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 25th, 2006, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 504
One thing that caught my eye in your response is that you enjoy the sense of freedom you have in Europe.

With any vacation I have taken -- from Europe to Maine to Australia to Africa -- one of the things I enjoy is that sense of freedom -- being away from the realities of everyday life is what a vacation is for! You should experience that -- but even going away to the mountains or shore for a few days should give that to you.

You want to go to language school -- it that were for Spanish, I would see that that has a lot of value -- being bilingual always opens doors -- I wish I was -- I am not so sure that you being bilingual in French has as much value as Spanish.

I personally believe debt is for a home, a car, and schooling -- I would not go into debt for a vacation and I believe strongly in vacations and traveling -- but it needs to be saved for.

There will ALWAYS be things you want and can justify to yourself that it is worth having and going into debt for. But, remember, that debt owns you.

You also said that once you start working you won't have time to travel to Europe -- most everyone on this board works and finds time to travel. I have only once had a vacation of 6 weeks -- and that was between jobs. Otherwise, the most I have managed is 3 weeks but usually 2-2.5 weeks. I do not get to do everything I want but I have gotten to a lot of wonderful places and have a long list about which I keep dreaming!
mpkp is offline  
Dec 25th, 2006, 08:10 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 60
I'm going against the grain on this one.
My vote is that you go to Europe. Your only obligation is to yourself and your young.

If your responsible and feel that you can manage the credit card debt without getting into trouble and can afford your college loans.

You could consider staying in hostels to save money on lodging. You might also be eligible for college or student ID discounts on trains and other transportation given your age. I'd recommend you look into this as this doesn't apply to me, so I can't be sure. But, I believe that I've read about this in this forum before.

Summer is high season and would require planning and care deciding where and when to go to make the best of your trip and your budget.

Money can always be made and I feel some things are worth spurging on. You could always work part-time delivering pizzas or whatever to make money to put aside for this trip to avoid putting everything on your card or having money in the bank to help pay for this trip.

Starting a new job will likely mean that your not going to get vacation for a full year. That's a long time to wait and things happen, your plans could change and this trip could get delayed for some time.

My boyfriend and I were stationed in Germany in the late 1980s. We got engaged, married and it took us another twelve years before we felt we could afford to go back.

Europe will be there, but the time and opportunity isn't always as easy as you think it is. I say, go for it.

bashawdi is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,481
I've been following this post but haven't commented b/c ira and Gsteed had already said it all.
Now, mpkp, brings up an interesting point about the OP's "sense of freedom".
There is no freedom in debt. I love to have what I want and go where I want but that changes if you have a huge debt that compounds monthly. Soon, you will be paying off only the interest.
Have you really done the math?

You say you will pay it off the $2500 in 12 months. Have you factored in the interest? That's pretty hefty. What happens if you're car breaks down and the job you have is 25 miles from your home? Whip out the cc?
Do yourself a favor; don't shackle yourself to debt.
You'll enjoy freedom for the rest of your life.
L84SKY is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,224
Just a side note -- the only person I know who charged a trip to Europe (or even went to Europe) during grad school had to file for bankruptcy a few years after finishing. It wasn't just that one trip -- but it seemed to indicate a general willingness to "pay in installments" that later compounded into a huge problem.

So if it's just this one trip, I don't think it's a problem if you do it on a no/low interest card. But usually people who are willing to do this once are willing to do it again and again and that's where you might screw yourself.
fishee is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 07:44 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 5,869
When I was in my 20's I was a commissioned US Naval Officer and got to take lots of "free" trips.
mikemo is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,567
Given all the background info you posted (thank you!) my answer to you is NO, don't do it.

First off, it seems pretty much a fantasy that you will pay off this debt within 12 months. An even bigger fantasy is that this whole plan is going to cost you only $2500. Not a chance.

You are about to go into what could be a very exciting time in your life; career development. Start by making wise desicions and setting goals instead of setting off fires.
Viajero2 is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 460
"My vote is that you go to Europe. Your only obligation is to yourself and your young."

Wrong. All consumers pay higher fees due, partly at least, to those "young and free" people who default. Not that older people don't get to run up bills and walk away as well.

Cato is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 205
One way to avoid late payments on any loan is to have it set up as automatic deduction from your checking account. Then you will not risk having an interest rate raised on you. Very important! And overdraft protection might not be a bad idea if your bank will accept starving student status.

Good luck, whatever you decide, however you get there. It's wonderful you have an appreciate for European culture.

Giselle is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 793
To butrflimobrain

Our niece is majoring in International Business and will be spending a semester at Maastricht U. She will begin her senior year this January.

She has had several interviews at her college in Calif. for internships upon her completion of her semester in the Netherlands. Two of the companies have offices in Europe and she is being considered for those positions.

Our daughter is a freshman and has pretty much followed in the footsteps of her cousin - information through her school here.
canterbury is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
I haven't read every post carefully, so I apologize uf this has already been mentioned...

