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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tooluser
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by tooluser » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:54 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:46 am
tooluser wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:55 pm
MathWizard wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:36 pm
We go cheap on food and hotel. We will splurge for a meal or two, but

We are there for the sights, not the food or hotel. Ideally, we just sleep at the hotel, and we don't spend a long time eating, because we want to be out looking around.
How does the cheap hotel work out? I find that cheap hotels are very noisy, sometimes dodgy, and I am much less likely to get a good night's sleep. A more expensive hotel doesn't guarantee a quiet room, but in my experience it helps. Plus amenities like plumbing tend to work rather than be broken. Maybe I'm just a bad judge of cheap places. How do you get a good room at a cheap hotel?
I buy a new Rick Steves book for that country.

I've never had a bad night's sleep.

Advantages were that we were close to attractions. The biggest difference was they were small, didn't always have A/C , and didn't always have an elevator.
Thank you, I will give that a try.

Point
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Point » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:01 pm

Last year we travelled around with our airstream and spent 75 nights away. This year it will be about the same. There’s an upfront capital cost for the truck and airstream, but nights away are very low cost. We take our dogs with us and just enjoy beaches, mountains, state parks, rivers and lakes. It beats buying property in a separate location and maintaining a distant 2nd home. We are retired.

josehde
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by josehde » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:50 pm

It's just a matter of booking flights really early or waiting for discounts in my case. Credit card rewards come in handy too. For expenses while on the trip, I always dial back on spending on hotels and food. I love trying local food and not upscale restaurants. I prefer Airbnbs too--I love the option to cook for myself whenever I feel like it.

MathWizard
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by MathWizard » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:00 pm

tooluser wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:54 pm
MathWizard wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:46 am
tooluser wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:55 pm
MathWizard wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:36 pm
We go cheap on food and hotel. We will splurge for a meal or two, but

We are there for the sights, not the food or hotel. Ideally, we just sleep at the hotel, and we don't spend a long time eating, because we want to be out looking around.
How does the cheap hotel work out? I find that cheap hotels are very noisy, sometimes dodgy, and I am much less likely to get a good night's sleep. A more expensive hotel doesn't guarantee a quiet room, but in my experience it helps. Plus amenities like plumbing tend to work rather than be broken. Maybe I'm just a bad judge of cheap places. How do you get a good room at a cheap hotel?
I buy a new Rick Steves book for that country.

I've never had a bad night's sleep.

Advantages were that we were close to attractions. The biggest difference was they were small, didn't always have A/C , and didn't always have an elevator.
Thank you, I will give that a try.
The places we stayed weren't necessarily cheap by US standards. They were usually a little above $100 US. The big advantage was that we save taxi fare to get to the attractions and back, and saved the time in the taxi. Time is a precious resource when abroad. Rick Steves finds places close to the action, or to public transit. We were typically within 3 blocks of a Metro in London, Paris and Rome.

If you go to Rome, get the Roma Pass, it is a bargain. It will get you to the front of most lines, saving time, and is good for unlimited metro rides, so you save money, and you don't waste time at ticket machines. If you go to the Vatacian museum, book in advance. You'll save at least 90 minutes of standing in line.

I might not have stayed at these hotels (pensions) if I had kids along. The rooms were small with just one double bed. We wore Columbia clothes meant for hiking, which we could wash in the sink and be ready for the next day. We traveled light.

Once I retire, trips should get cheaper. We're limited now on when we can travel. Travelling at peak tourist times ups the cost.

HawkeyePierce
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Location: Colorado

Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:45 pm

Off-season travel can save a lot of money and it avoids the crowds.

Last winter we rented an Airbnb in Moab for $120/night—during peak season that same listing goes for >$300. We cooked all our meals and had the parks to ourselves.

Grasshopper
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Grasshopper » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:50 pm

Social Security is my meal ticket to travel. At 68 the bucket list for active travel is getting full. Walking safari in Zambia this fall and hiking the Italian Dolomite next year, after that it's wait and see. :beer

junetree
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by junetree » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:02 am

We save a whole year before with a target budget. We use travel rewards cards and upgrades. Any unused funds in the budget is rolled over to the next year. It works perfectly! It's a priority for us.

