Author Topic: Travel vs earlier FIRE  (Read 6576 times)

TribecksMustache

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Travel vs earlier FIRE
« on: March 12, 2018, 01:05:16 PM »
I'm 24, single, and currently on track to FIRE by 40. My dilemma is that I love international travel and want to be able to take long trips (2+ weeks) every year. Obviously even as a budget backpacker this will affect my FIRE date which is dependent on all of my savings, about 50% of pretax income, going towards retirement.

I'm torn between not wanting to waste my youth in a cubicle and wanting to retire ASAP. I don't have any other long-term financial goals like buying a house (see: wanderlust) or having kids so I feel like a bit of both should be feasible. I just can't shake the feeling that every hundred dollars spent is more time working. Also, shorter trips aren't a good compromise because I don't want to spend 2 days flying for only 3 or 4 days on-site.

Any advice on prioritizing or balance is appreciated.

FatFI2025

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 01:23:53 PM »
You need to do some international travel while you're young -- if you don't you will regret it. MMM would say to be satisfied with local adventures as much as possible, but don't deny things that bring you actual joy.

I was able to work overseas for a little while and traveled all around Asia for a couple years. Had to be really forceful to make the jump, but once I did, I saw that that there are tons of expats with big multi-national corps. What's your current occupation?
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 01:26:11 PM by RyaninLA »

rubybeth

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2018, 01:37:01 PM »
Don't put off traveling if that's what you want to do. Financial freedom isn't just about quitting full time work, it's about being able to do the things you care about and make memories that will last a lifetime. Seriously, if trips make you happy, find ways to do them economically--backpack, hostels, travel hacking with credit cards, stay with friends (if you don't have international friends, make some!), maybe even volunteer somewhere for free lodging, etc.

I have never regretted spending money on travel.

peeps_be_peeping

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2018, 01:49:43 PM »
I had and have a similar dilemma. I want to FIRE partly to travel more, but in order to stay sane while working I need to be able to go on vacation. I have taken one three to four week international vacation pretty much every year that I have worked. I also took 18 months off in between jobs to travel in 2016-2017. That period of "pre-retirement" delayed me by about $100k from my FIRE goal. But I'm okay with that because I have had so many amazing travel experiences. I have visited 45 countries on this Earth, and I'll tick off another 2 countries later this month on my annual vacation. I am 39 and aim to FIRE by 50 (if not sooner) after careering for 18 years. I have not regretted any trip I have ever taken.

Suze456

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2018, 02:21:54 PM »
Zero regrets about all the money I spent travelling!  Definitely wouldn't be putting it off for 16 years just because of money.

one piece at a time

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2018, 02:36:04 PM »
You need to do some international travel while you're young -- if you don't you will regret it. MMM would say to be satisfied with local adventures as much as possible, but don't deny things that bring you actual joy.

I was able to work overseas for a little while and traveled all around Asia for a couple years. Had to be really forceful to make the jump, but once I did, I saw that that there are tons of expats with big multi-national corps. What's your current occupation?

Combining work and travel is the way to go if you want to visit places properly (meet locals, pick up the vibe of the place etc). Most people don't have the wunderlust so you have a natural advantage in wanting to roam. Depending on your other skills, this should make you quite attractive for international postings.

TribecksMustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2018, 02:39:43 PM »
You need to do some international travel while you're young -- if you don't you will regret it. MMM would say to be satisfied with local adventures as much as possible, but don't deny things that bring you actual joy.

I was able to work overseas for a little while and traveled all around Asia for a couple years. Had to be really forceful to make the jump, but once I did, I saw that that there are tons of expats with big multi-national corps. What's your current occupation?

I'm a transportation analyst for a distributor. When I eventually get to more project-based work, I think I should be able to find something overseas especially with my middling German skills. But I actually took my first job because it was a company with a strong German presence. Even after a year there weren't any prospects and the original position sucked so I wouldn't do that again unless I was ok with the original position indefinitely.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2018, 02:47:09 PM »
I traveled and it was spectacular. You also don't have to take a year off, you can take a month/s everytime you change jobs, stuff like that and if you travel cheap are still chugging towards your goals.

Later with a spouse and kids and potentially other family responsibilities its not so easy to take the time.

 I am also of the opinion that by getting closeish to fire, I had the balls to demand what I wanted from work and now that I like what I do so much more, early retirement as its own goal isn't really that important to me.

honeybbq

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2018, 04:24:29 PM »
The best time to travel is when you are young. Even if you plan to FIRE early, sometimes life (kids, illness, etc) gets in the way. You won't regret traveling now, even if you have to delay FIRE a few years.

Cali

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2018, 04:34:01 PM »
Travel now. I don’t know anyone who regrets travel, if they regret anything it’s traveling inefficiently. Find a buddy to split expenses, use Airbnb and VRBO, use credit card points for airfare, go during off season or fare sales.  You can do great trips for a reasonable amount of money and it will keep you happy and sane before FIRE.

