Writing on this subject hasn’t flowed. In fact, I’ve been typing phrases and backspacing for about five minutes now and it's becoming clear why-- I don't want to be misunderstood. My hope is that nothing in this post comes across as pretentious, privileged, or proficient. Drew and I realize that not everyone our age can or cares to travel. We also realize that we have plenty to learn about how to do it more efficiently.
In order to keep this post honest, I decided not to act as though my expertise extends into the planning and budgeting side of travel. Instead, I enlisted my personal travel guide/ CFO/ accountant/ adventurer husband to supply the graphs and spreadsheets. I'll be sharing the "why's" which are almost completely based on the experiences we have had traveling together in three short years of marriage.
Why Do We Prioritize Travel?
1. Drew and I BOTH have exceptionally poor memories
Don’t go feeling sorry for us just yet, there are tricks we've learned to help combat the problems that come along with our amnesiac tendencies. Thankfully, we are both equally bad so situations that most couples would probably find extremely annoying (lost passports, lost keys, missed appointments, blurred memories of important events), we can easily understand and empathize with the current offender. As you might have gathered, day to day memories get lost in the shuffle and we both struggle to remember them years later. BUT the experiences, sights, and foods we have had through travel make lasting memories and are worth every penny to us.
2. Travel teaches us about ourselves and the rest of the world
This sounds cheesy, but it is so easy to become the center of the universe in your our world. We brush shoulders with the same people in the same settings on the same days of the week. Travel is the most effective reminder that there are many people in this world leading lives we will never touch, but that we are not at the center of it all. The younger we realize that, the more our lives will trend towards service rather than consumption. Drew had the opportunity to combine his love for travel and heart for service in South Africa ministering to orphans and repairing some of their buildings this summer. Opportunities like that should be seized at all costs.
3. It’s ridiculously fun
Maybe I’ll change my tune as our family grows and the hikes we take get shorter due to little legs, but for now it’s an absolute blast. To pick up and go to a new place with scenery that looks like nothing you’ve ever seen is exhilarating! Spending time with the person in the world who means the most while exploring the world is as cheesy and fun as it gets. You learn quirks about the other you would never have discovered in your daily routines. Drew has found out what a terrible road-tripper I am, and I have found that it’s never too early for him to wake me up or too late to for him to keep me awake to capture a photo. We’ve talked each other off ledges (literally), swam with sea turtles, skied until we cramped, run marathons until we cramped, slept at the base of the Grand Canyon, roasted in Death Valley, and boated in the Fjords of Norway---together. And plenty goes wrong in between those “mountain-top” experiences, but those are memories too!
How Do We Prioritize Travel?
1. We choose to see the world instead of spending money on luxuries at home
Madeline already touched on this to some degree, but in my estimation, I make “big money” decisions with two factors in mind: Is it necessary? (home mortgage, food, vehicles, medical expenses, business expenses, etc.) Obviously we don’t completely skimp on these. But if it is unnecessary, I ask myself: “Will I remember this in 10 years?” It’s a simple enough question, but it has changed my thinking on many of the day to day things that slip through the cracks. Sure it’s nice to go out to eat, but it is not worth spending $50 every Friday night on a restaurant--to us. I can guarantee I won’t remember it in 1 year, let alone 10 years. So instead of spending the money at home on fancy restaurants, cable bills, expensive furniture, huge car payments, we choose save our resources and experience as much of the world as we can.
2. It's worth the time Investment to us
The questions I get most in relation to our travels are about the planning. The truth is: planning a 2 week, 3,000 mile California trip is difficult. Planning a trip to Norway that involves 6 plane flights, 1 train ride, 2 rental vehicles, 5 AirBnBs, and 3 hotels isn’t easy. It takes time. I would say that this isn’t for most people. I have to realize that something will probably go wrong on a 2 week trip with that many moving parts. Most people would choose to relax during their vacation time and I get that. If you choose to go the route of planning every detail in order to see the most on your trip, you also need to be prepare for the possibility that you may be more tired when you get back home. There is nothing wrong with spending your hard-earned money and vacation time to go on a cruise or to an all-inclusive resort! Weigh the pros and cons before you go down this road on your next trip.
- Check all airlines- sometimes it's cheaper to buy separate tickets from different airlines--especially when flying overseas.
- Airbnb it. Hotels are expensive. They can be very convenient and luxurious, but they will almost always cost you more. Do your research, find the location you want to stay and find an Airbnb. This is one of the absolute best ways to save.
- Don't eat out every meal! We will eat out at most once a day. We find the local supermarkets and stock up on food and drinks. Obviously, if food is your thing, by all means eat out! That's just not what we do and is a major way we save money and extend our trips.
- Travel with friends or family. This will cut costs dramatically. Split Airbnb accommodations, rental cars, and food expenses.