How do you afford to travel?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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poker27
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How do you afford to travel?

Post by poker27 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:35 am

I know we all save and invest, but I think the bulk of the population here also loves to experience new things and travel. There is obviously a monetary cost of vacationing, but there is also the process of getting off work, leaving priorities behind, ect.

Personally, I hate to fly, and typically only do 1-2 'short' flights a year in the US, and then a few weekend car trips. I've been maxed out on vacation for years, have the funds to do so, but haven't been able to stomach the cost or 'pain' of traveling to another country. So we will spend our $ on great Chicago restaurants and entertainment we love, but I'm starting to think I am missing out. We currently have no children, so our only responsibilities are our jobs, dog, and a house.

I recently started looking up a vacation to Italy, and for two people a week long vacation is $5k ish for just coach airfare and hotel. So after dinners, drinks, and excursions we will probably end up spending $8k (yes, we could do it cheaper, but if I live a 9 hour flight might as well do it right). If I add the cost to the hassle of travel, and taking off work, I dont know if its worth it.

So, how did you originally talk yourself into travelling? And how do you keep it up?

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VictoriaF
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:41 am

I don't have to talk myself into travel. For me it's a pleasure, a reward. I don't mind airports and airplanes. When I have a good book, it does not matter where I read it. I bring my own food not to depend on the airline.

I travel a lot but inexpensively. I fly economy and stay at hostels when I can. I don't consider food an entertainment and so my meal budget is relatively low. In six months between the end of April and end of October 2014, I will have traveled to eight different places for eight weeks total. Two of these destinations are expensive European countries, Switzerland (two weeks) and the UK (one week). I budgeted $20k for these trips and I will probably end up with about $18.5k-$19k.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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barnaclebob
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:47 am

What exactly do you consider the to be a hassel in traveling? Getting through the airport, being in a cramped seat, just being stuck in an aluminum tube for 18 hours of your vacation, carrying luggage around, jet lag? Or is it more about doing something thats not normal and the worrying about screwing up or getting pick pocketed etc (which is extremely likely in Italy from what I hear)

Paying for extra legroom can really improve the flying experience on long flights. If that's too expensive then I'll do my best to book one of the row's of 2 that are usually in the back of the plane so we don't have to deal with another person.

The next biggest hassel for me is the luggage. Make every attempt to bring as little as possible, for a 2 week trip i might bring 3 sets of clothes and that's pushing it depending on the destination. Pay for laundry service if you need it.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by livesoft » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:49 am

I have not paid for airfare in quite some time. I use frequent flyer miles or I got my company or clients to pay for the airfare. For example, I was recently in London, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, and other places. I stayed an extra few days in each place on my dime, but all travel costs were paid by someone else. I only had to pick up some meals, local transportation, and hotels.
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by SHB » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:52 am

Sometimes we do international trips and splurge (nice hotels, resturants etc) but most of th time we try and makethe money stretch as far as we can. But the reason for that is more than monetary; we travel a good amount (an international trip a year and lots of long weekends to florida, chicago, san fran) and we've come to realize when we do a splurg trip, while nice, we don't get the same local feel as when we try and stretch our dollars as far as we can. The splurg trips we more often than not get a "10,000 foot view" of the culture, people and location. The times when we really feel like we connected with a place is when we force ourselves to spend little and we end up doing more of what the locals do.

We do both types of trips and both have their merits but just because you take a long flight don't immediatly think splurging will give you the best experience. Although your miliage may vary and that may be your best option at that time.

Anyways we started traveling in college and have ever since. We live in NYC and I don't have any expensive hobbies, we don't buy a lot of "things", so our hobbie is traveling.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Sheepdog » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:56 am

If you don't enjoy traveling, why think about it? If you don't want to travel, stay home. If you don't want to travel in an airplane , but want to travel, take a cruise, train or bus ride.
While earning, or after retiring, do what you like to do. Life is for enjoyment. If you don't like to garden, don't garden. If you don't like to maintain a home, rent. If you don't like to cook, eat out, or buy pre cooked, or marry someone who does.
I like to travel. I budget and save for it, even at my age. When taking a trip in January, I was able to afford and enjoy extra leg room on the plane and have a larger cabin and balcony on the ship.
Do what you enjoy.
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Rupert
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Rupert » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:00 am

poker27 wrote:I know we all save and invest, but I think the bulk of the population here also loves to experience new things and travel. There is obviously a monetary cost of vacationing, but there is also the process of getting off work, leaving priorities behind, ect.