FireHiker

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2018, 05:00:50 PM »
Travel, but travel wisely and continue to save aggressively for FIRE. I have never, ever regretted anything I've spent on travel! It is harder now because we have kids, but we still prioritize our travel. We do a lot of fare sale hunting, points optimization, etc to keep it as affordable as possible.

sparkytheop

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2018, 05:16:42 PM »
I'm another one who loves to travel.  I like some balance in my life, and giving up travel to do nothing but work and save money would throw off that balance.  All work and no play... 
So, save like mad, but also save some for travel and taking trips you enjoy now.  The future is too unknown to put all of life's joys on hold.

Eric

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2018, 07:10:35 PM »
Can you combine them?  Figure out a way to work remotely, and then travel as a digital nomad working as you go.  If not, then I vote travel.  It doesn't have to be that expensive.

boarder42

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2018, 07:17:05 PM »
Travel it's free see my journal below. Travel hacking with credit cards.

limeandpepper

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2018, 07:28:10 PM »
Check out this thread, some of us are doing serial mini-retirements. In the last 5 years my partner and I have taken a 10-day trip, a 1-month trip and two 5-month trips. We still have a healthy amount of savings/investments and own an apartment.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/post-fire/early-retirement-vs-serial-mini-retirements/

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2018, 07:43:55 PM »
I'm with @boarder42

Make travel hacking a hobby.

My SO and I have been at it for 3 years now and have flown and stayed to/at awesome places for free or close to free.

You could easily churn 3-4 cards a year without having to manufacture any spending and in turn use those points/miles to fund some sweet trips, heck you might travel MORE than you do now AND have a higher savings rate.

rubybeth

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2018, 07:51:23 AM »
One other thought--while you're away traveling, could you rent out your living space for someone else? If you're gone for 2-3 weeks and live in a desirable area, that could work well.

FatFI2025

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2018, 08:03:01 AM »
I'm a transportation analyst for a distributor. When I eventually get to more project-based work, I think I should be able to find something overseas especially with my middling German skills. But I actually took my first job because it was a company with a strong German presence. Even after a year there weren't any prospects and the original position sucked so I wouldn't do that again unless I was ok with the original position indefinitely.

If I were you I would seriously consider working for an oil company if you're not ethically opposed. I did it in tech consulting. Apply for a slew of overseas position and take the first decent offer. Once you breakthrough to the expat side -- experience working overseas -- you can become pickier. Your network will grow and you'll be able to find opportunities in different places. This way you can make a huge amount of money while traveling all the time. Granted with a full time job you're just going on shorter trips.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 08:05:54 AM by RyaninLA »

PoutineLover

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2018, 08:06:17 AM »
I feel similarly, and I've decided that putting off travel for some indefinite future date that may not ever come is not worth it to me. I don't want to end up with a huge stache but not have those life experiences that I value. I don't think you should put all your travel on a credit card and go wherever, whenever you want, but make it a budget item, save up for those big trips and do your best to make it as cost effective as possible while still enjoying the experience. Life is too short to not do the things that make you feel alive. But at the same time, adopt a "travel mindset" at home as well. Go do new things, explore the area, make regular life an adventure as well so you aren't just counting the days until you get away again.

MrGville

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2018, 08:31:25 AM »
I'm in a similar situation as the OP.  In my mid 20s, hoping to FIRE around 40, but also wanting to go on international trips.  I've been travel hacking to help fund my vacations.  I would suggest investigating travel rewards credit cards if you havent already.

Fishindude

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2018, 09:08:50 AM »
Travel and enjoy yourself now and retire a little later in life.   
The standard US retirement age for about as long as I can remember has been 65.   Anything ahead of that is early retirement.
To retire at 40 you will need to somehow pay for healthcare for 25 years, plus a large enough nest egg to live on for at least 45-50 years.   That will take a large pile of cash invested wisely.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2018, 09:36:17 AM »
Traveling is the best and doing it when you’re young and single is even better. Try to not get too caught up with limitations like, it has to be for 2 weeks only, you need flexibility. I used to do quick trips from east coast US to Europe. My favorite thing was bookending long weekend holidays. I’d always go from Weds to Weds—best/cheapest days to fly. And fly during off-peak times. I’d work a half or 3/4 day on Weds then fly out.  Then, if you want to make it really cheap, sign up with couchsurf dot org and you can stay for free with really cool people. If you plan it right, you could probably do this 3x a year and get 3 weeks of traveling for what you’d normally do as two. I developed an art of maximizing vacation leave with paid leave. If you plan and strategize you don’t have to sacrifice your FIRE plans. Keep a defined budget for travel. For presents from family ask for money or things that contribute to your travel fund. Use Kayak dot com to find good deals and times to fly. Sign up with TripAdvisor and ask questions there and read their advice on places you want to visit. Also, try to learn a foreign language or two, even if just enough to great people and be polite. Enjoy!

coachfrigo

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2018, 11:36:45 AM »
But at the same time, adopt a "travel mindset" at home as well. Go do new things, explore the area, make regular life an adventure as well so you aren't just counting the days until you get away again.
This is my short term goal. Any tips on doing this effectively?

boarder42

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2018, 11:40:33 AM »
But at the same time, adopt a "travel mindset" at home as well. Go do new things, explore the area, make regular life an adventure as well so you aren't just counting the days until you get away again.
This is my short term goal. Any tips on doing this effectively?

if you have a bank of america card - first weekend of every month you get in free to museums. - two in my town are free.  if you dont have the card its pretty easy to get a credit card - i'd get the preferred rewards card that has 500 bucks cash back after 3k spend plus free global entry plus free 100 bucks a year in airline incidentals.

