How I Took a Holiday and Returned Without a Financial Hangover

One of my deepest desires is to travel more – a lot more! It’s a desire I’ve had ever since my solo trip to India, which transformed how I saw myself and the world. I’ve made a few trips since then, but after having kids and getting a mortgage, it never feels as easy! We’re tied to school holidays and travelling with five is a lot more expensive than my solo days! As a result, I’ve settled for less over the past few years, while secretly longing for more. 

But that’s not all…

Each time we go away, I’m wracked with financial guilt! Maybe you have these feelings too: 

  • Can I justify spending a small fortune on a holiday? 
  • Shouldn’t I use that money to pay off my mortgage quicker? 
  • Wouldn’t it be more sensible to save or invest, rather than spending it on break? 
  • And what about my work? Will my clients be happy if their freelance writer takes time off! 

But the holiday woes don’t stop there! In the past, holidays have always been ‘painful’. Sure, I’ve returned with a stack of memories and thousands of photos, and it all feels great – until the credit card bill lands 🙁 

We never go crazy, but somehow a few ice-creams here and a couple of day trips there morph into a huge bill that I’m left scrambling to cover. I always fix it. I pull some savings from here, do some more work, and make cutbacks where I can. But it’s painful, stressful, and means holidays always push me back financially.  

If only there were a way to have fun [without the guilt] AND not suffer financially as a result. 

Good news. THERE IS! Thanks to what I’ve learned from Wealth Enhancers, I just created the best. holiday. EVER! 

Here’s how…

  1. Pay in cash, not with my credit card

First up, some brutal honesty. 

The only reason I’ve returned with financial hangovers previously is my out-of-control spending. In short, we spent more than we could afford. Gulp 🙁

But why not? We’re on holiday after all. It’s time to treat yourself, right? Who wants to get bogged down with annoying things like money – especially when your credit card has your back! 

In the past, I managed our holiday spending on a credit card. Not this time. Since cutting up my credit card I had no choice but to paid cash [or use my debit card] for everything. The difference was HUGE. 

Suddenly I wasn’t so ‘anything goes’ with my spending. Knowing I had to hand over ‘real’ cash made me a lot more intentional. I found myself asking ‘do I really want this?’ and nine times out of ten I didn’t. Instead, the item in question had pushed some emotional buttons that got me temporarily excited! 

The impact was huge. We didn’t spend money on pointless things and even though I spent less, it had ZERO effect on my happiness or enjoyment. Better still, I valued the things I DID buy a lot more because I genuinely wanted them. 

  1. Set a budget – and stick to it

Before we went away, I figured out exactly how much money we had to spend. I then broke the total figure down into a daily allowance. I even created a spreadsheet so I could track our spending and ensure we didn’t go over. 

I’ll be honest, ‘the budget’ did earn me a few rolled eyes from my daughter who thought I was ridiculous. Fortunately, my husband was 100% on board, so it was easy to stick to my plans. Despite what I feared, this ‘positive constraint’ didn’t restrict our holiday in the slightest. I felt more free. True, I did say NO to spending requests on multiple occasions, but not because we couldn’t afford it. Instead, I said NO because the purchase in question didn’t align with our values. 

In short, thanks to the budget, I didn’t waste money needlessly – and that freed up more money to do a lot more cool stuff. 

For example, we stayed by this enormous freshwater lake, which was perfect for wild swimming and all kinds of water sports. Tallied up, we spent around ⅙ of our total budget on kayaking, windsurfing, pedalos, and stand-up paddleboarding. As a total, that figure felt huge, but because the hire charges fit with our daily budget [and because we didn’t waste money], it was totally affordable. 

And our holiday was all the better because we got out on the water as often as we liked 🙂

  1. Change of lifestyle, not just a holiday 

But how did I get around the ‘I’m going to disappoint my clients’ problem? 

This was easier than I imagined too. I simply arranged my work time with my husband in advance. On the days I was due to work, he took the kids off to the lake while I cracked on. On non-work days, I got up a couple of hours earlier than everyone else and did my work then. 

Looking back, I was incredibly productive! With limited time, I couldn’t afford to faff or procrastinate. Instead, I turned it on! Even better, because the area was so beautiful, I felt inspired and energised, which switched on my creativity and left me overflowing with ideas! 

In short, although I was on ‘holiday’, I found a way to create a lifestyle rather than taking a complete break. As a result, I got work done as well as having the most fantastic time with my husband and children. 

  1. Plan ahead for next year 

I’ve had a holiday savings account for a few years now, but there’s never enough in it. Going back to what I said at the beginning, I’ve always felt compelled to prioritise the ‘sensible’ things. Plus there wasn’t any more surplus cash to spend on a holiday because my credit card ‘stole’ too much money.

Now I’m doing differently. 

Travel is too important to keep compromising. I want to do more so I’m increasing my budget in line with this intention. I already know what I’d like to do next year and I’m currently researching costs. With the figure pinned down, I can start budgeting to make it a reality. 

After all, that’s what money is for. It’s an asset for me to use to create the life I want. No more compromising.

Am I hangover free? 

So, did I do it? Did I manage to have a hangover-free holiday? 

The short answer is YES! 

  • We spent less than the budget
  • There’s no credit card bill looming [because I no longer rely on my credit card bill for anything]
  • I’m on top of my work 
  • AND I’m using the momentum I have now to plan future adventures 🙂

It feels so empowering. 

But it doesn’t stop there… 

The deeper I dive into my Wealth Enhancers’ journey, the more I realise financial freedom isn’t so far away. Instead, with the right strategies, it’s possible to do more of what I love – without having to worry about money. This holiday is proof of that, and I’m excited to discover what’s going to open up next. 

Disclaimer: All information contained within this article is of a general nature. Do not rely upon it when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.