Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

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Kayyy123
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Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by Kayyy123 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:40 pm

Hello Bogleheads,

Can you give us some opinion on rather we should spend $5k annually on traveling?
We planned to travel to a new country or a new city every year since 3 years ago when we got married.
We had visited Germany, Czech, Japan, Mexico, China, Maldives, Dubai (UAE)
We plan have kid soon so we are enjoying our freedom before a kid pop up.
Half of the trips were only 2 of us and in other half we brought our parents with us.
Our parents are getting close to 70 and have some joint problems. There are still some places that they want to visit and we want to take them out before they cannot travel anymore.

We are living in Bay Area where the housing price is relatively high comparing with other cities.
We have been thinking if we should save the $5k toward the down payment of a house lately.
Anything feedback is appreciated.

Background
Age: 30 (both spouses)
Married, no kid
Income: Me: $68k, Husband: $100k
Emergency Funds: 3 months
Taxable investment account: $140k
401K: $120k for both, max out in 2015 and will max out in 2016
Roth IRA: $11k (We just learn about it last year...)

Debt: 1 car loan, $26k (1.9%), 1 fully paid car (Originally we had 2 fully paid cars earlier this year. My father in law's car broke down and took 1 of our car. We didn't take any money from him. We bought a Subaru outback to replace the giveaway car since we enjoy outdoor activities a lot)
Monthly Donation to Church: 10% of before tax income, roughly about $1.6k each month
No credit debt, no property, renting with a roomate

WhiteMaxima
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by WhiteMaxima » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:00 pm

Just do it. Do it when you able to.

TRC
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by TRC » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:04 pm

Yes. You never know when you're number is up. Memories and life experiences count a lot more than a pile of money in the big picture.

mhalley
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by mhalley » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:06 pm

Looks like you are maxing out retirement, have no unsecured debt. Travel sounds like an affordable expense.

MrNewEngland
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by MrNewEngland » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:06 pm

My answer is not just yes but it's an emphatic yes.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:06 pm

I am a big advocate of travel. I say yes, do your traveling with that 5k.
However I do see lots of $ holes in your post. I am sure that others will post and point them out to you.

MrNewEngland
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by MrNewEngland » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:07 pm

mhalley wrote:Looks like you are maxing out retirement, have no unsecured debt. Travel sounds like an affordable expense.
Saw this after I posted. If any other young people are reading I'd say go and travel even if you don't have your retirement secured yet. Go and enjoy yourself.

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cfs
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by cfs » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:09 pm

Welcome aboard!

Welcome aboard to our shipmate. Good to see new shipmates checking in. I did all my heavy duty traveling thanks to my military service [sea-going US Navy Sailor], but you are not in the military and if I was in your shoes I would pack and go on my travel right now. Of course, you will receive all kind of comments and recommendations on what to do with those $5k, but at the end of the day the decision is yours and only yours. Good luck with your career, good luck with your travels, good luck with your investments, and please come back ONE YEAR from now and give us a sitrep [situation report].

Thanks for reading.
~ Member of the Active Retired Force since 2014 ~

bubbadog
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by bubbadog » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:10 pm

Absolutely! Live life and enjoy. You are doing fine.

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corwin
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by corwin » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:14 pm

You are also using some of that money to spend time with your parents. You may not have that option later. Go for it.

barnaclebob
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:15 pm

You wont miss the $5k per year.

soboggled
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by soboggled » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:15 pm

Yes! A lifetime of memories. I have never regretted it, only wish I had time to do more.
Last edited by soboggled on Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Watty
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by Watty » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:17 pm

You are maxing out your deductible retirement which is great and gives you a lot of options with the the rest of your money.

I would try to on the statement, "Spending $5,000 a year on travel will delay being able to buy a house by X years."

Once have a number you can decide which is more important to you, there not one right answer.

Depending on where you are at in the Bay Area I don't know if you could afford a nice home in a good area so on your income so the question could be a bit academic .

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celia
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by celia » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:26 pm

To me, travel is another thing in life that needs to be prioritized with the rest of your goals, but it does not need to be expensive: camping, visiting some place an hour away by car, staying with someone you know. Spending time with relatives is also important, but does not have to involve travel. (You didn't mention if you pay for the parents' travel.) A lot of our travel with kids was inexpensive since we would reciprocate staying with relatives. By doing that, you can save on travel expenses, spend time with relatives, and allow your kids and relatives to get to know each other better.

