We've just got back from a few days away on a truly magical family holiday to Disneyland Paris. We have smiled, laughed, swum, sung, danced, hugged, rollercoastered (is that a word?) and eaten. The girls smiled and giggled and their eyes were wide with wonder for the whole journey. It was a wonderful family holiday and I'm so glad we decided to take Lara and Holly who were a brilliant age for their visit. Our holiday to Disneyland Paris was a little bit of a last minute decision and a frivolous use of money but we knew that with a bit of sensible usage of our credit card, we could afford this holiday of a lifetime.
For us, a credit card isn't a way of creating money we don't really own. We don't use it as a long term loan (there are far cheaper ways of borrowing money!)...Instead we use it to help us consolidate our monthly bills into one place AND, in this case, we use it to help us manoeuvre our big outgoings (such as holidays) so that we can pay them once we, ourselves, have been paid, or once we've managed to withdraw savings.
For our holiday of a lifetime, Mr. B. and I had been saving already for some months and had put some money aside for a bit of a summer holiday splurge. We just weren't quite sure what we were going to splurge on, and only decided on Disneyland less than a week before we traveled. Some of our savings accounts and investments require a little bit of time to get hold of the money (although instant-access is far more normal these days) so we didn't actually have all of the funds available when we purchased our holiday. For this reason, we paid for our holiday on our credit card, knowing that by the time the bill has been generated, we'll have collated all the money we need to pay it off.
We also used our credit card a lot while we were on holiday. We only took a few small notes of Euros with us for emergencies but in the end we actually used our credit card to pay for gifts and meals while were were away. These days, most credit cards simply apply an exchange rate to your overseas transactions so in fact, it is an extremely stress-free way of shopping abroad (but check with your credit card provider before you travel to make sure you understand what types of overseas transactions you might be charged for).
Being able to put our spending onto our credit card while we were away has meant that we didn't need to have cash available before we traveled - we can wait until we get paid before paying off our credit card in full. It is also a comfort to have your card with you on holiday just in case of any unplanned spending in the event of an emergency; a hotel for the night or an alternative form of transport home! For us, it was a complete new set of shoes after ours were all ruined from walking all the way around Disneyland in the pouring rain!
Using a credit card carefully and with a full understanding of your own spending limits can give you a lot of freedom for when and how you pay for things but it does require self-discipline.
Disclosure: This post has been created in partnership with TSB