IMO
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by IMO » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:58 pm

randomguy wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:20 am
Travel is luxury spending just like any other. If you have the money you can spend it. Thats the point of having money. And it is up to you to determine if travel is the best ways of maximizing your dollars. There is nothing wrong with deciding that spending 8k on some monster TV and couch will bring you more happiness than a week in italy. On bogleheads, trips and education are the two "approved" luxury purchases that tend not to get criticized too much.You aren't going to see a Taylor post talking about how 8k trips will cost you 1 zillion dollars over the next 40 years they way you will if you want to spend 2k/year more on a luxury car.
1st, the OP is 4 years old, but the topic is an ongoing relevant topic for many.

Funny post, but I find on this site, there isn't much criticism on spending for both travel AND luxury cars when it comes to opportunity costs. Have a boat and/or 2nd home and one will spend an eternity in damnation. Spending on an "experience" vs. a material thing automatically gives one a pass on spending the money. One also gets a pass if they choose to rent some material thing rather than own it, even if it costs a lot more to repeatedly rent that item.

On the affordability on both time/money for travel. It's really a much different thing when one has kid(s) and your travel is dictated by school vacations. Everyone's off the same time and things are expensive and crowded. One can homeschool one's kids, but that presumes one has an occupation that allows remote work (and there are pro's/con's to homeschooling).

I think the best travel is when you combine your hobbie(s)/activities with your travel. In this scenario, it helps if both parents and all kids partake in the same hobbies/activities as everyone's travel goals better align.

Colorado13
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Location: Colorado

Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Colorado13 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:33 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:55 am

I have no idea why traveling gets a pass any more than luxury cars or watches (which I also am not into). I enjoyed taking my family to Goblin Valley earlier this year (for like $200 total) WAY more than I did my lovely wife going with me to Bulgaria and Romania last month (several thousand...but company paid for most).
Goblin Valley is wonderful! Utah has so many great hiking destinations.

But, on topic... Travel is a priority for me and many/most of my trips are hiking trips, which is generally not expensive. We pack a lot of our food with us, so that limits meal costs. I also rarely eat out when I am not traveling; the money saved becomes part of my travel fund.

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thursdaysd
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by thursdaysd » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:43 pm

tooluser wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:55 pm
MathWizard wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:36 pm
We go cheap on food and hotel. We will splurge for a meal or two, but

We are there for the sights, not the food or hotel. Ideally, we just sleep at the hotel, and we don't spend a long time eating, because we want to be out looking around.
How does the cheap hotel work out? I find that cheap hotels are very noisy, sometimes dodgy, and I am much less likely to get a good night's sleep. A more expensive hotel doesn't guarantee a quiet room, but in my experience it helps. Plus amenities like plumbing tend to work rather than be broken. Maybe I'm just a bad judge of cheap places. How do you get a good room at a cheap hotel?
If you buy or borrow good guidebooks you should be fine. As MathWizard suggested, Rick Steves tends to recommend good central places, although his picks are pricier than they used to be. In some countries local chains are a good source: I was impressed with Premier Inns in England last year - AC and elevators and good sized rooms even in London. The Ibis and MotelOne chains are worth investigating too. In Asia, of course, you can often get luxury at a surprisingly low price.

With good planning (guidebooks and help from sites like fodors.com) you should be able to travel independently (no big coach tours!) in most of the world at whatever price point you choose.
Thursday's child has far to go

Glockenspiel
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Glockenspiel » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:48 pm

It helps that I use a 2% cash back card, which typically pays for 2 flights (one for my spouse and myself), each year.

Starfish
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by Starfish » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:03 pm

