Sunday, February 26, 2012

Money and Travel

     I frequently got questions about the cost of traveling to the far corners of the world from the audiences I lectured, the kids I taught, friends and just about anyone else who knows how many miles I roam. Mumbles about my having to be rich to go where I go are often audible even in large auditoriums. It is time to talk about money. There is no getting past the fact that roaming about in Pakistan or Namibia or Venezuela is more costly than staying home but everything is relative. First of all, in order to travel the globe, you need to dedicate yourself to that undertaking. That means you need to dedicate part of your income as well. There are people who drive fancy cars or dress to the T or buy expensive jewelry and still travel extensively, but I am not one of those. We do not have any of that stuff.  My wife and I have a total of 12 years of use combined on our low priced cars. We have lived in the same home for 49 years. She has no furs and I wear a fifteen dollar watch. We have had to make some significant choices in order to do what we do although there are no regrets about that. We have never yearned for what we don't have. We have designated our savings over the years primarily to our travels. For that reason, we have perhaps paid more attention to money than we might otherwise have done. Our investments have been careful and lucky from the start- all the better to insure future adventures.

     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


Philippine Wedding Resources said...

Very important thing before you travel is MONEY !!

orlando airport taxi service said...

I absolutely agree with your points, to make your dreams come true you have to choose one thing. 90 % of the people of the world are not enough rich to just travel and spend money. We have to plan and save long before traveling.