Personally, I hate to fly, and typically only do 1-2 'short' flights a year in the US, and then a few weekend car trips. I've been maxed out on vacation for years, have the funds to do so, but haven't been able to stomach the cost or 'pain' of traveling to another country. So we will spend our $ on great Chicago restaurants and entertainment we love, but I'm starting to think I am missing out. We currently have no children, so our only responsibilities are our jobs, dog, and a house.

I recently started looking up a vacation to Italy, and for two people a week long vacation is $5k ish for just coach airfare and hotel. So after dinners, drinks, and excursions we will probably end up spending $8k (yes, we could do it cheaper, but if I live a 9 hour flight might as well do it right). If I add the cost to the hassle of travel, and taking off work, I dont know if its worth it.

So, how did you originally talk yourself into travelling? And how do you keep it up?
If you're a person who loves to travel, you don't have to talk yourself into it. You look forward to it. For some, getting away is necessary for their mental health. It doesn't sound like you're one of those people. Sounds like travel makes you anxious and you only do it because you think it's something that people of means do. So why do it? If you're happier at home, stay home. As for affording it, if you love it, then you prioritize it and save for it. I have a vacation line item in my family budget.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by hicabob » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:04 am

For interesting destinations at a good price go to Kayak.com - then the MORE tab - then EXPLORE
- there are some good deals out there if you have some flexibility

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Riceman
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Riceman » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:04 am

I did an exchange in uni, went overseas to teach English, and am now in the Foreign Service. I have lived overseas for 9 of the past ten years, and will likely spend move to a new country every 3 years until I retire. For me personally, I am feeling like I am missing the U.S., and I am looking forward to retirement so that I can try 'settling down.' Or at least traveling more in the U.S.

I enjoy trips more, and spend far less, if I travel to one place and stay there for a significant time. I have also liked times when, although not totally stationary, I slowly moved between places; a hike between towns, a long train ride (across australia), a long bike ride. These trips minimize transportation costs and give you a chance to soak in the atmosphere rather than ticking boxes off a "to-do" list. Accomodation also tends to be cheaper the longer you are in a place, and the initial expense of the plane tickets gets spread out across a longer total trip, decreasing the cost per day. I haven't had a chance to go to Europe, but I would love to just go to Paris for 2 weeks, rent a place, and get lost walking around the city every day.

If you have even more time, a study vacation is fun. Rent an apartment, take language classes in the morning, talk to the teacher about the culture, then wander about the rest of the day. I'll stop for coffee and review my lessons, walk around some more, find dinner somewhere, then wander until I find a cheap/lively place to find drinks.

This isn't the style of travel for everyone, put it doesn't cost as much money and isn't as stressful.

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market timer
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by market timer » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:05 am

If both spouses have jobs with some travel, business trips can be combined with personal travel. That's how I got to visit Italy--my wife had a conference there.

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poker27
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by poker27 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:07 am

barnaclebob wrote:What exactly do you consider the to be a hassel in traveling? Getting through the airport, being in a cramped seat, just being stuck in an aluminum tube for 18 hours of your vacation, carrying luggage around, jet lag? Or is it more about doing something thats not normal and the worrying about screwing up or getting pick pocketed etc (which is extremely likely in Italy from what I hear)

Paying for extra legroom can really improve the flying experience on long flights. If that's too expensive then I'll do my best to book one of the row's of 2 that are usually in the back of the plane so we don't have to deal with another person.

The next biggest hassel for me is the luggage. Make every attempt to bring as little as possible, for a 2 week trip i might bring 3 sets of clothes and that's pushing it depending on the destination. Pay for laundry service if you need it.
80% of my issue is flying. even though I do it a few times a year, it still scares me. If I were to book a 10hr flight, I would be worrying about it for 8 weeks up until the flight, and there is not enough whiskey in Tennessee to calm me down during. So adding the $ amount to travel, with my 'fear' of flying, it makes it hard to seem worthwhile. I currently do not have the means to pop for 1st class, which I do agree, would make the process better.

And for the record, I do understand that flying is insanely safe. Funny enough, I drive a motorcycle, but am afraid to fly :)

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by mhc » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:09 am

Even though I have a full time job, I try to take as many family vacations as I can. We love to travel. I guess you have to figure out what works for you. We have figured out what works for us. For me, I want a no hassle vacation (avoid crowds and traffic). If I have to go to a crowded area, I try to avoid peak times. We went to Disneyland for spring break which present both traffic and crowd issues. I was able to mitigate those by flying into Orange County and getting a tax to the hotel, which was right across the street from Disneyland. We then walked every where for the week.

Last summer we went to Montana for two weeks. Now that is a perfect vacation spot. No traffic. No crowds. We loved it.

