The year is finally ending, and you feel like you deserve a break. Whether 2022 has been a great or not-so-great one, the best way to unwind and recharge before the new year starts is to take a vacation. But is taking a holiday during the peak season, i.e., December, a good move, or should you postpone it to February/
You can decide to postpone your vacation for multiple financial reasons. Consider the story of Fidel, a 34 years old civil engineer. While most of his colleagues usually take off during the last two weeks of December, he always chooses to work and take his vacation during the off-season. This allows him to build goodwill with his employer and workmates as he's among the few people who stay behind to attend to clients. In return, he earns a good bonus and negotiates for a paid one-month vacation in February.
If a nice bonus or an extended vacation isn’t a great motivation for you to postpone your December, here are six reasons why you should cancel that impromptu holiday and wait until February.
Vacationing is a significant financial expense and, as such, requires enough preparation. If you have not been saving for and planning every cost that can come up during your holiday, starting now could be let. To afford an unplanned event could mean two things, digging into your savings or taking a loan. Both are not financially smart.
Here's how you can start financially getting ready for February vacation:
Review your finances: Before packing your bags, you need to ensure it makes financial sense. Start by examining your cash flow; how are your savings, and if you are in debt, is it manageable? Once this is under control, you can decide how much you can afford to put aside for vacation without affecting your budget and goals.
Create a holiday budget: Start by calculating all the major costs and writing them down. Decide how much you want to spend on food, accommodation, and transportation. Once you have this locked, put aside money that you'll use in case emergencies arise.
If your finances allow it and you have a budget ready, you can start saving and making early bookings. Finally, get yourself travel insurance cause a lot can happen mid-trip. It will cover you from unexpected illness, accident, loss of property, etc.
You have to ask yourself, do you want to carry your 2022 baggage to the new year, or would you prefer to start it on a clean slate? If you choose the latter, you should postpone your vacation. Here are some year-end deadlines that can hold you back:
Work Deadlines: Do you have some incomplete assignments that can affect the annual assessment that your employer might hold against you? Are you required to give a yearly report to your boss? If this is the case, you might want to use the holidays to get back on track.
2022 Resolutions: Did you check everything off the list, or do some still require your attention? If one of your goals was to join a SACCO, consider using the free time you have on your hand to research the best SACCO to join.
Saving Goals: You had a lot of savings goals to meet this year. You might have even saved enough to meet your holiday budget. But did you meet your other goals? And is a holiday a priority now, or could you be better off using that money if you put in your rainy day funds if it's dry or topping your retirement account if you are lagging? You have to review your finances and ensure you are putting your money to the best use.
January and February are the off-season of vacation, especially if you want to save as much money as possible. With fewer people travelling to holiday destinations like the coast during the off-season, you can save a lot of tickets whether you are flying or taking a bus. Travel agencies will give you better offers, and everything from flights to accommodation is cheaper.
Accommodation is relatively inexpensive and readily available. You can be able to afford a 5-star hotel during the off-season with a 4-star hotel budget. Hotels reduce their prices when they see less traffic. Financial reasons aside, with the hotel less crowded, you might have the pool to yourself.
Finally, you will be able to explore more destinations, see more sights, and do more activities without breaking the bank. All the money you save on accommodation and transport could go toward buying more fantastic experiences.
December comes with a lot of financial obligations, and this means spending more compared to other months. First, you have to prep for the holidays. This can be more expensive, especially if you have a family.
Consider the story of Caroline, 32, who had to postpone her family's December vacation. She had too many responsibilities that she had to borrow from her holiday account. First, her family requested that she not miss the reunion. She tried to fit it into her calendar, but it was costly. She couldn't travel home empty-handed, and between buying presents for her kids and family members she was going to meet, her money didn't add up.
You might not be like Caroline and don't travel home for the holidays. But you might still have to send your parents and siblings black tax or holiday presents. And if you are a parent, you have to think about the following year's school fees. You might have to ensure you can send your kids to school before considering going on a vacation.
With the year ending, you could never have a better time to review your finances. How well did you do this year? Did you save enough or reduce your debt? Were you able to stay on budget? What significant financial steps did you take, and how did it play out? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself and then answer honestly.
Performing an annual financial checkup requires that you go through every little detail of your finances. It is the perfect way to know how financially stable and secure you are and if you are headed in the right direction. Here are three steps for performing your end-year financial review:
With the new year on the horizon, you might have new financial goals to chase. Kickstarting these goals requires that you take your time in the early stages. For instance, if you plan to start a business, you must flush out all the details and assess all your risks. If your employer offers you a two-week break, you could use that time to write your business plan or develop a new source of income.
Another great personal goal to pursue in December is sharpening your skills by taking a short online course. Most platforms will let you learn at your own pace, thus can allow you to take a one-month-long course in a week or less. You can easily find free courses that suit your career on major learning websites. The new skills you learn can increase your employability status.
While a vacation could be nice after a long year of chasing your goals and dedicating too much time to your career, it doesn’t hurt to decide from a financial point of view. If it could hurt your pocket to go in December, or you feel like there are better things to spend your energy on, you are better off postponing it.
If you can multitask, i.e., vacation while working or create a passive income stream, you can choose not to postpone your holiday. Another thing you must consider is if you are your employer or schedule will allow you to vacation in February. If it doesn’t, then December is the only time you have; you must therefore make the most of it.