We're retired now and almost all of our yearly family vacations were under $5,000.
A dollar in Roth is worth more than a dollar in a taxable account. A dollar in taxable is worth more than a dollar in a tax-deferred account.

delamer
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by delamer » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:27 pm

Is the taxable account earmarked for something other than a downpayment? How much do you need for a downpayment, and when do you need it?

soboggled
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by soboggled » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:31 pm

celia wrote:To me, travel is another thing in life that needs to be prioritized with the rest of your goals, but it does not need to be expensive: camping, visiting some place an hour away by car, staying with someone you know. Spending time with relatives is also important, but does not have to involve travel. (You didn't mention if you pay for the parents' travel.) A lot of our travel with kids was inexpensive since we would reciprocate staying with relatives. By doing that, you can save on travel expenses, spend time with relatives, and allow your kids and relatives to get to know each other better.

We're retired now and almost all of our yearly family vacations were under $5,000.
Sorry, the travel you remember forever are the long independent trips far from home in different environments and cultures. Not with the kids or relatives close to home, though that of course has a place.

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celia
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by celia » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:04 pm

soboggled wrote:
celia wrote:To me, travel is another thing in life that needs to be prioritized with the rest of your goals, but it does not need to be expensive: camping, visiting some place an hour away by car, staying with someone you know. Spending time with relatives is also important, but does not have to involve travel. (You didn't mention if you pay for the parents' travel.) A lot of our travel with kids was inexpensive since we would reciprocate staying with relatives. By doing that, you can save on travel expenses, spend time with relatives, and allow your kids and relatives to get to know each other better.

We're retired now and almost all of our yearly family vacations were under $5,000.
Sorry, the travel you remember forever are the long independent trips far from home in different environments and cultures. Not with the kids or relatives close to home, though that of course has a place.
Sorry, but I am also talking about international travel to visit relatives in various countries.
A dollar in Roth is worth more than a dollar in a taxable account. A dollar in taxable is worth more than a dollar in a tax-deferred account.

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:05 pm

I'm not sure if you plan to have kids but if you do, I'd definitely do international trips now. It is far easier without kids. We just got back from Hawaii with our two-year-old and it's definitely more challenging traveling with a little kid. For instance, we had to return to the hotel in the middle of the day because it was her nap time.

We're also in the Bay Area and make about $145k combined. We have budgeted about $2k-$3k for vacations. Flights can be had for free these days if you make use of miles/credit card bonuses. We paid $16 out of pocket for three round trip tickets from San Francisco International to Maui last week. All it took was my wife and I opening one airline credit card each. We also saved $100 in luggage fees by using the card. We'll close the accounts before the annual fees hit. Look for inexpensive places to stay and try to keep food costs down (stopping by grocery stores helps a lot), but travel often!

Jamieson22
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by Jamieson22 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:15 pm

Kayyy123 wrote: Monthly Donation to Church: 10% of before tax income, roughly about $1.6k each month
No credit debt, no property, renting with a roomate
Is the 1.6k a month to church negotiable?

Also, you are married and the two of you live with a roommate as well? Will that continue when kid arrives? If not, what increase will that mean on your budget for your own place (I didn't see a rent amt but assume with Bay Area it is hefty)?

Also with kid assume you either lose an income or pick up a sizeable daycare expense? Can you increase your emergency fund to 6 months at this time while still doing all you are doing?

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nedsaid
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by nedsaid » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:19 pm

By all means travel. My parents are elderly now and can no longer travel, there were trips I would have liked to have taken with them but now cannot. Now that your parents are about 70, they probably have five more prime years that they can comfortably travel. Some folks are healthy and vigorous into their eighties but realistically it seems like the wheels start coming off at about 75. Don't wait. You will regret waiting as you will not get those years back.
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radiowave
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by radiowave » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:21 pm

+1 on the travel. You could split is up by year, e.g. travel outside the US one year, following year travel in US/Canada, If you plan your trips (e.g. use TripAdvisor) you'll likely save compared to package tours but then have the extra burden of handling everything yourself but have plenty of flexibility and you are a traveler not a tourist in a bus.

and take lots of pictures!
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krv
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by krv » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:33 pm

Absolutely, YES. I'd even bias towards spending a bit from the taxable account if needed above 5K if you have the vacation time and such. The money is nothing compared to memories with parents on the joint trips, memories with your spouse on the trips you take together and the memories of travel before traveling with kids (possible, but much harder and very different, especially for the first few years). Not even worth another thought in my opinion other than planning where to go and what to experience.

traveler90
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by traveler90 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:02 pm

100% Yes

rob65
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by rob65 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:16 pm

Another yes vote. Enjoy the time with your spouse. Enjoy the time with your parents while they can still travel.

It's hard to travel with small children. You might want to take children on international trips at some point, but I think that works much better when the kids are a little older.

finite_difference
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by finite_difference » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:17 pm

Yes!!
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jjface
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by jjface » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:17 pm

Only 5k?!

jane1
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by jane1 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:29 pm

Yes, travel as much as your time allows. The memories and the perspective you gain in life, especially from international travel, is priceless.
You got 20+ yes and not one no in responses!

