It seems like I just return from one trip and I start planning the next. Actually, I always have several travel ideas in varying stages of research, and it’s just about matching up time, location, and finances.
Finances! It’s the f-word for travelers, and can be one of the primary stumbling blocks to travel. Some people sacrifice time in order to get more money, but then forget about the freedom that money was supposed to buy. It’s so easy to get caught up in the no time-no money continuum that vacation plans go right out the window.
I think most people can come up with a plan to save up money (set a goal, break it down into manageable amounts, start saving), but it’s a little harder to to deal with the emotional components of travel and money. If there is one topic that is rife with emotional pitfalls it’s money.
Do any of these sound familiar?
I should be saving up money for something else: Recognize that there will always be “something else” to spend your money on. I’m not suggesting that you let the kids go hungry, but if travel is a priority in your life, make it part of your budget, and don’t worry about it.
I can’t decide when to buy because maybe I’ll get a better price. Some people worry so much about saving a dollar that they never get around to making a decision. Believe me, I’m not saying that you should throw money away. You need to check and re-check prices, itinerary options, travel dates, etc., to make sure you’re getting a good deals. There are lots of website that can help you with the process, so look before you book, but it you want to travel you’re going to need to make a decision!
My friends all have a larger budget than I do. There will always be someone who has more money than you. And is thinner, smarter, better traveled, too. So what?! You can accept the fact that it will take you longer to save up the needed money, you can find ways to save faster, or you can come up with travel alternatives that fit your budget. There’s absolutely no reason to go along with travel plans that don’t fit you.
Every time I save enough money, something happens. If by “something happens” you mean that you break an arm or wind up hospitalized, then I truly do feel sorry for you. But if it’s non-essential type of things, it’s time to think about what’s important to you. Do you really need a new television, or expensive clothing, or the latest gadget? If the answer is yes, then travel isn’t your priority, and you’ve made your own decision. But even something as major as losing a job can be a chance to reassess your life priorities and goals, and travel may just be a big part of that.
No one wants to travel where I do. This is an age old argument whether between friends or between travel bloggers, but the bottom line is there is no one right way to travel. It’s all about what’s right for you, right now. Travel preferences change, and are based not only on money but also on things like age, travel experience, and personal interests. So if you prefer an all inclusive vacation and your friends want to rough it camping, you are both right. Go with what works for you, but don’t get so stuck in your ways that you refuse to try something out of your comfort zone.
The dollar vs. Euro valuation is a killer. Yep, it is. But if you heart is really set on Europe, you’ll be better off accepting the exchange rate and finding ways to make up that value in other ways. If you’re not committed to Europe, explore alternative destinations where you’d be equally happy.
If I go on vacation I’ll come home broke. You will come home with less money, but you’ll also come home richer in experiences. Decide which is more important to you – money or experience. Remember, though, you can always save up more money.
Does your relationship with money get in the way of traveling? How do you avoid getting caught up in the time, money, travel trap?
Photo credit: SXC