Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Is it worth it to charge a trip to Europe on a Credit Card?

Is it worth it to charge a trip to Europe on a Credit Card?

Dec 24th, 2006, 09:39 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
Have you calculated what your total outlay will be after the interest is accounted for? If you're happy with that number (and consider that if you save up and pay cash you could extend your trip with the difference), then I'd say go for it.

Personally, I pay off my credit cards before the due date and pay cash for my cars. The only long-term debt I've ever had was for real estate, and that makes sense because of the leverage factor. Short-term debt is for beaners.
Robespierre is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,848
I'd be willing to charge a plane ticket, but would attempt to save money for food and housing and only spend daily what I'd been able to get saved up ahead of time.
suze is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,598
Why do you think you can't travel to Europe when you're working full time? I traveled to Europe almost every year. If you plan your days off (usually ten work days) around weekends and holidays, you can get two weeks, maybe more. No, you won't be able to stay for one month, but you can go without acquiring cc debt. If you have wanderlust I don't think going into debt for a one-month stay will cure it. You'll be longing to go back and won't be able to because you'll still be paying off the first trip.

Many companies will let you take your vacation time within a few months, or time off without pay if you have a trip planned. The time to discuss it is when the conversation turns to hiring you.

I understand wanderlust, but big debt is a big pain.
Luisah is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5,950
You were just in France a year ago. France will be there a year or two from now. Getting yourself into debt, especially if you have student loans might eventually severely curtail your ability to indulge your wanderlust.
Carrybean is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
The OP wants to go to Europe for a month, which most likely would not be available once OP begins a new job.
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 13,323
"The OP wants to go to Europe for a month, which most likely would not be available once OP begins a new job.'

Well, people in hades want ice water to!

Still, IF I had a good job lined up and NO huge college debts I might go for it, but maybe for two weeks instead of four. I bet they go.

degas is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 115
You have to ask your self some questions: 1. in this economy, will you be able to get a job that will pay for your essentials (rent, transportation, food, etc.); 2. after the essentials are paid, how much "play" money is left, 3. whats the interest rate on your credit card?

IF you put your trip on your cc, be ready for unexpected things that can happen (i.e. car breaks down, medical/dental problems not covered by insurance), and if this happens, and you default on your card, will you still be able to afford the payment (default rates are much higher)?

I understand the desire to travel but can you wait a year, until you are assured of an income?

I'm in my early 30s, my husband is in his lates 30s, and we've never regretted postponing traveling until we can afford it. Between law school and grad school we could barely afford rent, and I'm glad of the soundness of our decision. Now that my husband is established in his career, we can afford to pay for our trips in cash (we still travel in a budget, and can't stay more than 3 weeks) but at least we're not stressing about how to pay for our trips.

An argument in your behalf is that you are young and have plenty of time to recover financially, and probably have less responsibilities than most (we have a mortgage, 2 cars, and a toddler with a college fund) so although putting a trip on cc might be painful, it shouldn't be detrimental.

Whichever you decide, enjoy and have fun.

PS If you decide to put it on a card, do two things (1) apply for a 0 interest; (2) get an AmEx charge card for emergencies (as you are required to pay off the balance right away, only use it IF you MUST).
Kealoha is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,225
>An argument in your behalf is that you are young and have plenty of time to recover financially, ...<

Or maybe not, and you can spend the rest of your life digging out of your credit card hole.

ira is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,049
If you will graduate debt free, and already have a firm commitment for a job, and know what your income will be, and what your living expenses will be, your proposal might be defensible, but is still not a good idea. I suspect that none of the conditions I have listed fits you, as your plans appear, at best, impractical and not well thought out.

Of course, very many Americans are foolishly and hopelessly indebted, and you may want to join them. When our economy has a downturn, as it always has and will, the mass of indefensible debt you are seeking to increase will make the downturn much worse and as new hires are often the first to be let go, I would advise you to avoid any long term leases.

Perhaps you should consult a financial counselor about how to handle your finances; almost all will tell you that credit card debt is the common ground in all personal financial emergencies. A credit card should be used as a convenience, so you don't have to carry around the cash you have in the bank, rather than as a type of loan.

