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by Maurie Backman for The Ascent | June 16, 2021

man, woman, and girl holding hands and watching airplane take off
Image source: Getty Images

Here’s why it pays to spend some money on travel in the near term.

Many people spent the summer of 2020 staying close to home. I was one of them. In fact, my husband and I had saved up for a fabulous trip to Alaska, and we were crushed when we realized it wouldn’t be happening due to coronavirus-related concerns. Thankfully, we got our money back. And now, we’re contemplating using it to get away this summer.

If you’re thinking of taking a big trip this summer but aren’t sure if it’s the right move, here are four compelling arguments to move forward and take that leap.

1. You can afford it

Racking up any amount of debt in the course of traveling isn’t a smart move. But if you have enough money in your savings account to pay for a trip, then it pays to treat yourself. Similarly, if your savings, coupled with your credit card reward points or miles, make it possible for you to travel affordably, then you shouldn’t hesitate to book some plans provided you don’t have health- or safety-related concerns.

2. You didn’t travel last year

A lot of people skipped last year’s summer vacation. If you didn’t spend money on travel last year, it means that you may, conceivably, have a pile of cash at the ready to put toward a trip this year. Rather than blow that money on smaller indulgences that don’t allow for the same experience and memories, you might as well use that money to travel. This also assumes that you’re all set with emergency savings and don’t have unhealthy debt that money could otherwise be used to pay off.

3. You have travel credits that are expiring

If your vacation plans were canceled last year, instead of a refund, you may have received a travel credit or voucher to apply to a future trip. But at this point, you may be coming up on that voucher or credit’s expiration date since you may have only been given a year to use it up. If that’s the case, then it pays to take a nice trip this summer, especially if you can redeem a voucher that can knock out a large chunk of your total expense.

4. It may work wonders for your mental health

Unfortunately, the pandemic took a toll on the personal finances of many people. But if you’re doing well in that regard and can afford a big trip, getting away or seeing a place that’s been on your bucket list for years could really end up being a good thing for your mental health and well-being. And after the hard year we’ve all had, that’s important.

If you’re going to splurge on a big trip this year, be strategic about the credit cards you use to book it. Choosing the right cards could leave you with a ton of rewards or cash back — money you can then use to plan your next major getaway.

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