How to (Painlessly) Pay for Your Next Vacation: Hint, NO CREDIT CARDS! (Part 1)

Give me some love!

Can you believe summer is almost here? It’s got me daydreaming about tropical a vacation!

how to pay for your next vacation without using credit cards!

So, I’ve probably mentioned it before, (lol) but I am a pretty darn frugal person! I’m not sure if it was caused by nature or nurture, but I don’t like to spend $$$ on lots of unnecessary things!

While I don’t need a big house, new cars, or designer clothes…. there is one thing that I will drop my hard earned cash on without even thinking twice: vacation! I have always loved to travel, especially internationally. Unfortunately, my husband and I have never gotten to travel out of the country together! I set out to remedy that, in spite of our tight budget.

Today, I’m going to tell you how I am paying for our first big ticket vacation, without going into debt or eating ramen noodles!


The first step was to find the right trip! I know from past experiences that I love to cruise. To me, it is an affordable way to travel out of country. The reason I think it is more affordable is because on lots of cruises, you don’t need a passport and they’re all inclusive as far as food/drinks/transportation/lodging. We have a cruise port that is about 5 hours from our house, so now that those details are worked out, it is time to start shopping!

I found an amazing early booking special for EIGHT NIGHTS in the Bahamas for less than $500/each! For my husband and I, plus all the taxes, gratuities, and travel. I’ve always wanted to go to the Bahamas, so I knew this was the one! Check out this itinerary!


The thing about cruises, which I already knew, is there’s all kinds of fees. Gratuities, taxes, port fees, etc. etc. I also opted for vacation insurance since we’re not traveling for 18 months! I didn’t want to take the risk if something happens in the meantime. With everything included, here is my total.

Carnival was running a special that you only had to pay $250 to book so I jumped on it! Now, we have until next November to pay the remaining $1,297.28. Which means we need to pay about $75/month. However, I also know that we’re going to need a lot of other things for this trip, too!

Make a Budget

I sat down and made a list of all the OTHER things we’d need. This way, I can go ahead and put back some money for each paycheck. (In other words, not using the credit cards to pay for the extra stuff when the trip rolls around!) Here’s what I came up with!

1.) Gas to/from port – $100

2.) Parking for 9 days at the port – $100

3.) Shore Excursions on port days – $300

4.) Spending money (alcohol and souvenirs) – $500

These, of course, are rough estimates but gives me an idea of how much I’ll need to save. If you add this to the total cost of the cruise itself, you come out to about $2,550 total!

I realize that sounds like a lot, but when you think about everything that is included, it is a great deal for international travel. We’ll get 9 days to and from the Bahamas, with all transportation, meals, non-alcoholic drinks, activities, 2-3 shore excursions (depending on price), taxes, fees, gratuities, AND $500 spending money! Two airline tickets alone could easily cost as much.

Saving (AKA- the hard part!)

 Because this post is getting long and I still have a lot to cover, I’m going to end part 1 here. Please subscribe to get updates for part 2, where I will cover the exact changes I’m making to saueeze this trip into our already tight budget. 

As always, thanks for reading! I hope you have a beautiful and blessed day! 




  1. Brittany Ellicott

    June 13, 2017 at 3:32 am

    eee so excited for you guys!!! i love how organized you are with your budgeting! gabe is in charge of all of the finances in our house (not because of sexist reasons or anything lol just because i don’t want to X) ) and for the last couple of years he’s been playing the credit card game. Basically he opens cards to get the sign up bonus points, uses them for our regualr expenses (bills, groceries, etc.) and racks up more points that way. We pay them completely off every month because like i said we’re using them for things we’d be spending cash on anyway. Then we cancel them before any annual fees. We’ve racked up enough points to cover our flight and lodging (as well as cash back for other travel expenses) to Hawaii this fall. I’d highly recommend looking into it. With as organized as you are I’m sure you could easily accrue some points to offset your expenses as well! Let me know if you’d like a list of some good cards to get started and I could get the info from G and pass it along!

  2. sheenasuzanne

    June 13, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Wow Britt! That is INCREDIBLE! Hawaii sounds SO amazing. I’ve always wanted to go but my throat closes up every time I look at airline tickets. LOL! Good work you guys, for beating the credit companies at their own game! I *wish* I was that disciplined to trust myself to do the same, but I feel like I’m probably not there, yet. While I am good at making a budget and sticking to it, I don’t really trust myself with a credit card anymore! Allen and I got talked into “building our credit” by the mortgage company while we were house hunting, and we made several big ticket purchases on our credit cards in an effort to “build credit.” And of course, we weren’t as responsible with repayment as we should’ve been, so now that we see the fault in our ways, we’re working to pay those off. The good news is that this trip is kind of a reward for diligently making debt payments for the last few years. If we stick to our budget for the next 18 months as we’ve agreed, we should have most of the debts paid off before we travel. 🙂

    I can’t wait to hear all the details about your Hawaii trip! When are you going exactly? Which island are you staying on? What spots do you plan to visit? Taking the kids or flying solo? I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE PHOTOS!! 😀 😀 😀

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