2stepsbehind
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by 2stepsbehind » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:35 pm

I say no. Learn to play the credit card rewards game and you should be able to dramatically reduce your out of pocket expenditures.

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William4u
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by William4u » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:35 pm

I do.

harrychan
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by harrychan » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:03 am

Our vacations are about the same - two major vacations. One for leisure and one to visit family in Asia. We also fit a weekend getaway here and there. We have two kids, a mortgage and satisfactory retirement account. Do it.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

jayjayc
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by jayjayc » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:32 pm

You are at the very peak of travel enjoyment years. You're young, financially healthy, no kids and you can share all the new experiences with your spouse. You can go wherever you want and partake in whatever activity you want. That will change in time, especially if you have kids.

$5k is a lot for travel. I highly recommend allocating $100/person for Global Entry. It will save you headache every time you go through customs from an international trip and it will save headache every time you go through the TSA security check lane since Global Entry includes TSA precheck.

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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by Texanbybirth » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:41 pm

Sounds like y'all are doing great - enjoy your travels! That's also really cool that you're able to take the padres with you sometimes. :beer

(And good on your for your 10% donation. It's a huge sacrifice, and the fact that you can commit yourself to that and still squeeze in some traveling is a great testament.)
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2015
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by 2015 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:00 pm

soboggled wrote:
celia wrote:To me, travel is another thing in life that needs to be prioritized with the rest of your goals, but it does not need to be expensive: camping, visiting some place an hour away by car, staying with someone you know. Spending time with relatives is also important, but does not have to involve travel. (You didn't mention if you pay for the parents' travel.) A lot of our travel with kids was inexpensive since we would reciprocate staying with relatives. By doing that, you can save on travel expenses, spend time with relatives, and allow your kids and relatives to get to know each other better.

We're retired now and almost all of our yearly family vacations were under $5,000.
Sorry, the travel you remember forever are the long independent trips far from home in different environments and cultures. Not with the kids or relatives close to home, though that of course has a place.
I don't agree with this blanket statement at all. I think it depends on what you value. No trip is more memorable than another to me. There are some things I remember about my ten day travel through Europe 12 years ago (walking from the very gaudy, crowded, glorified shopping mall otherwise known as Champs Elysees just two blocks over to a wonderful deserted cafe to have a glass of Vin rose, for example--about 6 local men in the corner totally ignored me, and I loved it). I will also never forget my 4 hour drive to my mother's house last holiday season, sitting in her living room as the blue moon rose over the mountains in her living room window. It looked like a giant light bulb in the sky, and we kept the lights off just to watch it rise while talking and having wine. Next morning, we woke to a winter wonderland of snow (it only snowed one time, Christmas Eve, so Christmas morning snow was an amazing treat). Again, we sat in front of her big living room window marveling at this beautiful little miracle while we talked and had coffee. I will never forget that trip.

In Mexico this last May, I was with my favorite person in the world so the trip for me was more about us being together, and that's what's memorable about it. Personally, I don't equate amount of money spent or hyper exotic experiences with having had a memorable or wonderful time. YMMV.
Last edited by 2015 on Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

davebo
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by davebo » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:10 pm

I used to be a bit too practical for my own good and viewed travel as a bit of a waste. Luckily my wife convinced me otherwise and we started going on annual vacations after we got married. Not only are those some of the best memories we had during our childless years, but looking through the photo albums actually is something our kids love to do as well. I think they like looking through them and wondering "Gee, is this what you guys did before you were taking care of us?" :P

Ditto after we had kids, even though people will say things like "Wait until they get older and remember the vacations", I'm glad we continued taking trips while the kids were young. Again, they look back at those pictures all the time and bring up all the fun stuff we did.

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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by leonard » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:24 pm

I don't believe there to be any "magic" in travel, so I think you should do a hard cost/benefit analysis.

Will you really get 5k of benefit from this? if you do this over 5 years - will you really have derived $25k worth of benefit?

What's the next most important thing on your list? House down payment? The opportunity cost of the $5k - what you are giving up when spending it - is really the core trade off you are making.

Are there some tangible goods that you want to purchase? If I have to choose between a short term vacation versus having a new guitar, sea kayak or something else tangible that I can use almost indefinitely - sometimes the tangible wins out simply because you can get long term enjoyment out of it. Yes, yes, we can scroll through pictures of a vacation on a phone - but it really isn't the same.

Finally, what about a compromise? Spend 1k or 2k on local trips. Plenty to do around California, Oregon, Nevada. Bank the rest.
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by itstoomuch » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:32 pm

Take your parents.
As parents ourselves, approaching 70, with gout, hip issues, teeth replacement, and other ailments. It is absolutely worth it that you take your parents on your trips. We both have priliminary cancers, TBD on severity. We live a fairly healthy life too. :( :? :annoyed
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:33 pm

leonard wrote:I don't believe there to be any "magic" in travel, so I think you should do a hard cost/benefit analysis.