I have figured out what my family enjoys and what we don't. The kids are happy if they can swim everyday and be kids. My wife and I like nature and history and obscure/odd sites.

If your interests do not require you to travel to enjoy them, then there is no need to travel.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Kosmo » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:14 am

Your post implies that you don't actually like to travel, but you think you ought to like it and you're trying to force yourself to like it. If you get more enjoyment out of exploring local restaurants or taking weekend trips that are driving distance, then do that. I personally think that if you don't go explore the world then you are missing out. But a lot of people don't mind or don't care, and are perfectly happy staying in their comfort zone (assuming they have the financial and time capability of traveling).

I enjoy traveling. My wife and I both feel that we haven't had a thorough vacation unless we need to take some extra days off work to recover from everything we did on our trip.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by poker27 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:23 am

Kosmo wrote:Your post implies that you don't actually like to travel, but you think you ought to like it and you're trying to force yourself to like it. If you get more enjoyment out of exploring local restaurants or taking weekend trips that are driving distance, then do that. I personally think that if you don't go explore the world then you are missing out. But a lot of people don't mind or don't care, and are perfectly happy staying in their comfort zone (assuming they have the financial and time capability of traveling).

I enjoy traveling. My wife and I both feel that we haven't had a thorough vacation unless we need to take some extra days off work to recover from everything we did on our trip.
I dont like the 'travel' part, but I do like exploring the end destination. I can enjoy traveling by car or motorcycle, but unfortunately don't have that sort of time at this point. Every time I go somewhere new (New Orleans a few months ago for example), I have a great time and am happy I went. I keep thinking that I can put off travel, until I have time to cover the country by car, or spend a month in Europe, but of course the future isn't guaranteed. Which puts me back at square 1. :sharebeer

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:24 am

poker27 wrote:80% of my issue is flying. even though I do it a few times a year, it still scares me. If I were to book a 10hr flight, I would be worrying about it for 8 weeks up until the flight, and there is not enough whiskey in Tennessee to calm me down during. So adding the $ amount to travel, with my 'fear' of flying, it makes it hard to seem worthwhile. I currently do not have the means to pop for 1st class, which I do agree, would make the process better.

And for the record, I do understand that flying is insanely safe. Funny enough, I drive a motorcycle, but am afraid to fly :)
Well if that's the issue then that's what you need to do something about if you want to enjoy traveling more. Giving suggestions about what to do may breach the "no medical advice" part of the forum if its bad enough that you need to see someone about it.

You say you know that flying is safe but is that enough for your mind? Is there a technical part of flying that you want to know more about?

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by TravelforFun » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:27 am

To travel and to enjoy traveling, you have to have: money, time, good health, and a desire to see and learn new things. For oversea traveling, start small first by going to Canada or Mexico to see how you like to be on long flights, going through custom, and hanging with people who don't speak the same language. If you are comfortable with that, hop over to the UK, or head down to Central and South America, then to Europe and Asia.

My wife was hesitant to travel oversea at first but after our first European trip, she was completely hooked. We now travel with our close friends and it has been wonderful. You cannot beat the experience of sharing a bottle of wine on a hotel balcony in Paris, walking along the canal in Venice, or attending the Carnival in Rio. We are heading to Greece next month.

So take the first step and apply for a passport.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness." Mark Twain

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by surfstar » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:32 am

This isn't money related at all - you have an aversion to flying. Some people do not like to leave their nest, others cherish it. Try it - if you truly don't like to travel, spend more $ locally or on your home.

Flying is statistically the safest way to travel. Bogleheads like stats, right? Index vs Active, low fees vs highs...

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by poker27 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:41 am

barnaclebob wrote:
poker27 wrote:80% of my issue is flying. even though I do it a few times a year, it still scares me. If I were to book a 10hr flight, I would be worrying about it for 8 weeks up until the flight, and there is not enough whiskey in Tennessee to calm me down during. So adding the $ amount to travel, with my 'fear' of flying, it makes it hard to seem worthwhile. I currently do not have the means to pop for 1st class, which I do agree, would make the process better.

And for the record, I do understand that flying is insanely safe. Funny enough, I drive a motorcycle, but am afraid to fly :)
Well if that's the issue then that's what you need to do something about if you want to enjoy traveling more. Giving suggestions about what to do may breach the "no medical advice" part of the forum if its bad enough that you need to see someone about it.

You say you know that flying is safe but is that enough for your mind? Is there a technical part of flying that you want to know more about?
Honestly, I've done research on just about everything aviation wise. I understand that there is redundancies for just about everything, and that I have an irrational fear. However when I think about being 30k ft in the air, none of that really helps :). When you think about how complicated air travel is, I would think that there would/should be more 'issues'.

