive getaway.

For example, Travel & Leisure recently highlighted Pittsburgh as a kid-friendly destination, offering the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. There are things for grownups as well, such as a 10-day Grand Prix with vintage cars to Major League Baseball.

Dollars and sense

Personal finance advisers suggest making a budget before making any vacation plans. Know what you have to spend and make your plans accordingly.

Consider this: if you spend $1,200 from savings on your vacation, that’s all it will cost you. Once you return home there is no additional cost.

But, if you spend $5,000 and put it on your credit card without paying off the balance, that vacation will cost an extra $1,000 a year.

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