Will you really get 5k of benefit from this? if you do this over 5 years - will you really have derived $25k worth of benefit?

What's the next most important thing on your list? House down payment? The opportunity cost of the $5k - what you are giving up when spending it - is really the core trade off you are making.

Are there some tangible goods that you want to purchase? If I have to choose between a short term vacation versus having a new guitar, sea kayak or something else tangible that I can use almost indefinitely - sometimes the tangible wins out simply because you can get long term enjoyment out of it. Yes, yes, we can scroll through pictures of a vacation on a phone - but it really isn't the same.

Finally, what about a compromise? Spend 1k or 2k on local trips. Plenty to do around California, Oregon, Nevada. Bank the rest.
I totally agree with this, but that's because traveling simply isn't my thing. If it is yours, you are definitely in the position to spend $5k/yr on whatever you want and not feel guilty about it.

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Toons
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by Toons » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:35 pm

Go ahead.
Enjoy yourself.
Don't put it off.
:happy
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celia
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by celia » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:27 pm

davebo wrote:Ditto after we had kids, even though people will say things like "Wait until they get older and remember the vacations", I'm glad we continued taking trips while the kids were young. Again, they look back at those pictures all the time and bring up all the fun stuff we did.
This reminds me of when people would say "The kids won't enjoy that historic stuff until they learned about it in school" to which I would reply "The kids did better in school since we travel to the historic places before they learned about them in school."

PS. We told them about the historical significance before and during the visit. It is not just classroom "lessons" that they learn from.
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Topic Author
Kayyy123
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by Kayyy123 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:26 pm

Thank you all for your advises and opinion.

Regarding the $1.6k monthly donation to church, we are donating 10% before tax income with after tax money.
It is an optional thing and our church doesn't require us to do it.
Even though it is a big amount for us and it hurts every month when I send the check, it is our commitment to God and a way to give back to our church community.

We are cutting other expenses to save for travel and house down payment.
We are living in a 2 bedroom apartment in San Jose shared with a friend to save some money, but we will not be able to do it once we have kid.
Our plan is to buy a house around East and South Bay within 2 years. Budget will be between $600k to $700k, so 20% of down payment will be around $120k to $140k.
My fear is that we may not be able to afford mortgage payment and daycare expense at the same time when a kid pop up.

For the 5k, it is only used for international trip.
When we travel with parents in international trip, we will cover all their expense except the flight tickets.
Traveling with miles is a good tip. I have close to 70k southwest miles, will look for the best redemption trick.

We also like to do road trip, camping and backpacking once in a while and the cost come from our monthly allowance.
We don't allocate a budget for short trips.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:44 pm

$5,000 / $192,000 = 0.026.

Why bother asking?

PJW

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:46 pm

Kayyy123 wrote:...
Our parents are getting close to 70 and have some joint problems.
...
Perhaps they should visit Colorado?
PJW

delamer
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:50 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Kayyy123 wrote:...
Our parents are getting close to 70 and have some joint problems.
...
Perhaps they should visit Colorado?
PJW
No, that would be if they have joint needs...

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njboater74
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by njboater74 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:52 pm

YES! Do the exotic locations now before you have kids. You will have a much richer life for it.

Once you have kids, you can take them to some amazing domestic destinations.
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southbay
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by southbay » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:09 pm

I view travel as in investment. :) travel often

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Toons
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by Toons » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:59 am

Technology stuff costs me that much in a year,
Why?
Because I enjoy it.
"Travel On" 8-) 8-)
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leonard
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by leonard » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:06 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:$5,000 / $192,000 = 0.026.

Why bother asking?

PJW
5k is 5k, no matter what denominator you throw under it.
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soboggled
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by soboggled » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:17 pm

A vote here for domestic trips with the kids, international for adults. The US has the best attractions for kids anyway, from national parks to theme parks. Domestic trips are more doable by automobiles, which gives maximum flexibility for traveling with kids. The joys of overseas travel are different culture, history, people and food, which are adult pleasures. These are things most kids are not yet ready to enjoy. And why subject them to tiring overseas travel just to visit DisneyWorld and swimming pools in a foreign language?

RudyS
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by RudyS » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:21 pm

You don't need our permission. Go for it!

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patriciamgr2
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Re: Should I spend 5k annually on travel?

Post by patriciamgr2 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:15 pm

Yes, travel as much as possible before having children. I'm not a fan of dragging little ones on long flights because of how uncomfortable it can be for them. Now is the time to travel widely & I'd suggest focusing on adventure travel. Lots of time in your future for closer-to-home adventures.

Good Luck!

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