Author Topic: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?  (Read 2109 times)

mm31

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Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« on: February 04, 2013, 12:44:39 PM »
This year, I've calculated that I'll be saving at least $32k through a combination of retirement contributions and personal savings on a net income of about $60k. My annual spending is about 15k/year, not including travel.

Is it reasonable to want to spend 4k this year on travel alone? I plan to take 3 international trips this summer, 2 of them to see family, 1 of them for fun (south america). I have an American Airlines membership so I may be able to use points to finance one of them.

Also, for those of you who travel, how do you reduce your lodging costs? For one of the trips, I am looking at $1200 for a 3-week stay. Has anyone had success using airbnb or coushsurfing for cheaper places to stay?

Khao

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 01:17:27 PM »
It seems like you're already on track to saving a lot of money this year. If traveling is what you want to do, then I don't think 4k is that much. If retirement/financial independence is your goal, you could calculate how many months this would offset your goals and see if you're ok with that compromise.

Just because you want to save a lot doesn't mean you need to cut into the activities that make you happy. If you can decrease the cost by carefully planning your trip and trying to find cheaper places to stay, go for it but in your situation I wouldn't be ashamed of using 4k to travel.

Widerhaken

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 03:04:24 PM »
+1

With a healthy savings rate/amount, don't give up moderately priced luxuries that truly add to your happiness. I think travel tends to be well worth the expense in experience gained.

Ben

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 03:53:30 PM »
Sure. You can probably calculate how much longer you will need to work instead of saving that $4k, but my guess is that it will be well worth it.

arebelspy

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2013, 05:47:32 PM »
The wife and I spent about 5k to backpack through Europe for just over two months a few summers ago.  Well worth it.

You're saving over 50% of your income?  Go for it, and don't forget to update us on how amazing it is (with pics, preferably) so we can all be jealous.
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SunshineGirl

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 06:06:08 PM »
I don't know that I'd want to take three separate international trips over the course of one summer, but in terms of can you afford it, I'd say yes! Saving as much as you do enables you to spend money on the things you value.

I know people on the early retirement extreme forum use couch-surfing for their travels, so if you don't get enough info here, you might want to post about it over there.

StetsTerhune

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2013, 06:41:39 PM »
I think it's just a matter of what's important to you. Being cheap is completely fine for me on most everything, but if I don't spend on things that matter, then I'll be unhappy. Unhappiness is never worth it to me. For me the two things that matter are travel and food. That's not to say I'm not cheap about the parts of those things that matter.

As for the specific question: My wife and I combined spend (and make) almost exactly twice what you spend, and our travel budget for this year is $9,700. So you're good in my book.

I've done couch surfing, (both hosting and staying) and highly recommend it. It definitely takes some advanced planning, especially if you're a single guy, to find host, and there's a pretty short limit on how long you can stay, but it's a great way to meet people, and it's free.

I've never done AirBnB, but I know people who swear by it, I'd definitely check it out.

My biggest recommendation though is camping. Obviously may not be your sort of thing, but I've had a great time camping in europe. My wife and I were in Europe for 15 days last summer and camped 11 out of the 15 nights.  Saved a lot of money, though we sunk most of that into food and wine.

Russ

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 07:17:32 PM »
No.
PITF

Russ

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 07:18:06 PM »
Srsly though. If it's worth the $4000 to you, then go. If not, don't. You certainly have *enough* money for it, but that shouldn't be the question.

mm31

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 12:31:46 PM »
Thanks for your advice, everyone.

I don't know that I'd want to take three separate international trips over the course of one summer, but in terms of can you afford it, I'd say yes! Saving as much as you do enables you to spend money on the things you value.

I wish I could space them out more, but my schedule is such that I can only travel extensively during the summer months (when school is out).

I am looking into camping, hostels, renting, couch-surfing and volunteering in exchange for lodging.  I was pleasantly surprised that there seems to be a lot of options out there and that with some planning I can even mix-match lodging options. Ie 5 days hiking/camping, followed by 10 days renting a place in the city. I'll keep you guys updated!

mustachecat

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 12:45:24 PM »
I've never done it, but I've heard great things about WWOOF (http://www.wwoof.org), where you trade labor for food and lodging on organic farms.

Gerard

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2013, 11:03:56 AM »
I'm not going to address the "please give me permission to spend my money" aspect of your post, as I think this forum has pretty well thrashed that one to death.

In terms of how to spend less and still have an excellent trip, you don't mention hostels or off-season university residences, either of which might save you a few bucks. Also, if you have to take these trips within a short period of time, does it maybe make sense to gang them up? Like, travel from destination 1 directly to destination 2, instead of coming home? And if you're doing one trip on points, see if you can get a free stopover at one of your other desired destinations (e.g., if you're going from NYC to Brazil, say, your airline might let you have a stopover somewhere in the south).

mm31

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Re: Can I afford to spend $4000 on travel?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 05:39:03 PM »
In terms of how to spend less and still have an excellent trip, you don't mention hostels or off-season university residences, either of which might save you a few bucks. Also, if you have to take these trips within a short period of time, does it maybe make sense to gang them up? Like, travel from destination 1 directly to destination 2, instead of coming home? And if you're doing one trip on points, see if you can get a free stopover at one of your other desired destinations (e.g., if you're going from NYC to Brazil, say, your airline might let you have a stopover somewhere in the south).

I've been looking at hostels, the difference in price doesn't seem to be that huge between them and renting an apartment.

I wish I could group my trips more, but I'm not a US citizen so I need to apply for visas to be able to travel to these places. My visa will originate from the US so I will need to be coming from US soil to be permitted entry.