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poker27
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by poker27 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:42 am

TravelforFun wrote:To travel and to enjoy traveling, you have to have: money, time, good health, and a desire to see and learn new things. For oversea traveling, start small first by going to Canada or Mexico to see how you like to be on long flights, going through custom, and hanging with people who don't speak the same language. If you are comfortable with that, hop over to the UK, or head down to Central and South America, then to Europe and Asia.

My wife was hesitant to travel oversea at first but after our first European trip, she was completely hooked. We now travel with our close friends and it has been wonderful. You cannot beat the experience of sharing a bottle of wine on a hotel balcony in Paris, walking along the canal in Venice, or attending the Carnival in Rio. We are heading to Greece next month.

So take the first step and apply for a passport.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness." Mark Twain
Great post, and I agree. Already have a passport, although may want to check that its still valid.

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poker27
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by poker27 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:44 am

surfstar wrote:This isn't money related at all - you have an aversion to flying. Some people do not like to leave their nest, others cherish it. Try it - if you truly don't like to travel, spend more $ locally or on your home.

Flying is statistically the safest way to travel. Bogleheads like stats, right? Index vs Active, low fees vs highs...
If I was given a free trip to Europe I would take it, and on the other side of the coin, If I could somehow get to Italy without flying I would pay the imaginary flight. So its both in all honestly.

And I believe flying is the 2nd safest way to travel, after rail.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:46 am

If your main issue is fear of flying you have to take as long flights as possible. The most dangerous parts of a flight are the take-off and the landing. By taking long flights you will reduce the overhead.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Atilla » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:51 am

Flying can be a hassle, but the experience in first/business class really makes a difference. So does having a limo arranged at the airport so you get a guy in a black suit waiting in the baggage claim to drag all your crap to a waiting car.

And nice hotels - gotta always stay at a nice hotel, preferably in a 2-room suite with a wet bar and a view. :mrgreen:
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by hicabob » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:56 am

poker27 wrote:
surfstar wrote:This isn't money related at all - you have an aversion to flying. Some people do not like to leave their nest, others cherish it. Try it - if you truly don't like to travel, spend more $ locally or on your home.

Flying is statistically the safest way to travel. Bogleheads like stats, right? Index vs Active, low fees vs highs...
If I was given a free trip to Europe I would take it, and on the other side of the coin, If I could somehow get to Italy without flying I would pay the imaginary flight. So its both in all honestly.

And I believe flying is the 2nd safest way to travel, after rail.
Large ships are probably safer? I have a wealthy older but "proudly cheap" friend who likes to travel. He took the QE2 from NY to Southampton in the winter (repositioning cruise I think??) and the price was about the same as coach airfare - it took 3 days - he raved about it.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by chaz » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:58 am

DW and I like to go on cruises.
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by HomerJ » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:06 am

Kosmo wrote:Your post implies that you don't actually like to travel, but you think you ought to like it and you're trying to force yourself to like it. If you get more enjoyment out of exploring local restaurants or taking weekend trips that are driving distance, then do that.
This.

There's a TON to explore in North America within driving distance...

Cruises might be a good idea too

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by HomerJ » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:08 am

hicabob wrote:Large ships are probably safer? I have a wealthy older but "proudly cheap" friend who likes to travel. He took the QE2 from NY to Southampton in the winter (repositioning cruise I think??) and the price was about the same as coach airfare - it took 3 days - he raved about it.
I fully intend to travel (at least one leg) this way when I retire...

I will time my vacations to Europe so I can fly one-way, and take a cruise home (all the big cruse lines move many their ships from the Med to the Caribbean during winter, and they sell tickets for that cruise across the ocean)

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by sambb » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:08 am

travel is expensive to do it right
If i had a paralyzing fear of flying, i wouldn't go on a plane
in the end, for me to afford travel, it involves spending and not saving - it is expensive to do it right - and worth it IMHO most of the time
I have had bad trips that were NOT worth it also

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by investor1 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:17 am

I'm a 30 yr old single guy, and I use my bonus to fund my vacations.

* I'm flexible as to when and where I travel, so I look for good deals. I check the Hipmunk page for my home city to see where the cheap flights go to, and also use websites such as the ITA matrix.
* I took the time to learn the airline codes, so I know when I am looking at the lowest fare class. I also have a feel for when the airlines start selling tickets for a particular travel day vs when they jack up the prices vs when the are getting desperate to put butts in the seats.
* My travel dates tend to be flexible, particularly on the return trip, so I tend to volunteer my seat when the airline asks in exchange for a number of things including vouchers that can be used on a future flight.
* I use websites such as couchsurfing.org and airbnb.com, etc. to find a free or cheap place to stay when I'm not in a place where I already know people.
* I use expedia.com to look for the cheapest car rental in the area and cross reference that with the rates my Costco membership gives me. I add coupon codes on top of that if it helps.

