NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — By now, your summer vacation might be a distant memory. But the cost of that trip could be ruining your credit.
CBS2’s Mary Calvi has more on what you can do now to fix it, and how to avoid this problem in the future.
The cost of the cruise Andrew Cameron took with his family this summer doubled.
“Zip lining adventure for $99. Barrier reef snorkel tour for $109. The dolphin swim is $119. You have the video arcade package, which was $280. You don’t realize all of these things add up,” he said.
“I budgeted between $5,000 and $6,000. It wound up being almost $10,000.”
Like most people, Cameron then took out his credit card.
“I’m still going to be paying it off, that debt,” he said.
And the interest it will incur. But that’s not all. His family vacation may also have a negative impact on his credit score.
“Your utilization ratio, that’s 30 percent of your overall credit score. That’s the difference between your credit card balances and your credit limits and once you go over 30 percent of that ratio, your credit scores come down,” credit expert Paul Oster said.
Oster is with credit management firm Better Qualified.
“So now you might be paying higher interest rates on mortgages, auto financing, your insurance premiums directly tied to your credit score. So now that vacation winds up costing you much more and it has a long-term lasting effect,” Oster said.
Increasingly, Americans are also taking out loans to pay for their vacations, or taking advantage of book-now-pay-later plans. But just like charging a trip, these options often just increase the cost of your already expensive vacation.
“Three months or less should be your expense plan to get out of the debt, because once you start going over the three months, it’s going to starting costing more and more money,” Oster said.
So how do you pay it off?
“It might be a good time to consider a balance transfer. You could buy yourself another 18 months interest free as long as you make the payments on time,” Oster said.
To avoid vacation debt altogether, Oster suggests trying to house swap, using your mileage to help offset the cost of a trip and also consider flying on weekdays as opposed to weekends, which can cost hundreds of dollars more per flight.