Usually my vacations are spur-of-the moment, last-minute decisions. And usually, they wind up being to places my kids want to go. This would explain why I've been to Disneyland four times in the past ten years. Or we go to the beach. And, of course, I dig out my handy-dandy credit cards and charge air fare, motels, restaurants, etc.
Now a different opportunity has arisen, and I have enough advance notice to actually think about it, plan for it, and save toward it: My best friend of over 30 years wants to go to Japan in October, 2008. More than than, she's got frequent flyer miles she is willing to donate to my cause, and because she is Japanese-American, she has numerous relatives in Japan with whom we can stay.
Back in my college days, I took Japanese language courses for three years. I barely remember any of it now, but the fascination for things Japanese has stayed with me.
SO--I figure I will need around $2000 for this vacation, and I now have a year to save for it.
OTOH, $2000 would go a long way toward my credit card debt.
Add to that, my concern that although I've been reducing my debt for the past several months, that may not be possible every month. In fact, there is a good chance that repairs to my rental home will have to come out of my HELOCC, which will wind up increasing my debt. Since my tenant and his father are making the repairs as their time permits, I have been able, so far, to pay as they go. But when the new windows go in or the bathroom is gutted, both of which need to happen in the near future, I'll have to tap the HELOCC.
Then again, I usually get $3,000 to $4,000 back income tax refunds in March of each year. I could save vacation money out of that, and put the rest toward the debts.
Or, I could just not go to Japan!
This is not my favorite option. All of my excuses center on the "once in a lifetime" nature of this particular opportunity. If it had come up suddenly, my answer would definitely be not to go.
But I've got a year. . .