Travel Lust – Part 1

Two part series I’m posting today and tomorrow explaining a little about travel, upcoming plans and how wise spending comes into play.

I enjoy traveling. Now, I hate flying but that’s another story. I like the research, seeing new places, hearing new accents, trying local cuisine and reliving the memories of going to a new city.

The last time I went outside of the US was when I was 15 and 16 and took 2 trips to Mexico on a church mission. While it was rewarding my trip consisted of a strict schedule, sleeping in a tent and playing with kids.

Not exactly a vacation though I’m glad I went.

Since then a lot has changed, you now need a passcard to travel internationally something I’ve never bothered to get.

Until now.

See, in college I always planned on a semester (or two) overseas. That didn’t exactly pan out. And I worked during winter and summer holidays, spent spring break in Lynchburg (exciting, right?) and generally did what I could to keep college costs low – including working hard for scholarships.

After college I moved back to California and immediately went to work. Shortly thereafter I moved to my current town to care for my grandparents. It’s been nearly 4 years now.

At this juncture in my life I want to travel. I know it’s the easiest time to pick up and go with just two dogs that will need watching. My bills are on auto pay, the house has a kick-ass alarm system and hours are flexible at work.

But what about the cost? you ask (and you always ask).

About 4 months ago now I completed a settlement from a May 2008 car accident. The accident left me in significant pain, requires bi-monthly visits to a chiropractor and has forced me to adapt the way I drive, sleep, clean, exercise, work – just about everything.

After the settlement hit my account, I promised not to blow the money on something stupid or spend it without thinking. It’s been sitting in savings earning interest ever since. The few things I spent money on after the settlement have been worth every penny (bookshelves and a camera).

I did end up having to pay back my insurance company but not the $5,000 they documented. Through negotiation I was able to save $1,100 on what I owed.

But right now I have 3 months worth of expenses in an Emergency Fund earning interest. I’m staying within my monthly budget that includes my reduced income. I’m working several part-time jobs and have plans to pay off the rest of my student loans this year.

I also have no consumer debt. By managing my money in college and in the past 4 years I am not paying for any purchases from that time. My car is paid off, the things I have I own free and clear. My mortgage is current and while we are looking at some maintenance, the house is in good repair.

On top of the 3 month EF I have the entire amount I estimate it will cost to travel in savings, including estimated lost wages since I have no vacation time to use. Which means I can pay cash.

I’ve just recently come to the conclusion that I will go, I will spend the money no matter how much it hurts and I will enjoy myself.

How did I come to this conclusion? Check in tomorrow for more. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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10 thoughts on “Travel Lust – Part 1

  1. I found your blog via WIR at MSN. You should absolutely go for it. I’m not in quite as good financial shape as you since I’ve been traveling while paying down debt – but if you have a desire to travel and you have your ducks in a row (sounds like you do!) – you should do it.

    Plus there are lots of “frugal” ways to travel too – house swapping, coupons (yes!), off season travel, working while you travel (if you are a writer – write from the road, I was on call for a consulting business while I traveled – yes I hated taking the calls – but I was taking them from a pub in Ireland – had a blast).

    I could go on and on – and I’d love to hear where you are headed – but mostly just good luck, book a ticket (on sale!) and have fun.

    BTW – I’m scared of flying and love to travel – I just say you do what you gotta do, grit my teeth & do it.

  2. See if your library has the book “Tales of a Female Nomad.” If it doesn’t, ask that it be ordered! She waited until she was in late middle age to travel. I think you should start right now.

  3. I’m so jealous! I got laid off in April and ended up going to Europe and working in Greece for the summer. Same situation,had money in savings,no permanent responsibility! I also did some traveling along the way. And let me tell you, there are tons of people to meet along the way, not only is travel, sites and cuisine great, the people amaze me, especially compared to American living. I’d definitely recommend http://www.famoushostels.com/. All the ones I stayed at were great! The best thing I’ve ever done, I came back a different person! I’m itching to go back but trying to be “responsible” and find a job! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post!

  4. kelly…? 3 months in your emergency fund??? You might want to pad that a bit. Otherwise, I’m all for travel! I spent two months alone in India and it changed my perception of the world. However, if I could do it again, I’d hook up with an agency that promoted some kind of change or service, like working with orphans or making clean water more available, anything that connects you to local culture and people.

  5. enjoy your travels! i saved for the first year i was out of college and was able to take a six-week trip to Europe and Turkey with a friend, while continuing to pay on my student loans. scrimping and saving is much less painful when you enjoy part of your savings every once and a while. traveling with accruing debt is a great feeling. in that save vein, my husband and i went on an extremely low-key honeymoon when we married last year, saved for a year, then spent a week at beach resort for our 1-year anniversary.

  6. THIS is what you are supposed to do. YOU are the kind of person who should get to go to Europe. Go, and have a brilliant time, and take many many awesome pictures!

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