Last year, I went to Hawaii for vacation. The flight was $150 ($350 - $200 voucher). The car rental was $105 for a week, and I couch surfed it so my housing cost was $0. $255 took care of the logistics of the trip. Everything else was for fun stuff :)

I've done Puerto Rico in the past during hurricane season. The tickets were cheaper than dirt, and the weather was fantastic!

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by heyyou » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:31 am

Consider alternatives:

Amtrak trains traverse the country between urban areas, both here and in Canada. The sleeping quarters are private but small, and the price may include meals. Try a shorter, out and back trip to see if you like train travel.

Elderhostel will bus you from an urban area to interesting places with knowledgeable guides. The accommodations are often vacant college dormitories during the summer. Think of it as attending a conference on a specific topic. Try one in your area to see if you like it.

Experiment with exotic destinations in or adjacent to the US. The entire Gulf coast, day trips into Mexico from large and small border towns, Victoria British Columbia in Canada, and coastal Maine, are nothing like wherever you live.

Do some research by reading historical fiction, which may help to keep your interest. I read James Michener's Hawaii before my first visit. On our next trip there, we are renting a house for two weeks instead of changing hotels every third day.

As Victoria wrote, "The trip of a lifetime turned into a lifetime of trips."

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by LateStarter1975 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:44 am

Sheepdog wrote:If you don't enjoy traveling, why think about it? If you don't want to travel, stay home. If you don't want to travel in an airplane , but want to travel, take a cruise, train or bus ride.
While earning, or after retiring, do what you like to do. Life is for enjoyment. If you don't like to garden, don't garden. If you don't like to maintain a home, rent. If you don't like to cook, eat out, or buy pre cooked, or marry someone who does.
I like to travel. I budget and save for it, even at my age. When taking a trip in January, I was able to afford and enjoy extra leg room on the plane and have a larger cabin and balcony on the ship.
Do what you enjoy.
+1
You don't have to travel b/c you feel you are missing. Do what you enjoy
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Watty
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Watty » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:19 pm

poker27 wrote: So we will spend our $ on great Chicago restaurants and entertainment we love, but I'm starting to think I am missing out.

We currently have no children, so our only responsibilities are our jobs, dog, and a house.I recently started looking up a vacation to Italy, and for two people a week long vacation is $5k ish for just coach airfare and hotel. So after dinners, drinks, and excursions we will probably end up spending $8k (yes, we could do it cheaper, but if I live a 9 hour flight might as well do it right).
Airfare to Europe has been expensive the last few years but if you spend $3,000 on airfare that leaves about $5,000 or about $360 a day for 14 days.

Realistically if you stayed in Chicago and "did it right" in better hotels, ate out at better restaurants, and took excursions you could easily spend that much or more each day. A trip to some place like New York City or San Francisco could be even more expensive. Except for the airfare the trip you described really isn’t all that much more expensive then what you could spend in the US for a similar trip.

One of the great things about Europe though is that outside the big cities you can usually find very nice modest hotels for $100 or less in the shoulder season. In the US a budget hotel tends to be something like a Motel 6 but in Europe many budget hotels are often a nice family business that has less than a dozen rooms they keep in very good shape because they depend on it for their income. When I go in the shoulder season, except for the airfare, I can usually travel in Southern Europe for a lot less than I can in the US.

Other than the airfare traveling to some parts of Europe does not need to be all that expensive compared to US travel.

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FelixTheCat
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by FelixTheCat » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:21 pm

My buddy has access to free flights (family member is a pilot) and doesn't use them. He says he doesn't like to fly and can't stand airports.

His trips are usually within a couple of hundred car driving miles. He picks a place he likes and has a good time. Since he is paying less for a local vacation, he has more of them.
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by JupiterJones » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:49 pm

Fear of flying is very common. The good news is, you can do something about it.

I'm not kidding. I've seen it happen many times. It takes a bit of work and a willingness to give it a shot, but you can get to the point where you fly with a greater level of comfort that you currently do now.

I would recommend picking up a copy of "This is Your Captain Speaking" by Ray Stark.

