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How to vacation without relying on your credit card

Here are a few investing tips to keep in mind while planning for that dream vacation

Investing for a holiday

'What mutual funds should I invest in to fund my trip to Rome?' That's the kind of question many millennials have for their financial advisors today. While there is nothing wrong per se in setting a financial goal that will fund a life experience like a holiday, you will need to learn to be okay with delayed gratification.

While it is commonplace for GenY to take expensive annual holidays on the spur of the moment and to fund it by swiping their credit cards or taking personal loans, this can wreak huge damage on their finances and land them in a debt trap as they're just beginning their lives. If you're tempted to take this route, think of all the vacations you could take with just the interest you would end up paying on the loan. When you take a five-year personal loan for Rs 5 lakh to fund a foreign holiday, you would be paying back Rs 7 lakh to your bank over five years, even at a moderate interest rate of 14 per cent. It makes far more financial sense to delay that holiday a bit and to fund it with your savings.

Warren Buffett may be one of the richest men in the world. But one tenet he lives by is, 'Do not save what is left after spending. Spend what is left after saving.' So, one of the best financial habits that you can develop as soon as you start earning is the habit of setting aside your savings as soon as your monthly pay cheque comes in and using only what's left for your lifestyle expenses. This helps inculcate the practice of living within your means. But thanks to the easy availability of personal loans and the temptations served up by credit-card marketers, who periodically urge you to convert your outstanding loans into an EMI, many do the exact opposite of what Mr Buffett recommends. They indulge in a spending spree as soon as they get their pay, and make up the shortfalls towards the end of the month through the liberal use of plastic currency.

But saving up for a holiday and looking forward to it for the next five years is certainly a far better idea than taking your holiday right away and slogging to pay off the EMI for the next five years.

If you're thinking of investing in order to finance an expensive holiday, put aside small sums in a mutual fund SIP every month. If the planned holiday is just a year or two away, a short-duration debt fund would be your best choice. If you have three to five years, a conservative hybrid fund would be appropriate for you.

Even if you manage to fund only a part of your vacation costs, that's still good enough. A rupee saved from the clutches of your bank or credit-card company is a rupee you can use to live the good life!