Why I will never regret spending money on travel

As you read this blog post I am madly packing and double checking I have not forgotten anything. We are Why I will never regret spending money on travelheading off to Hawaii this weekend.

I am a little more anxious than normal as it is the first long haul flight where we are adding a one and three year old into the mix. So I am bound to forget to pack something important.

If you read my last net worth update you will also see that we are not doing so well in terms of cash flow, so a holiday right now is not exactly at the top of the list of things that we can afford.

Don’t get me wrong when booking the holiday I made sure I checked for the best deals.

I managed to get a great deal on the hotel during a Click Frenzy special with Groupon. Plus we got a good sale price on the airfare too.

But the spending money and cost of activities whilst we are away is potentially money we should be channeling to debt reduction.

Should you travel when you have debt?

This exact question was raised by Bobby over at Millennial Money Man a couple of months ago. It was interesting reading the comments and seeing people’s different views.My response on Twitter when he posed the question was that I think you can still travel. But you should look for shorter cost effective trips. Plus try and only use cash not credit to pay for the holiday.

We happen to be really blessed that my husband’s parent live in beach side tourist towns, so all of our holidays since we have had kids have been visiting them.

But this trip to Hawaii does go against the advice above. It is a two week trip and it will put us in further debt by the time we come back.

I still managed to sleep at night with our decision to go. For me personally the decision was easy.

We are travelling over to Hawaii for my husband’s best friend’s wedding. The best man at our own wedding.

So the only question I needed to ask was this. Am I going to regret in 20 years time taking an extra few months to pay off my credit card or am I going to regret not seeing one of our best friends get married?

The answer was a no brainer.

We have not had a holiday besides visiting family in more than four years so it is something we have been really looking forward to.

How travel makes you richer

When I was writing my financial mistakes post, my husband asked if I was going to include spending money on a trip to Europe after I finished university. Because with the money I spent on the trip it would have been enough to pay for a deposit on an apartment at the time.

But without hesitation I told him it was not a mistake, travelling has without a doubt made me so much richer in a number of ways.

It has been scientifically proven that people that spend money on experiences rather than on “things’’ are happier. This is because the latest iPhone might give you a hint of satisfaction for a short time after you purchase it, but an experience creates a lasting memory.

Think about it in your experience. Is there a night out, a trip you took or a special event that you went to that always sticks in your mind? These are the memories that can’t be replaced by any physical thing.

Travel challenges you

Whilst I don’t think sipping cocktails by the pool in Waikiki will be a particularly challenging trip, in general travel helps to expand your horizons and can push you out of your comfort zone.

When I was sixteen I went to the USA as an exchange student for a few months. Before I went I was quite reserved and shy. You wouldn’t know it meeting me now.

After being on my own in a different country for a few months I grew a lot in confidence. I had to have the courage to meet new people and feel a little bit uncomfortable in doing so. But I came back a changed person. It really helps that Americans tend to like us Aussies.How travel makes you richer

Another example is when I went to Europe and my luggage ended up in Vienna while I was in London. For a minute or two I was going to have a meltdown and then I realised I needed to adapt and solve the issue.

So I made my way into London and hung out and met a few people who were doing the tour I was on the next day. After speaking with the airline my bag eventually made its way to me about 6 or so hours later.

Travel make you appreciate home

It is also true that nothing will make you grow and appreciate home more than travel. My sister is a nurse and she went overseas to rural India to volunteer for a few months.

She came home and spoke of how she was forced so far out of her comfort zone in terms of accepting living conditions and clinical conditions in the hospital that were nowhere near what she was accustomed too.

It made her have a whole new appreciation for the level of world class care that we have here in Australia.

Travel aligns with why we want to retire early

The core reason why we are working so hard to reach financial independence and to retire early is so that we can spend more time with our kids.

Actually having loads of money is not that important to us. We don’t want to be the richest people in the room, we just want to be able to have more control over the only real currency there is – time.

The two weeks that we get to spend together making memories as a family are worth every cent. There will come a time when our kids don’t want to hang out with their daggy parents on holidays, so we want to take advantage of it while we can.

The driving force behind me wanting to retire early is that I don’t want to wait until I’m old to experience these moments. Because I know all too well that later can turn into never.

Me and my sister had chatted about paying for my dad to go on a trip to Ireland for his 60th birthday. We knew it was somewhere that he would love to visit.

He died unexpectedly at 55 so he never got to go. All three of his girls have been to Ireland since.

A guilt free holiday

Of course this doesn’t mean we will just spend money frivolously. We are still going to be conscious of what we spend and will try and limit breakfast and lunch to pre-bought store foods rather than eating out all the time which quickly adds up.

But we will head off to Hawaii this weekend feeling guilt free.

Do you think you should still travel if you are in debt? What’s the number one thing that travel has taught you?

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8 Comments

  1. We have a saying in Vietnamese: “Traveling makes you a wiser man.” I believe you can learn a lot when you travel. However, traveling should be planned and budgeted for. I’m not a big fan of doing in more debt to travel (i.e. credit cards).

    Have a great trip Hawaii!

    1. Great saying. I love it. I do agree it should be budgeted for. This will be the first trip where we need to use our credit card. I am not 100% comfortable with it but I am content with the decision, Seeing my hubby’s best friend get married is worth it this time around.

  2. I think if you build it into your budget and you weigh the costs against your debt that ultimately it’s what makes sense for you. For me I probably wouldn’t b/c I would be thinking about paying off the debt instead but I definitely missed out on a bunch of travel in my 20s that I can’t do now b/c we have kiddos 🙁

    1. Ahhh yes the kiddos certainly have stopped a lot of our travel plans for now too. For me it’s about the balance. In my 20s I did some travel but I also did some property investing which has done pretty well for us. This trip because it is for an occasion that means a lot to us I can be happy with the decision. But when we get back it will be back to knuckling down with the debt reduction.

  3. I technically have debt (student loans) but I’m not going to allow that to stop me from traveling. I set aside the cash in order to make these trips a reality!

  4. Hi! I found your blog through the Rockstar Finance feeds.

    Where are you going in Hawaii? I was in Maui a few weeks ago with my family, and it was amazing. It’s truly a destination where there’s something for everyone.

    I advocate for travelling even when in debt. As long as you have a plan for how you’re going to fix it when you get back! Although I didn’t follow this when I was younger. Post-college I saved up money to backpack in Europe. Instead of getting a job or worrying about student loans. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. While many Americans have never even left the country I feel super lucky I got to see most of western Europe at a young age. I’d rather travel when I’m younger and more physically fit, and can do things like scale mountains, etc.

    My favorite part of travelling is learning about other people and how they live. I like to get off the beaten path and see what the locals are up to. And every time I’ve done that, it’s just reconfirmed my belief that everyone, no matter where they are from or how much they have, is just trying to be happy.

    1. We are off to Hawaii tomorrow. Getting excited now. It has been raining here in Sydney so looking forward to the beach and some sun.

      I love the last point that you made, it truly does all come back to being happy doesn’t it.

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