I would also suggest heading over to TakingFlight, which is sort of like the Bogleheads of fearful flying. :-)

Any questions, feel free to shoot me a PM! (I'm a private pilot myself and have helped some of my friends with their fears/concerns about flying.)
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Andyrunner » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:13 pm

I actually find it very challenging. I really want to go to go overseas, but spending 5k-8k for a vacation is unreal. To me thats a half a years mortgage payment! We are very well off, max our 403bs, planning on paying off the mortgage in less then 10 years, and have enough liquid cash to purchase the next car.

Its just very hard to justify spending that much on a vacation when we still have a mortgage payment and a young child. I hope to travel to all of the places I want to go and when the mortgage is paid off, I just hope I get it done before I say "I wish I would of done this when I was younger and too old to do it now".

Having a kid (and hope to have another in a year or two) which doesnt help. Then again I have a friend who took his six month old to Paris...dont know how people do it.
Last edited by Andyrunner on Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chaz
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by chaz » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:13 pm

I have no fear of flying, but I detest jet lag.
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thursdaysd
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by thursdaysd » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:17 pm

If you truly don't want to fly you do have options - train to Canada, QE2 or repositioning cruise to Europe. Within Europe you certainly don't need to fly, the train systems are excellent in the west and not bad in the east. See seat61.com for info on traveling by train - as with airlines, the earlier you book the cheaper the fare. I hate to fly because of the hassles, not because I'm afraid, and I take longer trips to get more travel for the hassle.

I took early retirement so I could travel, I heard too many stories of people who were going to travel when they eventually retired, and then weren't able to. I was lucky enough to have a DB pension, but I certainly travel as cheaply as possible. I've been round the world three times by plane in biz class, but it was on FF miles. I never stay in western chain hotels, just local B&Bs (only pricy in the US), pensions and guesthouses, and am considering trying Airbnb. I'd have to spend money to eat at home, and I don't often splurge for high-end restaurants.

Are you looking at a tour? Because if so, I would urge you to consider independent travel. Coach tours, unless you go high-end, and sometimes then, can be a real pain. You can get plenty of help for independent travel on the forums at http://www.fodors.com/community/.
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by lightheir » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:36 pm

I don't feel like you should feel bad about not wanting to travel or not wanting to spend the huge amount of dollars needed for travel.

Contrary to what a lot of travelers say, vacation travel does not necessarily widen your experiences or wisdom, especially if your travel is to prearranged tour vacations where you're mainly sightseeing, and not interacting with the culture or living the lifestyle.

I can afford to travel, and have already traveled to more than 18 countries on various continents, but I never lived abroad and feel like all that travel didn't add a lot to my life wisdom. I'll benefit far more, both from personal satisfaction, and fun, by doing something local deeply, over years, and getting real expertise and knowledge, than from taking trips where I do not live the culture of the place I'm going to.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by The Wizard » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:56 pm

A fair amount of my travel is repetitive, back to the same area again because we like it there: Bonaire 7 times, Curacao 4 times, Jamaica 8 times, Grand Cayman 3 times, etc.
Similar to a degree in the US to a number of places I won't bother mentioning.
But then there's adventure travel to new places that I'm supposed to be expanding upon in retirement: to the Netherlands/Belgium last Sept, and to Ireland before long.

So I'm not trying to convince the OP that travel is for everyone, just that there's different ways of doing it.
Ponder this question: what are your two or three favorite places more than 1000 miles away from home?
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health teacher
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by health teacher » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:02 pm

I am not a huge fan of flying. Four years ago I had no intentions of ever flying, but my wife really wanted to go to the Carribean for the honeymoon. Since then, I have flown over 10 round trip flights. I came to realize it is okay to be scared in life, but it is not okay (for me anyways) to let fear hold me back. I still get nervous every time the plane is about to take off and land, but I feel great once we touch down and I conquer my fear. I enjoy finding a deal, so finding flights actually excites me rather than frightens me. Anytime I get scared leading up to the flight I just snap myself out of it and focus on something else (ADHD helps here).

Not having a car payment and a free baby sitter (grandma) helps us afford travel. We are teachers and we dont contribute to any supplemental retirement funds at this time. I know this is frowned upon by some, but we are aggressively paying my student loans and should be debt free, including mortgage within 5 years. We don't eat out much, perhaps twice a month and if we do we try to keep the bill under $30. My wife's only splurge is a pedicure once every few months and I play hockey and enjoy craft beer. When it comes to clothes we often shop clearence at Gabriel Brothers or other outlet stores. Our emergency fund could be better (currently only 1 mo) but our jobs are super secure and if absolutely necessary we could tap into the I Bonds we are planning to use our kids' college/business ventures. Could we be doing better financially, of course, but we feel good about our situation.

