You work really hard, so it’s important to stop every once and a while to relax and recharge on a vacation with family or friends. But if you are also trying to pay off debt, taking a trip can bring up feelings of guilt about spending money. Plus, while you’re on vacation, it can be hard to relax because you’re worried about the credit card bills that will arrive after you get back.

To help with that, here are tips on how to save for vacation as well as how to save money on vacation. The goal is to help you get the vacation relaxation you deserve without any guilt!

Save Money for Travel

  1. Rent Out a Room: More and more people rent out a spare room to traveling guests via AirBnB. If you have the space, you could earn a bit of extra cash while you meet new people from all corners of the world.
  2. Get a Side Job: From using your car to do some driving for Lyft or Uber to finding a seasonal job such as working weekends at the farmer’s market, a few hours of extra work each week could make a big difference. And since some of this work will keep you busy, you’ll have less time to spend money! If the cost of child-care is holding you back from getting more work, there are other options. Check out opportunities for call center and data entry work that you can do online, from home.
  3. Open a Vacation Account: Open a savings account you’ll only use for vacation funds. Set up automatic deposits each week or month—whatever you choose—to help save effortlessly. A few regularly deposited dollars will add up faster than you may think. Use an online bank, and you’ll make it harder for yourself to access (and spend) the funds before it’s vacation time.

Plan Smart

  1. Set Up Flight Alerts: It’s easy to create a price alert to your dream destination and by doing so, you’ll be able to snag a flight when it’s at a great price and save money for travel.
  2. Consider Off the Beaten Path: Whether it’s going during the shoulder season or heading to second-tier locales, there’s ways to find a relaxing destination that may be less popular if you look around or time it right. For example, if you are a beach person, consider traveling to the Caribbean in June instead of January or select one of the lesser-known islands. The costs may be significantly less, plus there could be fewer tourists.
  3. Get a House, Not a Hotel: When planning for the family, it can often be cheaper to stay at a house via AirBnB or VRBO. It may feel less luxurious, but you’ll be able to save on the nightly accommodation fee and hotel tax. And, instead of paying for restaurant meals plus tips, you can stock up on groceries and prepare less expensive meals and sandwiches to take with you as you explore.

Vacation Like a Local

  1. Eat Street Food: If you eat every meal at a sit-down restaurant, your expenses will add up quickly. In many cities, food trucks are popular gourmet alternatives that feature everything from Korean tacos to New England lobster rolls. And while sometimes you might have to literally sit on the curb, some food trucks supply a small seating or standing area, which might be a bit easier if you’re feeding a family. Try to stick to street food for two of the meals each day—you’ll be eating authentic local culture, while also saving lots of dollars.
  2. Snap Photos: Often people get swept up in the moment of wanting to hold on to the memory by buying souvenirs. But it’s unlikely you will love and treasure the overpriced refrigerator magnet or t-shirt just because they feature the location’s name. It’s better to take photos of the great place you’re visiting rather than spend money on stuff that might eventually end up on the back of a shelf or in a donation pile.
  3. Find Free Entertainment: During the summer, many cities offer free evening events such as opera in the park or live jazz at the museum plaza. These places are perfect for an evening picnic that you can create from a great local cheese shop or premium deli.

Additionally, there are often free tours at some state and national buildings and parks—and these locations might be in cities as well, such as Will Rogers State Park in Los Angeles or the gorgeous state capital building in Harrisburg.

10. The Ultimate Stress Reliever

If you’re struggling with a lot of debt, figuring out how to save money for a trip can add even more stress to your life—stress that no vacation, no matter how affordable it is, can relieve. A more effective way to deal with this stress could be to start exploring debt solutions that could help you get out of debt once and for all, so that planning a vacation becomes fun instead of stress. Click here to learn about 6 common debt solutions and find out if one or more of them could work for you.

Give one of our friendly Certified Debt Consultants a call at 800-230-1553 to learn more about the options you’re interested in most. They will be happy to answer your questions about those options (not just the debt settlement program Freedom Debt Relief offers). No single solution is right for everyone, so our goal is to provide clarity and help you find the best debt solution for you.

In the meantime, check out our How to Manage Debt Guide. This free download goes over several debt options in detail, and it’s a great starting point for figuring out how to tackle your debt. Start dealing with your debt now, and the next vacation you plan could be more “dream” and less “budget”!