On Travel and Money

budget travel

^ Versailles, France 2013

Jordan and I both place a high value on travel and adventure: far away getaways, smaller weekend trips and various local excursions. Growing up, the trips my parents took us kids centered around visiting family; we always stayed state-side. The family trips were fun but my longing to visit places around the world has been strong from a very young age. Thankfully, I married a man who shares those desires! We want to see the world while being wise with our time and money.

During this early stage of our marriage, Jordan and I have chosen travel over what others might view as more normal steps for our age (i.e. purchasing a house), but we don’t regret our adventures one bit. We’ve seen lots of great things and hung out with some even better people. As an aside, we’ve been granted good health and seven years of marriage without children, which has given us more flexibility with our money. Travel requires a lot of planning and saving and we’ve learned a few things along the way.

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^ Mount Adams, Ohio, 2013

Pink House in London

^ London, England 2013

When we went to Europe in 2013, we began saving more than a year in advance. We also didn’t go on a large vacation while saving. I have no problem spending money on travel, but it still takes dedication, time, and potential sacrifices to keep on budget. For instance, we often pass on extra items at museums or attractions (opting for free admission access), eat at budget friendly restaurants/grocery shop, forgo taxis and public transportation for walking, and stay with friends or family when appropriate.

All those little things add up to big savings!

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^ Laguna Beach, 2009

I often hear people express the desire to travel, but most never seem to turn their dreams to reality. How does someone get over the financial hurdle? My biggest piece of advice is to create a budget within your budget for discretionary money. Our paychecks fluctuate, so we don’t budget to zero each month. Once our regular bills and savings are taken care of, we assess any remaining money and set aside a certain amount for vacation.

At the beginning of this year, we mapped out a tentative budget outline for Canada: gas, food, outings, etc. This gave us purpose towards saving and lessened frivolous expenses. Also, I went on a two month shopping freeze in January and February.

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^ NYC, NY 2014

If you have a strong desire to visit Paris, Fiji or Australia, you can totally do it! Don’t let the price tag of a plane ticket discourage you. Even if it would have taken five years to save for our trip to Europe, I would have gladly done it. I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time.

It’s worth the sacrifice.

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^ Clovis, NM 2014

How do you budget for travel? Share your tips in the comment section!

29 thoughts on “On Travel and Money”

  1. I really appreciate this detailed piece on ways to save money when travelling and tips to plan ahead. I used to have a strong desire for travelling, but lately not so much. I do really, really want to do missions abroad in the future, so there is a chance I will get to see some new places. I am getting married next year and neither my fiancé nor myself have ever left the country. Our honeymoon will very well be our first time. I’m excited to visit the (cheapest place) where the water is clear. I actually don’t have any other preferences as far as attractions. Do you have any recommendations? Also- (I apologize if this is way too personal) but do you plan to have children? We’ve considered waiting a few years to do that as well, God willing. Well, this was an awesome post, you have a ton of wisdom on this subject!

    1. We went on a cruise for our honeymoon. We stopped in the Bahamas which was the first time I “left” the country. I don’t know a ton about specific islands, but usually you’ll want to do a resort. We’ve been trying for over 2 years to get pregnant (and have moved into the testing phase). The 7 years was not our original plan, but we are embracing this extra time as a two-some.

  2. Wow, you guys have seen so many beautiful places in your seven years! I could not agree with you more. Travel is absolutely possible if you’re willing to make sacrifices and plan for it, both in advance and while you’re there. Travel doesn’t have to be luxurious to be extravagant and adventurous. 🙂 Can’t wait to check out your post on Versailles!

  3. beautiful photos- mt. adams holds a special place in my heart and i LOVE the photo you took- amazing. love traveling and this post. i nanny and have a few side businesses that help afford and save for trips!

  4. Yes to traveling! We’ve done the exact same thing in our marriage – wanting to travel a lot before having children. I’m so glad I found a husband who has wanted to see the world as much as I have!

  5. Amen to everything!!! Travel often falls in the category of a glamorous lifestyle, but that is so untrue. Every expenditure in our lives– whether it’s education, owning a home, owning a car– is a conscious choice we make. Travel is a priority for us too!

    1. You are right, Daisy. I find it amusing when I hear someone say that can’t afford to travel but they just bought a new TV. We still have our original TV…over 7 years old!

  6. I loved this post. I have always valued travel, more than most other material possessions. I feel so blessed that my husband enjoys traveling as well and God has blessed us with the opportunities to do just that. Although my husband loves to travel, he’s more along for the ride. He works hard and makes the money, I figure out where we want to go and he budgets to make it happen. haha. We run a zero based budget and when there is a trip to save for, I do a rough trip budget and do all the planning (find plane tickets, place to stay etc…) which I love and he figures out how much we need to save each month.
    People who want to travel, I always tell them that you can make it happen as long as it’s a priority. On top of my husband’s job, he goes to Law school part time at night. It would seem we would have no time or money for that, but in our 10 years together, we have been to Guatemala, Paris, Fiji (honeymoon), Belize, Laguna Beach, Chicago, moved to NYC…and countless other stateside excursions. I’ve never believed in the ‘This is a once in a life time trip”, because if I loved it and I want to go back, I can make that happen….that is, God willing we are financially able and healthy.
    I would take photos and memories from a trip than extra stuff any day.
    Oh, and we always do it as cheap as we can. 🙂
    Can’t wait to see where you go next!

    http://www.laviedehart.blogspot.com

    1. That is so amazing! Fiji must have been incredible. Jordan and I went into our Honeymoon knowing that it wasn’t going to be our best vacation ever (it always seemed so sad when couples constantly talked about their honeymoon as it all went downhill from there).

  7. Such beautiful pictures! Kyle and I have not traveled much together (yet) but I love that you have been intentional about choosing to save for it and I think that’s something we should absolutely consider. This was such a great post!

  8. Oh gosh. Those places look like a dream!! My boyfriend and I are going to New York City in 3 weeks and I could not be more excited. (We are from Wisconsin). I have never been to the east side of the country before!! How I budgeted this (will be approximately a $900 trip) was pulling $80 out of each paycheck for a few weeks…it added up quickly! I had to majorly cut down on spending- mostly going out to eat and shopping (my weaknesses).

  9. I am so grateful we traveled and wouldn’t trade the experiences for anything. Like you said you remember those moments but also I think it makes you a more rounded person to have seen outside your little bubble. Oh jesh now I want to go backpacking again! once the bug bites it doesn’t seem to go away. Time to start our budgeting

  10. I love this post! My husband and I value trips over possession so for almost every holiday and birthday we just take each other on trips over buying gifts. For us it is also more important to have experiences. I actually almost named my blog Experience over Substance, but everyone else voted for A Modern Girl’s Travels. Perhapse I’ll be able to use the title one day!

    1. My husband really enjoys giving gifts so I’ve had to learn to allow him that joy. BUT more often we have gotten each other tickets to concerts/plane tickets as those gifts. 😉

  11. One of my tricks comes in handy whenever I’m shopping and see something pretty (but useless) that I want to buy. I just reimagine what that flowy trench coat or picture frame could equate to in terms of travel. That 80-dollar trench = one night in an AirBnB room. A picture frame = some street food in Barcelona.

    If you have realized and believe in how much more valuable experiences are over physical items, then this trick legitimately works.

    1. That really is a great tip especially for random impulse items. My husband loves buying vinyl and while maybe I don’t get the same pleasure as he does we all have our things and that is okay!

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