In short, we afford travel because we want to.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by lululu » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:13 pm

I'm like the OP. I love to be in foreign countries, but getting back and forth is exhausting and horrid.

So I don't travel very often, and I make sure whatever I plan to do is well worth it.

I used to have a lot of frequent flyer miles to use to upgrade (we could use them from business travel). I don't know if I could stand to fly coach any more for hours. That makes a big difference.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by HomerJ » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:15 pm

lightheir wrote:I don't feel like you should feel bad about not wanting to travel or not wanting to spend the huge amount of dollars needed for travel.

Contrary to what a lot of travelers say, vacation travel does not necessarily widen your experiences or wisdom, especially if your travel is to prearranged tour vacations where you're mainly sightseeing, and not interacting with the culture or living the lifestyle.

I can afford to travel, and have already traveled to more than 18 countries on various continents, but I never lived abroad and feel like all that travel didn't add a lot to my life wisdom. I'll benefit far more, both from personal satisfaction, and fun, by doing something local deeply, over years, and getting real expertise and knowledge, than from taking trips where I do not live the culture of the place I'm going to.
Excellent post.

When I was younger, I spent 5 weeks in Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile. I traveled around with a friend of mine who just got out of the Peace Corps. We traveled very cheap (as only 23-year-olds can), staying with some his friends in small towns. That trip added some to my "life wisdom". I think I spend $1000 over the whole 5 weeks, including airfare.

A couple of years ago, I did a "once-in-a-lifetime" $10,000 Med cruise where we spent 2 weeks in Italy, Greece, Egypt, and Israel. I'm very very glad I went... I really enjoyed it, but I was just a tourist... It was FUN, and I saw some amazing things, but it didn't make me a better or more worldly person, except maybe forcing me to reflect a little bit more on history (something I already do anyway).

I HATED the flights... I do want to go back to Italy someday, and spend a month there (the food was amazing), but I want to take a ship there, not fly.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:20 pm

lightheir wrote:I don't feel like you should feel bad about not wanting to travel or not wanting to spend the huge amount of dollars needed for travel.

Contrary to what a lot of travelers say, vacation travel does not necessarily widen your experiences or wisdom, especially if your travel is to prearranged tour vacations where you're mainly sightseeing, and not interacting with the culture or living the lifestyle.

I can afford to travel, and have already traveled to more than 18 countries on various continents, but I never lived abroad and feel like all that travel didn't add a lot to my life wisdom. I'll benefit far more, both from personal satisfaction, and fun, by doing something local deeply, over years, and getting real expertise and knowledge, than from taking trips where I do not live the culture of the place I'm going to.
Great post. I travel quite a bit for work, including internationally, and it really isn't my thing and I really dislike the hassle of getting there (sitting in airports, jet lag, etc.). Don't feel bad about not wanting to travel, when I am on "vacation" traveling is the last thing I want to do.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by lowerleisureclass » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:27 pm

Actually, many of us in our 40s and even 50s still prefer the type of travel where you find yourself hitching a ride on a mountain road in Central America from a pickup full of locals with a couple of guys carrying machine guns hanging off the back, and yes, you can travel very extensively for not all that much money if you like that sort of thing. I am frequently dumbfounded by the amount of money I hear people say they spend on very short trips.

The only trouble with travelling close to the ground like that is that the other travellers you meet that way tend to be, well, 23. However, you meet a lot more locals and IMO have a lot more fun.
"At either end of the economic spectrum there lies a leisure class." -- Eric Beck, rock climber

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Kosmo
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Kosmo » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:27 pm

JupiterJones wrote:Fear of flying is very common. The good news is, you can do something about it.
One of the best ways to get over a fear of flying is to take flying lessons. It's a whole different ballgame when you're in control.

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thursdaysd
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by thursdaysd » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:33 pm

Actually, many of us in our 40s and even 50s still prefer the type of travel where you find yourself hitching a ride on a mountain road in Central America from a pickup full of locals
You can add 60s to that.

I'm saving those expensive cruises for when I'm just too decrepit to do anything else. Right now $10,000 would be more likely to last me two months than two weeks.
Thursday's child has far to go

autonomy
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by autonomy » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:33 pm

Traveling is one of the justifications for having to go to work. When I'm traveling, I often end up thinking "Those times when I was stuck at the office don't seem too bad now given that I get to experience this. I work to be able to do this". I don't want to become an old man with millions of dollars in the bank and no memories. When I travel, I get to make up my own schedule, decide what I want to do, where to go, and not have to worry about house chores or deadlines or anything of the sort.

