My wife and I always put as much of our savings into those hard to withdraw accounts called IRA's so that we could save for retirement and for travel in our retirement years. That worked out well. We sometimes had to choose which bills to pay from the pile on my desk and we did not indulge in very many luxuries during those earliest years but even then we did do some traveling. I worked in Europe for two years before I was married and managed to get all around the continent on the my salary. On another grand trip, my wife and young kids and I got a year of living in and touring Europe because I taught in Rome for that year. We put on a lot of miles in those twelve months.
We took other trips too. Each of them was at the economy level but that did not dissuade us or discomfort our journeys. The issue for us was travel, not luxury. We had a budget for everything and we never starved along the way. But the important thing to note is that travel was our prime investment. It still is. If one wishes to stay at the best hotels, eat at the most luxurious restaurants or sail the finest cruises, lots of money is necessary. We did not travel that way. We learned that smaller hotels got us closer to the people we wanted to visit. Local markets and restaurants helped us to get a better feel for the places we visited.
So what is the answer to the assumption, "He must have money." It is yes and no. Yes, it does cost more to travel than it does to stay home. There is transportation and housing and food and the occasional gift. But if one masters the tricks of the trade and finds bargains, learns how to get the best price for services and avoids unnecessary expenses, it can be done. We are not backpackers so we do spend money on hotels and meals. We know there are travel styles rougher than we prefer. I would refer to us rather as bargain shoppers. We do pretty well that way. And the growth of the internet with its abundance of travel information has made it even easier to travel cheaply if one is willing to put in the time and effort to construct a modest trip for oneself. We enjoy that challenge.
Inexpensive Shopping, Turpan, China