Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Can we afford a winter vacation?

I've been a bit MIA lately and honestly I'm not sure why. My life is not that busy, so I have no real excuse!

I live in central Canada, which means come winter time, it is freezing! It's generally -20 or -25C (-4 to -13F), but -30C/-22F is a regular occurrence. And then when you add in the windchill, it can even drop to -50C/-58F. While this isn't the regular temperature, we do get at least a week or two of this type of nasty weather at least a couple times in the season.

So what's a Canadian girl to do? Escape for as long as possible. I used to go on winter vacations every year when I was younger and didn't care about taking on debt. But now that I'm older and wiser, winter vacations are not as common. We did go to Hawaii last year for our honeymoon, but that was the first time I'd been on a winter break in four years and the first for Husband ever.

Now that the temperatures are starting to drop and I can't ignore the fact that summer is over, it really makes me want to start planning a getaway. But I'm just not sure if we can financially swing it. We do have a vacation fund that has $638 in it right now. By the end of the year, it'll be up to $1,438, which is a pretty nice chunk of change.

The problem is, we have a little bit of debt on the credit card since the house purchase. I hate having that looming over our heads. On one hand, the interest rate is very low (1.9%) and we're paying it off as fast as possible, but on the other hand, that money from the vacation fund (plus some incoming freelance cheques) could almost wipe it out. So I can't decide what to do!!!

Pros for winter vacation:
- Get away for the winter
- Could be our last chance for a getaway before we have kids
- Is reasonably cheap vacation-wise (we can do it for around $2,000 if we don't go crazy)
- The money is in our vacation fund, so I feel like we should use it for a vacation

- Could use the money towards the debt or other more necessary things (stuff for the house, Christmas, etc.)
- If we go on a winter vacation, we wouldn't be able to do a summer vacation next year and we have tossed around the idea of a road trip through the U.S.

If we do take a winter break, I will continue to use my freelance income to pay off the credit card, so it's not like the card will go unpaid. It will just take longer.

Any thoughts on which way we should go? Any other pros or cons I'm missing?