So I look for deals, use CC points, car rental coupons, hotels.com free nights, sometimes extend business trips, whatever helps. I don't splurge but I try not to cheap out. You can pay a lot of money and remember that meal for the rest of your life, or you can try to go cheap, spend 2 hours looking for a cheap place, get frustrated and hungry, and end up remembering THAT for the rest of your life. However, wife and I try to be frugal - we'll make our own breakfast in the morning, then maybe make lunch or buy something cheap (bread/cheese/meats), dinner we'll sometimes do something cheap, once or twice we'll do a nice dinner.

Fear of flying is another problem and has nothing to do with "affordability of travel". I don't care much for being in the air or turbulence, but I hate going through the security theater, it makes me anxious and sweaty. I've learned to work out a routine, wear specific shoes, take a specific bag, perform specific actions, and things go smoother from there on. Planning a trip always seems like much more hassle than the trip itself turns out to be.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by JimmyD » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:41 pm

We love to travel but don't have a ton of money left over to do so. In order to maximize our travel budget, we include it as a line item in our budget and set aside a small amount every month to a dedicated travel fund. In addition, we use the Capital One Venture Rewards Visa card to pay for every expense possible in order to receive 2% back toward travel. Lastly, we know we just can't afford any exotic vacations any time soon (with a new baby), so we do our best to enjoy what IS affordable. For instance, both of our parents live steps from two different beaches, so we typically vacation there and don't have to pay for lodging. The lavish, international vacations will come in time.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:36 pm

lowerleisureclass wrote:Actually, many of us in our 40s and even 50s still prefer the type of travel where you find yourself hitching a ride on a mountain road in Central America from a pickup full of locals with a couple of guys carrying machine guns hanging off the back, and yes, you can travel very extensively for not all that much money if you like that sort of thing. I am frequently dumbfounded by the amount of money I hear people say they spend on very short trips.

The only trouble with travelling close to the ground like that is that the other travellers you meet that way tend to be, well, 23. However, you meet a lot more locals and IMO have a lot more fun.
I traveled this way in the 1990s and plan to do more of it in retirement. It's cheap and exciting. When traveling in developing countries, I get along well with travelers of all ages, most of whom are unconventional. Younger travelers are frequently very experienced and mature; I learn from them. Older travelers are usually adventurous and youthful; I get inspired by them.

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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Fallible » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:30 pm

poker27 wrote:I know we all save and invest, but I think the bulk of the population here also loves to experience new things and travel. There is obviously a monetary cost of vacationing, but there is also the process of getting off work, leaving priorities behind, ect.

Personally, I hate to fly, and typically only do 1-2 'short' flights a year in the US, and then a few weekend car trips. I've been maxed out on vacation for years, have the funds to do so, but haven't been able to stomach the cost or 'pain' of traveling to another country. So we will spend our $ on great Chicago restaurants and entertainment we love, but I'm starting to think I am missing out. ...
I would say travel only if you want to, if there are different places and cultures you want to see and experience and people there you want to meet. Don't spend the money, endure travel you already know you don't like to get someplace you're not certain you will like just because you've read about others doing it and you think you're missing out. Then again, maybe you should respond to that missing-out feeling if only to get it our of your system - and of course in doing so, you may just discover that the travel is not as bad as you'd thought and that you do love those new experiences. One never knows. (And I have a feeling this reply has put you right back where you started...)
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Wolkenspiel » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:32 pm

To answer the question in the thread title directly:
- We typically have two international trips (Europe/Asia) with a family of four per year
- Out of 8 international tickets per year, we try to get half from frequent flyer miles, and to combine one of the trips with one of my business trips. So only three tickets to buy
- We spend a good fraction of each trip with family or friends, or somewhere I have some business to take care of. That part doesn't cost much more than staying at home, maybe $50 extra per day.
- When we go on road trips (mostly in Europe), we try to find good deals on rental cars, hotels and food. Still, for that part car/hotel/food/fuel usually average to $300-400/day

I fly a lot for business (hence most of the FF miles). I never liked flying, but find that I'm much less scared these days. Some of it is just getting used to it. But I also felt much better after watching a lot of crappy landings on youtube, and reading the avherald. That may seem odd, but you really find that a flying plane is a much more robust/stable system than one might think, and that *a lot* has to go wrong all at the same time for it to crash. Helped me, what can I say.

Finally, although I still don't *like* the idea of flying, the pleasure of traveling business class (in my case only on upgrades, can't afford/am not allowed to actually buy business class tickets) makes up for a lingering feeling that sitting in a tin tube at 30000ft is somewhat unnatural. If one can swing it, that's the way to go. However, I wouldn't plan a big trip to Italy for just a week. Take your time!

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