Whether you're someone who tends to keep a close eye on your finances because you like to maintain good control over things or because you run such a thin margin every paycheck, taking a vacation — even one you've saved and budgeted for — can still bring in some unwanted stress, and it can be difficult to let loose and enjoy yourself when you're used to making sure your spending hatches are always battened down.
While it's best to ensure your vacation doesn't plunge you into debt, worrying too much about money can kill your good time just as fast as a natural disaster. Don't stress about money on your upcoming vacation. Here are six ways you can relax and still avoid being a spendthrift while on vacation.
1. Don't Fight Your Feelings
The first step in relaxing about money is acknowledging that it's hard for you to relax about money. While it might seem counter-intuitive, the act of looking closely and introspectively into the source of your stress will actually help alleviate it, as opposed to increase it.
Especially because stress can lead to health woes that have far-reaching consequences, the practice of identifying stress and its source is essential — especially on vacation.
2. Play to Your Strengths
Another great way to keep yourself more relaxed while vacationing is to play to your strengths.
Do you work hard to find coupons and deals when you're back home? Do the same while on vacation by taking in events and attractions you've found discounts for. Do you use certain credit cards for different purchases depending on the savings and rewards? Look into getting a credit card that rewards you for travel. Head to a country where the exchange rate benefits a traveler using the dollar. Traveling during the off-season is another excellent way to save money.
By being your normal frugal financial self, you'll feel more at home and be less likely to stress out about spending.
3. Move Your Body
Exercise is a great way to keep stress of any kind at bay, and money stress while on vacation is no exception. Go snorkeling if you're near the ocean. Kayak or canoe if you're on a lake. Play golf. Go for a hike or rent bikes for the family and see the sights.
The world offers a wealth of ways to move your body. Take advantage of the outdoor activities where you are while you're enjoying time away from the daily grind.
4. Leave Work Behind
It can be tempting when you have a tendency to worry over money to do a little work while on vacation. Whether you check in at the office or actually do some work for hire, it seems like work would be just the thing to offset any tensions regarding spending, right?
While pulling in a little cash while you're away might make you feel momentarily relieved of any stress about the cost of a vacation, doing so will undercut one of the primary goals of taking a vacation at all: the goal of taking a break from work. Let your vacation be the break you intended it to be, and leave all your work behind when you go.
5. Don't Over-Document Your Trip
In the age of fantastic cell phone cameras, it can be tempting to document every little piece of your vacation. The food! The architecture! The sunsets! Resist the temptation to document every moment of your vacation. While it's always nice to go back through photos, for most people, being engaged too often with a mobile device is a surefire way to miss the more salient moments of vacationing.
Forgetting to experience your vacation can actually make you more stressed about money, because you may start to feel you aren't getting your money's worth. Be where you are and do what you're doing while away. Don't spend the money on a trip only to spend all your time sharing it on Instagram.
6. Practice Relaxation While You're Gone
One sure-fire way to encourage relaxation while you're far from home is to actively practice it. For thousands of years, human beings have utilized yoga, meditation, and writing in order to understand and manage negative feelings. Give yourself an edge over your money stress by tackling it with ten minutes of meditation a day, a yoga class or two, or simply sitting down with a notebook and pen and journal your adventures.
Vacation doesn't have to be a source of money stress. If you plan ahead and follow these six tips, you can head out on the trip of your dreams and make sure you don't take your worried self with you.