A better plan would be to get a job, build up your financial cushion, and save your vacation days; if you earn two weeks of vacation in a year, you should be able to arrange a month off sometime in the second year, certainly by the third.

Please tell me you aren't majoring in finance or economics.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 01:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
I agree - don't go. Save up as much as possible, get a good job, and take a trip in 2008. When all's said and done, you'll likely be able to afford 1.5 or 2 trips in cash, rather than one on credit, for the equivalent total sum.
WillTravel is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 04:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 6
Thanks to all who replied to my question! I'll explain my trip further: I paln to charge theplane trip, $ 1000, then go to a language school for a month, which cost me $900 for one month, including food. The real reason why i like Europe so much is the friends I met there, whom I still email with regularly. I enjoyed the feeling of freedom I had there. Plus, one of my guy friends that I am in school with now, is going to be in Europe for the first time in May of 07, and I want to experience it with him.

My current situation is: I am majoring in Sociology. I will graduate with about $24,000 in student loans. I have yet to decide what I am going to do with this degree once I graduate in December. I work on campus as a Residential Assistant. I get a free single room to myself and make about $120 a month, which barely covers my car insurance and cell phone bills, which i pay for myself. I have the option to work on campus next summer as an RA and make about $1600. I will probably just do that and work, then go back to Europe. No matter what I choose to do, though, I know myself, and I pay off my credit cards before I accumulate too much debt.

To Ira: <Sheesh, kids today. No self-discipline. Everything is instant gratification. No concept of saving instead of going into debt...yada yada yada yada... uphill both ways.>
You're right, I guess my generation does sometimes get caught up in instant gratification. I just think it's easier for me to think about how much fun I will have and not how much debt I will be in.

To canterbury: I have considered working there, but I don't know how to go about working temporarily in France. Can you give me some ideas on how your daughter was going to go about getting a job there? I can communicate pretty well in French, so working is a good option.
butrflimobrain is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 05:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,322
This last bit of information is most helpful and I will join the crowd of people who like to travel but advise not to do this trip with credit card finances. First, I agree that a budget of $2500 for airfare, place to stay, food and transportation in the summer with the Euro over $1.30 to the dollar is very optimistic. Secondly you have $24,000 in student debt that you will have to start paying off sometime during your first year after graduation. Third, you do not have a job lined up yet and although I have no idea what a degree in sociology
brings to the market place, I suspect that it does not lead to a high paying first year job. I would highly recommend that you find a job, a place to live and see what living in the "real" world is like before deciding on what you can afford to do. You might be surprised at what kind of expenses you have when you start working as well as the taxes which come into play.
While taking a month off to travel once you start working may be difficult, taking two weeks of vacation in a year is not unusual. You are most likely young and have decades to travel. Europe will not go anywhere.
mjs is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 06:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,573
It sounds like you are going to do it anyway, regardless of what people say. I'd say no, of course not, you shouldn't be taking expensive vacations when you are already in debt just becuase you want to. You don't even have any career plans and are getting a degree that isn't going to be getting you much of a decent job anyway, most likely. Sociology majors aren't getting great job offers, and bachelors level, which I guess this is, you'll be lucky to find a job even related to the field. I don't see how you can pay that off in a year if you have no money, no job and are in debt astronomically now with student loans. Just how exactly do you plan to start your life -- car, apartment, etc. with no money? Go into debt for that also?

I think it is completely irresponsible and immature to think you must have an expensive European vacation at such a young age when you are thousands of dollars in debt and have to career plans.
Christina is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 542
Hmmm - I have been in the "go for it" camp before but I say credit makes sense when it is a timing/flow/allocation issue. For example - use a little credit because you have other assets invested in stocks and why sell those right now. Or I have no money now but in 6 months I get a signing bonus. I also think what is my back up plan. Right now my husband and I feel things are tight financially and we have been a little renegade but we always know there are some major decisions we could make that would totally change the situation (go into private practive vs academia, me get a job, sell one of our our rental properties).

For you OP - I worry that your options are few... it isn't just about juggling assets or timing AND you are going to have a lot of upcoming risks/expenses - moving, interviewing it is going to add up heavy.