...but I think that the answer depends on what else would you do with the time, if you did not take this trip? Help your parents around the house, cut the grass occasionally and party? Or work two jobs and make $800 a week? Will you have the expenses of a place where you live in summer 2007? Or is that not a financial consideration?

Let's assume a middle-of-the-road scenario... you would live with your parents, have a job, and make $600 a week.

I think it would be reasonably responsible to do this: leave the trip for the last two (or three) weeks before fall semester resumes, and make a detailed budget for the trip. Finance it as follows: one-third is paid for from savings you accumulate between now and then; one third is paid for from the income you make, during the time you shorten the trip, and then... it's okay (even if not ideal) to charge the final third to a credit card.

Moreover, if the trip is shorter than you want, start planning a follow-up trip of 10 days or so (ideally October 15-March 15 when travel costs are lower) during the vacation allotment you get during your second year of full-time employment. And ask your parents if they would endorse this self-challenge... if you have those credit card bills paid off by graduation time in December, then would they mind a graduation gift of cash... to be used as the nest-egg "seed" for your 2008 /2009 trip?

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 148
As a staff attorney for the United States Bankruptcy Court, it pains me that you're thinking of charging a trip to Europe. Anybody with 24k in student loans and no serious job prospects shouldn't even be extended any credit, but that's another problem entirely. Seriously, put Europe out of your mind for a few years, get a job, start saving money and then revisit it.

Keep in mind that the wise use of credit isn't just about whether you can make the minimum payment on time. How you use credit will affect bigger purchases down the road, e.g., whether you can get a mortgage and at what rate. Your $2500 trip could ultimately cost you a lot more than just interest.

As someone who sees the very real and very sad consequences every day of living beyond one's means, please get off on the right foot financially and limit your credit card usage to emergencies. Now is the best time to develop good financial habits. Memories of Europe are great but they start to fade pretty quickly when you can't pay your bills.

Indygirl2 is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,225
Hi Indygirl2
>As a staff attorney for the United States Bankruptcy Court, ....<

You might get a kick out of this.

A lawyer friend of mine was working with a woman on a bankruptcy arrrangement.

He had her come into the office to sign some papers.

"Is this a correct list of all of your debts?", says he.

"No. There is one more".

"I thought you told me that these were all of your debts".

"Well, they sent me a credit card in the mail. So I owe another $2000".

ira is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Oh Ira! I have an ex member of the family (due to a divorce from a family member). This person went through bankruptcy. It has come to light that he and his second wife (who had also gone through bankruptcy) now have something like 8 credit cards and each CC has a balance of around $20,000.00 and they only make the minimum payment for each CC. Plus car loans on 3 very expensive vehicles plus department store CC cards. They rent a "McMansion" and have something like a total of $3,000.00 in savings. Another disaster waiting to happen I believe.
LoveItaly is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 02:24 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,633
I once knew a couple who just before declaring bankruptcy bought a wonderful new expensive car. Something about because he needed the car for business they couldn't take it back in bankruptcy. Last I knew they still had that car -- and they only put a few hundred down on it, never to make another payment.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 02:26 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 460
Nobody should be allowed to declared bankruptcy over CC charges, medical expenses excepted.
Cato is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 02:31 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
Why not - they are a legitimate debt
alanRow is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 03:23 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,633
I think Cato's point is why should WE pay for the debts (and yes we do) when someone was "allowed" to spend lots of money he didn't have by using credit cards. In other words -- we pay for other people's carlessness or stupidity (you choose the word you prefer).
NeoPatrick is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,579
I don't believe butriflimobrain is giving us all the facts. He (she? I'll use he henceforth) admits to earning just enough as a TA to pay a car loan and cell phone bill. How are his other expenses paid? What kind of line of credit does he get as an unemployed student - enough for a $2500 vacation?

A poster suggested getting a CC with a 0% interest rate. Please let me know how to get this. Today, Citicorp offered me a 3.99% rate on a transferred balance and it would only cost a 3% fee. Of course, any payments made to the account would first be applied to the transferred amount which means any other outstanding balance would be charged 14.24%. A default on this or any other Citi card agreement would increase the rate to 32.24% . BTW, if I failed to make a payment to any other creditor when due the rate may also increase.
jsmith is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 04:07 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
If one has credit cards that do not have an annual fee (which is true with all of my credit cards) and if one pays the credit card balance in full each month before it is due than one is not paying for those that have large CC debts and file bankruptcy.

The only debt I have ever had in my entire life is RE mortgages and I have always paid those in full way in advance.

Freedom is not owning anyone any money except the month to month bills that you know you have the money to pay. And saving money to pay cash for a vehicle, for a shopping trip, for travel. That is true freedom in my book.
LoveItaly is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 04:19 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 6
Alrighty! So, after reading all of the responses, I have decided to delay my trip until after I have enough moeny to afford it. I still am considering getting a job overseas, though, which would help me finance it. Let me know if any of you know about job opportunities during the summer of 07. Thanks to everyone who responded. I know that it will be hard for me to obtain a job with a BA in Sociology, but I am determined to get a good job and secure a good future for myself. Thanks again!
butrflimobrain is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:40 AM.