When You Spend Money on Travel

February 24, 2012

The Writers' Roundup is on vacation until I reconnect with my Google Reader in late February. I need a break from RSS! If you really miss it, you can always browse old Writers' Roundups; they may be old, but they're still bursting with information.

Whenever I spend money on travel, a few people raise their eyebrows (even if those eyebrows are digital), suggesting that it’s frivolous. Or that I’m “lucky” to have that kind of disposable income.

But part of the reason I can afford to spend money on travel is because I don’t spend money on handbags. Or shoes. Or expensive dinners or fancy shows. I don’t go out drinking often, I don’t take many cabs, I don’t get my hair colored, and I rarely shop for clothes.

In other words, I can afford to travel because I’m frugal in other parts of my life. My trip is someone else’s Gucci.

(Plus, I travel cheaply. Partly because backpacking lets me see places the way locals do, and partly because that means I can afford to travel more.)

We all choose our priorities. Yes, we have unavoidable expenses, but so much of how we spend is choice — choice that’s often mistaken for obligation.

Remember: most of your obligations are actually choices.

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    9 Replies to “When You Spend Money on Travel”

    • Anne-Sophie says:

      I so agree with you. People often judge based on false beliefs. Traveling has a lot to do with living smart and most people simply don’t. And then it is a question of priorities and on what you want to spend your money on. Spending money to travel is one of the most rewarding things in my life and the investment always pays off.

    • Paula says:

      I get that a lot too. “If I had your money, then I could travel too.” It’s annoying. But like you said we all choose our priorities! I chose to travel and I made the necessary sacrifices to do so. I did things like pack my lunch everyday, and re-read all the books I already owned instead of buying new ones. Little things like these can really add up. 🙂

    • I agree 100%, it’s all about priorities! But I do think it’s possible to be a world traveler and still carry a Gucci purse. 😉

    • Shuni Vashti says:

      Your third paragraph, once again, describes me, too. Wink, wink.

      By the way, I’m interested in this part:
      “(Plus, I travel cheaply. Partly because backpacking lets me see places … )”

      Have you written about your definition of backpacking? If so, please share me the link. I would like to know what your idea of backpacking is, because in my home country there seem to be various types of travelers who call themselves a backpacker.

      Moreover, does traveling cheap certainly mean a backpacking? Or the other way round, does backpacking certainly mean to travel cheap? How cheap is cheap?

    • I can’t agree with this more. I wrote a similar post when I decided to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference. Sure it was expensive, but I don’t own anything brand name or go shopping for clothes, or take cabs (it’s all about the late night train!) But my frugality got me in trouble when I slept at home during the conference instead of splurging on a hotel. That was stressful. But yes, travel is better than Gucci, no matter what. I’d rather have experiences than a load of crap I don’t need.

    • I absolutely love this piece. Thank you for giving words to my thoughts. I’ve felt needlessly defensive when I book a trip, and really, I don’t think anyone in my circle is judging me. Travel is definitely my drug of choice, and as a single mom, I don’t do nearly as much as I’d like. But when I can, I do, and relish the photos and memories for years.

    • Jonathon says:

      My partner and I place travel as priority 1…Although we travel by cruise ship and it isn’t cheap, the experience is more valuable than is the money…Needless to say we are the black sheeps of the family, as my family does not travel. I see my family and I growing apart rapidly due to this, needless to say we are cruising over Christmas, rather than spend it in the lifeless Midwest US; the choice being a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned! I simply cannot fathom how anyone could be content in this hillbilly wonderland, although my family certainly seems quite at home…For us, we’re moving to Vegas next year…Good riddance!

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