This might not be the right time to push the envelope unless you have some other way to get income.

sfmaster is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 06:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 13,323
Good lord, it just gets worse and worse: $24,000 in debt, a liberal arts degree and no job.

I hope this is a troll!
degas is offline  
Dec 24th, 2006, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 5,869
The first step to becoming a multimillionaire is to avoid debt and interest payments (there are many more).
Buen viaje.
M (SMdA, Gto.)

mikemo is offline  
Dec 25th, 2006, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,225
Hi B,

>I am majoring in Sociology. I will graduate with about $24,000 in student loans. I have yet to decide what I am going to do with this degree once I graduate in December.<

I am quite serious now.

My brother and my older daughter are both in the sociology game.

A BS in Sociology is worth zilch in the job market. You will need an MSW.

You are already nearly a year's salary in debt.

$2000 on your credit card will add about $225/month to your student loan payment, which I estimate at about $275/mo.

You have a nut of $500/mo.

Let's say you start at $2500/mo ($30,000/yr),

Fed, State and Social Security taxes will take about 30% - $750.

Rent will be at least another $750.

Car payments will be about $200/mo.

Cell phone is about $30/month.
Utilities will be about $100/month.

This leaves you about $5/day for all other expenses.

You are going to need the money that's going to your credit card.

ira is offline  
Dec 25th, 2006, 07:51 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 281
There is a great program called BUNAC for just- graduated (or still in college)people that allows you to live and work (or volunteer) in various locations including Europe. Check them out online. Their office is the support and resource for your job search and the usual VISA (document kind!)restrictions don't apply if you are in the program (more details online). You do have to arrive with enough cash to live on until you get the job, and the plane ticket, of course- but in this case you would be working immediately to start paying off the debt for the ticket. You could start saving right now for the cash. Good luck!
sglass is offline  
Dec 25th, 2006, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,959
To answer your question, my answer is yes.

Please let me share my experience with you. Growing up, my family was not rich but not poor. Our vacations were spent at the beach each year since a relative owned a house. We on occasion would take a trip to Canada or Florida but that was the extent of it. While I love my family and have wonderful memories, I never experienced Europe or the Caribbean until I was in my late 20's. Not that I never had the chance to go to Europe before, but it came down to "do you want to waste your money on that?" and the answer was always no.

When I was in my mid 20's not that long ago . I decided to go back to school and finish what I started. I was working but the pay was not that great but they did offer to pay a small portion of my schooling (I also was working a part time job). I decided not to take out a loan and pay for it all on my credit card. Don't ask me how I did it but it only took me less than 2 months to pay off the credit card when I graduated. I also had a previous college loan that was paid off during this time.

What I haven't told you yet, was that during this time I took 2 trips to New Orleans, 2 trips to Las Vegas, a trip to Disney World, a trip to London and 2 trips to Italy and a trip to France, all on my credit card. I was not raised to take care of my finances this way but it worked for me and it was my way of rewarding myself for working so hard and bettering myself.

Now it is your choice of course. You know what you can or cannot afford and what is or isn't worth it. If you need a job when you get back, look into the Pharmaceutical Research field. They have been known to hire graduates that didn't major in the sciences.

sassy27 is online now  
Dec 25th, 2006, 06:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,037
"The real reason why i like Europe so much is the friends I met there..."

First, is this primarily about satisfying a need to wander, or a need to connect with other people? Make sure you know which before snapping out the plastic. Also, if what you truly desire is the second option, consider that you haven't yet given yourself a chance to meet friends on the job, or even in a volunteer work setting.

As for travel, I don't say put it off until you have completely paid off all $24K in student loans, but I do say put it off until you have paid off something . Paying off debt is like setting out to reform your eating habits or exercise regimen: you don't want to postpone it until some magical future time - be it January 1st or "when I get a full-time job", at which point you're presumably going to execute the task "perfectly". Rather, start TODAY - even if it's a matter of putting aside only $5 a week to pay off the first 10 per cent of the debt - the psychological victory will be huge. You want to wander to satisfy your lust, not to use as a drug to mute, oh-so-temporarily, your anxiety over your looming responsibilities.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:45 AM.