If you think that you have to spend 8k for a week you might be looking at very different things than people who like to travel. The average Italian does not spend 8k/week.
You could have cheaper travel in many ways:
1. Go off season. Air tickets, lodging are cheaper, less hot, less crowds. We have a kid so we cannot do that.
I have to say though that summer in Europe is special because everybody is in vacation and there is a different atmosphere. I would go at the beginning, when is greener and less hot.
2. Unless you have your own business there should be no cost for taking off. I get unlimited vacation nowadays but normal standard is 20 days which, if used wisely, turn into more than 4 weeks of vacation.
3. Use credit card bonuses, miles etc.
4. Book very early, is cheaper.
5. For me there is no hassle associated with traveling. It takes about 1h to pack for 10 days in a cabin backpack.
6. There are cheap places to stay. If you think the only option is that 5* hotel in downtown you are wrong. At the low end I would consider camping and hostels, couch surfing, room in an apartment.
7. Go for at least 2 weeks. 3 is better. 1 week has just too much overhead.
8. You shouldn't have to spend there to feel good. You don't have to go to expensive restaurants. You make a sandwich, eat breakfast at the hotel and just go out for a dinner. Walking around, seeing things is cheap.
9. Avoid tourist traps, they are expensive. Stay and eat with the locals.
10. Use public transportation.
11. Travel with friends, housing tends to get cheaper if you share, you can rent cars (although we should avoid driving in Europe).


From 2000$ for 2 tickets and 1000$ for lodging with kitchen or breakfast it's a bit too much to get to 8000$, especially if money are an issue. I can see spending 5-6k with a bit of attention.

PS: for 3 people we spend ~3k for about 10 days in Maui at Christmas which a very expensive period. Flying was almost free (points + companion pass with Southwest), airbnb is about 2500 and car rental ~500$, part of which we could pay with points too but we did not.
We will probably spend 1-2k more there.
It's still not very cheap but affordable.

protagonist
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by protagonist » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:15 pm

poker27 wrote:
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?
I think how much you spend on travel depends on your approach to traveling. You can get a RT coach airfare to Italy for under $1000 (https://www.google.com/search?q=nyc-rom ... e&ie=UTF-8) ......and if you are willing to stay in modest hotels or airbnb I would think you could probably find accommodations for not much more than $100/night. "Doing it right" means different things to different people. To some it means luxury accommodations. I never had to talk myself into traveling. My best (most memorable) travel experiences were from when I was young and poor, and often hitchhiked, slept in tents or hostels, and made friends that I have kept to this day. I don't travel as much these days. Like you, I really don't enjoy flying or all the planning, and I suppose I am a bit jaded on travel as I have done so much of it in the past and don't have a bucket list. I enjoy traveling the most these days when I am doing so with a purpose, rather than just sightseeing.

josehde
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by josehde » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:29 am

I have always wanted to travel, but not in a way that would have me away for months or years. I am content with the occasional trip, and it doesn't have to be far, just somewhere a little different and interesting. The interesting part isn't hard as I think there is always something worth exploring in any place, just appeals to different tastes that's all, and for me I like history. It has also been a way to make nice memories with loved ones. As for how I can afford it, the little trips had me earn some travel rewards through my cards, looking at partner airlines (as well as hotels and travel activities mentioned here). Also have an account especially for travels and other luxuries -- I knew early on that this is what I want to spend money on from time to time but I have to be responsible with my spending whenever I do it. It also does not hurt that I am not into luxury travel as much as other people.

dsmil
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by dsmil » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:56 am

It's all about credit card sign-up bonuses for us. We probably spend $2k per year on travel (usually to stay at the beach for a week), and the rest is covered with credit card points from sign-up bonuses. Flights to Europe, flights within the U.S., and hotels for my family have been almost all covered for us for the past 4 years, and we simply wouldn't have taken those trips if it weren't for the credit card points.

azurik
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by azurik » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:33 am

I don't talk myself into traveling... if you enjoy something, you don't have to convince yourself of it. It also helps my wife really loves it too, especially tropical places :D

Having been to over 140+ countries, you can subsidize some costs, but it's still an expensive hobby. Some people like to collect baseball cards, some people like to go on trips for the experiences. This is especially evident in the younger generations where materialistic things are being prioritized lower than enjoyable experiences.

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220volt
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Re: How do you afford to travel?

Post by 220volt » Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:11 pm

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 :)
Forget the alcohol. Take one Xanax (or Ativan) 1 hour before the flight, and the second one during the flight. And since you will only be flying once or twice a year you will not form any kind of dependency. You're welcome. Now go enjoy Italy and send us some photos.
"If I had only followed the advice of financial analysts in 2008, I'd have a million dollars today, provided I started with a hundred million dollars" - Jon Stewart

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