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How to Afford A Vacation When You Haven't Taken One in Over a Year

Raise your hand if you'd like to be at a beach somewhere with an umbrella drink in your hand.
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Raise your hand if you'd like to be at a beach somewhere with an umbrella drink in your hand.

Oh yes, that would be me. Right over here - this lady.

I really want to go on a vacation soon, somewhere warm, but unfortunately that will be a long way off.

We recently traveled in May to celebrate time together as a family before my husband started residency after graduating from medical school.

Let me tell you, it's a good thing we did. I knew his residency schedule would be hard, but it's been almost unreal. The job is extremely challenging and requires a lot of thought and energy. Any time he makes it home in time to read to the kids before bed, he falls asleep in their room.

Needless to say, we're all still adjusting, especially me. I am doing all sorts of new things like cutting the grass and taking the trash to the curb. You know, dude things. (Hence me fantasizing about being on a beach somewhere without a care in the world.)

Life Is Hard. Vacations are Awesome.

Needless to say, raising a family is hard. Running a house is hard. Running a business is hard. And, sometimes it's nice to get a break.

However, there are many of you out there who are caught up with work and family responsibilities and can't get that nice vacation break that you want. Maybe you'd like to take a vacation but you have no idea how you'd fit it in to your schedule or how you'd even afford it.

According to the seventh annual Vacation Confidence Index by Allianz Travel Insurance more than 170 million Americans haven't taken a vacation in the last 12 months. And wait, hold the phone. Allianz's research also showed that 37% of people haven't been on vacation in more than two years!

Oh my gosh, guys. We need a break! Two years is far too long to deal with day to day life stresses without some time to yourself.

So, if you're one of those people who hasn't had a vacation in a long, long time, here are some ideas for affording that vacation you so badly need:

Rent an Apartment

A great way to save money on a vacation is to rent an apartment. I've rented several apartments on
, and it's always been a great experience. For about half the price of a hotel room, I usually get a bigger place, a kitchen, and more amenities. Sure, I don't have someone cleaning my room every day like I would in a hotel, but that's okay.

Staying in an apartment allows me to feel like I actually live in the city I'm visiting. It also helps to save money because you can buy some groceries and cook meals in your apartment.

Go Somewhere Nearby

Just because you want to go on a vacation doesn't mean that you have to go to the airport, wait in super long lines, get a cab, and spend a bunch of money.

Instead, you can go to a nearby city, rent an Airbnb, and just enjoy being away for a little while. For example, Chicago is only a 4 hour drive from my new home in Detroit, so that would be a good weekend getaway that wouldn't require plane tickets for four people.

Save Ahead of Time

There's nothing worse than returning home from a vacation with maxed out credit cards and a bunch of regret. In fact, this could be one of reasons so many people haven't traveled in a while. If you put a vacation you can't afford on your credit card, you're not going to feel relaxed when it's over. Instead it will cause you more stress.

My advice is to save ahead of time for your vacation. You can create a separate high yield savings account with a vacation goal in it. I use Smarty Pig for actually saving for goals like this (read my review of that here). Every month I have a small amount of money automatically deducted from my bank account and put in a Smarty Pig account. I do this for a variety of goals, like Christmas spending, throughout the year. When that fund gets full, you know it's time to start shopping around for vacation destinations, and the best part is, you'll already have the money there to pay for it.

When's the last time you went on a vacation? Do you usually save for vacation ahead of time?

This article is an excerpt. View the full length, original article on www.CatherineAlford.com.