If you are newly divorced, you’ve probably noticed that many aspects of life no longer look the same. From holidays, to gatherings with friends, to vacations, your post-divorce experiences are simply different. When it comes to travel, you have new considerations to make as you plan summer getaways – from a safety, financial, and logistics perspective. If you have kids, those changes are likely even more dramatic, especially if your parenting plan requires disclosing the details of travel plans by a certain date each year.
Even if you are planning to travel solo, you’re likely evaluating different destinations with a new set of expectations and needs, possibly even considering locations that promote self-care and healing. You also may be more concerned about the safety of your destinations now. Visits to see friends or vacations with friends or family may be a higher priority for post-divorce travel.
Finally, many newly divorced individuals feel inspired to create new traditions, patterns, and go-to destinations. You may be eager to find new favorite getaways that are different from what you experienced in your marriage, and these new destinations may more strongly reflect your current values and needs.
In this post, we outline what to consider when planning travel, if you are newly divorced.
Plan, Plan, Plan
First off, successful post-divorce travel requires far more planning than previously as you rebuild your relationship with money. Since you may be the only adult travelling, either with your kids or alone, you’ll need to more thoroughly plan both the logistics and finances of your time away.
Your finances will likely be tighter post-divorce, and therefore, you’ll need to budget for your vacations all year long by:
1. Putting vacation dollars into a fund each paycheck for travel
2. Scaling back your travel expectations so you can comfortably vacation without the stress of over-spending
From a planning perspective, you can prepare for post-divorce travel by:
1. Taking advantage of travel apps, travel blogs, or even the assistance of travel agents. These resources can help you understand exactly what you are getting into at your designation, including the area you are staying, safety, transportation options, and more.
2. Considering hotels with programming and activities so you don’t have to do as much running around on vacation. This is especially helpful if you are traveling with kids as the hotel staff can naturally help with your itinerary by keeping the kids entertained. Programming and onsite activities can also reduce the stress of navigating a new place by yourself.
If you are traveling with kids, invite them to co-create the experience with you by choosing activities, destinations, cruise ships, rental cars, hotels, and more. Get them invested in the planning and excited about the new experiences you’ll have together. If you are vacationing solo, consider your travel as a form of therapy or healing from your divorce. Instead of planning a week of partying in Mexico, consider relaxing and rejuvenating activities that support self-care. In either case, don’t overdo it with sightseeing, packed itineraries, or complex transportation plans.
New experiences require not only more planning, but also more creativity. Especially if you are a new single parent, resist the urge to splurge on a vacation for your kids as a way to win them over in the divorce or reward them for what they went through. Don’t overextend yourself financially. Kids will enjoy a creative and simple vacation that is meaningful and fun more than a vacation that creates financial stress.
Getting creative may look like exploring options to camp or take a road trip with several interesting destinations. Explore the option of staying with family in a new city, which can help you and your kids bond with other family members, as well as save you on lodging and even planning time. House-swapping with family or good friends in another city might also be a way to save money. Lastly, always consider vacation destinations close to home.
There are several ways to save money by joining travel programs or even using credit card points for travel and/or lodging. Spend some time researching travel rewards such as getting a free night after you stay a number of nights. Regularly check travel resale sites for deals, especially if you have the flexibility to travel at the last minute.
In some destinations, you may find options to save money on lodging by volunteering on a property. Not only does this provide a vacation that has a component of giving back, but you could save significantly on costs. For example, there are farms in Hawaii and Costa Rica, and possibly even in your home state, that offer simple, affordable, or even free lodging in return for a few hours of work in the kitchen or garden.
The most important two things to remember about post-divorce travel is to be flexible and stay positive. Whether you are traveling alone or with kids, your ability to adapt and stay optimistic can remind you and your family that life inevitably changes and can still be fun and fulfilling under new circumstances.
Successful travel post-divorce means successful budgeting year-round, more planning, and creativity in your approach to vacations. The team at A.M. Financial can help you design a budget that allows you to save effectively all year long so that you can continue to travel post-divorce. Learn more about our services by attending an upcoming event in the Denver area or contact Amy Mahlen, CFP®, CDFA®, for a free consultation.