I spend an absurd amount of money on travel for someone who professes to be on a path towards financial independence. Over three thousand dollars of that credit card debt I racked up was due to travel, that’s insane!
Although it would be nice to travel the world on a budget, that’s not always possible. When it’s not, I’ll still splurge on travel because I enjoy traveling so much.
Why I splurge on travel
To explain why I splurge on travel, first I have to explain why I’m seeking financial independence. I already did that last year, but since you probably don’t want to read it again, Here’s a brief summary.
One of my main reasons for pursuing financial independence is that I want to travel. I want to see the world! My number one goal has always been to explore everything that this world and this life have to offer. I want to see the pyramids, trek through the amazon, sip coffee at Parisian cafés, eat authentic sushi, and hang out at the base camp to Mt. Everest (but not actually climb it, that sounds horrible!). There are so many places and things that I want to experience in life, and unfortunately a full-time job really puts a damper in them.
Why Not wait?
A lot of people in the personal finance community probably think I have things a bit backwards. Why don’t I sacrifice the traveling for a few years, put all that money into investments, and retire even earlier? It’s a solid plan, in theory.
But that plan has flaws. The first glaring flaw is that tomorrow is not guaranteed. I could die tomorrow. Sure, we address this on the podcast, and I point out that the likelihood of me dying tomorrow is incredibly low, but that’s not the only thing that could happen. I could lose my job or get a debilitating illness. I’m not trying to be a Debbie downer, but when we are talking about putting things aside for years and years, the likelihood of something happening to prevent it will increase. So, I make it a priority now, and squeeze as much world travel in as I can. That way, if something does happen in the future that prevents me from travelling, at least I will have the memories of the trips I’ve already taken.
Another reason why I don’t want to wait is that I don’t want to be miserable now. My life needs balance. If I didn’t give myself a good trip every once in a while, I’d lose sight of why I was scrimping and saving in the first place. Having those big trips to look forward to every year or so really helps me keep my eye on the big prize. And it gives me a break! Everyone needs those every now and again.
Do I really splurge on travel?
Now just to be clear, when I say I splurge on travel, I don’t mean that I stay at five-star resorts or fly first class. I’m not that crazy! When planning trips, I try to be as frugal as possible. If I’m visiting a town with good public transit, I’ll stay in cheaper hotels further away from city center. I find the best deal on flights by scrounging every travel website for weeks before choosing (I use skyskanner, because it gives you the cheapest flight, but it also gives you the “best” flight, which is a cross between the cheapest and shortest options. I’m over 59-hour layovers! Others find a ton of success with Scott’s Cheap Flights!).
So clearly, I don’t splurge on luxuries when I travel. I say I splurge on travel because if I’m going to spend two weeks of vacation time, I’m going to go someplace exotic. I’m not wasting my two weeks on family visits (sorry guys, it’s not that I don’t love you, but that’s what long weekends are for!). And unfortunately, going someplace exotic is freaking expensive, even if you cut back on the luxuries.
What do you splurge on?
Is there something crazy expensive that you splurge on even though you know it pushes back your Financial Independence date? I can’t be the only one! Let me know about it in the comments!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.