6 Financial Decisions we made to Achieve Long-Term Travel
I had a slight panic attack before having kids – believing they would be the end of my travel dreams. My husband and I had been striving to make roaming the globe a reality, but due to American student loans and the Australian currency exchange rate…we were in a deep, deep hole.
By the time our finances had become neutral – we had kids. Plane tickets skyrocket over the age of two (although to be honest, I don’t mind having a seat to myself on a 14 hour flight). And because I’m a mum who finds joy in feeding my kids fruit and veg – we don’t have the luxury of surviving off crackers and ketchup.
What follows is my list of 6 financial decisions we made, or actions we took (or should have taken) to put us into the position we now find ourselves – our 6 month (or more) journey across the globe is about to begin…kids and all.
This is number one on purpose. It is the foundation for why we can do this trip. We nearly bought a house a few years ago and for more reasons than travel, I’m glad we didn’t. For us, buying a house would have meant a huge reduction in the standard of living we were seeking to achieve. I still remember the moment Matt and I realised we didn’t have to buy a house and the relief that nearly overwhelmed us. That’s not to say if you own a house forget about travel – it just means you have more decisions to make.
Buy a cheaper car:
The Prado was nice. It had a thermometer that satisfied my addiction to knowing the weather (the rain radar is one of my favourite apps). But opulence, for us, is overrated. I’d much rather be getting ready to buy and renovate a cheap van into a camper in America than driving around familiar streets in my fancy car calling out the temperature to startled pedestrians. And so we bought a car half the price and tucked a big chunk of dosh into our savings.
Skimp on the extras:
Lucky for us, we aren’t big spenders. We do like to have a meal out now and then and grab a really good cup of coffee, but the only reason I have an iPhone is because it was given to me by a wonderfully generous friend. Figure out what really matters to you and spend a little bit extra on that – put the rest into savings.
If you’ve got a big chunk of savings already and you won’t need it for at least 6 months, you can get a better interest rate. We had a look at this, but I was lazy making it happen…it would have given us a few extra thousand dollars by the time we were ready to go.
Sell a loved one:
By loved one, I mean our boat…and by our boat, I mean my husband’s boat. He frequently furnishes us with the best tasting reef fish available (this saves money at the grocery store too). But he can’t use it while we are traveling and so it had to go (selling it was his idea…I wouldn’t have dared suggest it).
Research, research, research:
Those of us who ravenously devour stationary catalogues might find this part more fulfilling, and by all means, go on an investigative frenzy – Google has never been so helpful. Deals on flights, hotels, cars and much more abound for the research savvy. I found out too late that when I booked my flight on Expedia I could have gotten a discount on the hotel I had already booked. Car rentals can be cheaper if you book from an outlet NOT at the airport. And if an airline has just opened up a new route, you can almost guarantee a special.
It’s not everyones cup of tea. But for those who have a deep seated craving for exploration – these are just a few things that might help fulfil your dreams. And remember that any dream worth having usually involves hard work and a whole lot of patience.