Jouer

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2018, 11:42:51 AM »
Can you compromise and do international travel every 2 to 3 years and road trip the other years. It seems to me that anyone who can afford to travel internationally every year must be rich. i.e. financially independent.

EDIT: or extreme travel hacking
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 11:45:48 AM by Jouer »

TribecksMustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2018, 11:54:37 AM »
I'm a transportation analyst for a distributor. When I eventually get to more project-based work, I think I should be able to find something overseas especially with my middling German skills. But I actually took my first job because it was a company with a strong German presence. Even after a year there weren't any prospects and the original position sucked so I wouldn't do that again unless I was ok with the original position indefinitely.

If I were you I would seriously consider working for an oil company if you're not ethically opposed. I did it in tech consulting. Apply for a slew of overseas position and take the first decent offer. Once you breakthrough to the expat side -- experience working overseas -- you can become pickier. Your network will grow and you'll be able to find opportunities in different places. This way you can make a huge amount of money while traveling all the time. Granted with a full time job you're just going on shorter trips.

Why oil specifically?

Eric

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2018, 12:19:18 PM »
Can you compromise and do international travel every 2 to 3 years and road trip the other years. It seems to me that anyone who can afford to travel internationally every year must be rich. i.e. financially independent.

EDIT: or extreme travel hacking

Even without travel hacking, you can do a 2 week international trip for less than $2k.  If you think you need to be rich to travel, I think you might be doing it wrong.  Stay away from cruise ships, peak season, and don't sit down at a nice restaurant for every meal and you're most of the way there.  Forgo the fancy hotel, shop at grocery stores and/or eat street food, take local transport instead of taxis, and you've got it.

TribecksMustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2018, 12:22:12 PM »
Can you compromise and do international travel every 2 to 3 years and road trip the other years. It seems to me that anyone who can afford to travel internationally every year must be rich. i.e. financially independent.

EDIT: or extreme travel hacking

I'm not currently going intl every year, but I want to be. (I'm definitely not FI yet, net worth is still <50k.) But all of my non-rent expenses currently go on a miles card (Delta) so between that and the fact that I'm at a savings rate of about 50%, I could easily go somewhere at least once a year. The question is if I'm willing to sacrifice my savings. I don't have the energy or focus for serious travel hacking.

International travel is big for me because I want to experience other cultures and places. I certainly will continue to travel the states in the meantime but it's just not as fulfilling and there aren't as many exciting/historical places that I haven't been yet.

TribecksMustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2018, 12:26:50 PM »
Can you compromise and do international travel every 2 to 3 years and road trip the other years. It seems to me that anyone who can afford to travel internationally every year must be rich. i.e. financially independent.

EDIT: or extreme travel hacking

Even without travel hacking, you can do a 2 week international trip for less than $2k.  If you think you need to be rich to travel, I think you might be doing it wrong.  Stay away from cruise ships, peak season, and don't sit down at a nice restaurant for every meal and you're most of the way there.  Forgo the fancy hotel, shop at grocery stores and/or eat street food, take local transport instead of taxis, and you've got it.

Agreed. This plus hitting less touristy locations is how I plan to make it work.

kei te pai

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2018, 12:42:27 PM »
Have you considered working for an aid agency or UN? Transport and logistics are the vital, less visible parts of emergency relief. Many large agencies pay moderately well as they want skilled experienced staff who will sign up more than once. You get to see more than the average traveller, and often get leave periods where you can go and hang out somewhere on a beach!

boarder42

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2018, 12:42:59 PM »
Seriously look into travel hacking - The credit card you have is netting you less return when used for everyday expenses than a gas specific and grocery specific card would so you're in a sense "tricking" yourself into thinking youre saving on a trip when its actually more expensive b/c delta points arent that valuable when compared to the cash you could get back. 

You sign up for miles cards to get the bonuses rinse and repeat. 

TribecksMustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2018, 12:54:55 PM »
Seriously look into travel hacking - The credit card you have is netting you less return when used for everyday expenses than a gas specific and grocery specific card would so you're in a sense "tricking" yourself into thinking youre saving on a trip when its actually more expensive b/c delta points arent that valuable when compared to the cash you could get back. 

You sign up for miles cards to get the bonuses rinse and repeat.

I can't commit to keeping up with churning credit cards, but I would definitely consider changing the one I have. I assumed that being in a Delta-advantaged city and having low expenses in those specific categories made the Delta card a good idea. Monthly I spend <$90 on gas and <$150 on groceries. Any suggestions for a different card based on that?

boarder42

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2018, 01:09:58 PM »
Seriously look into travel hacking - The credit card you have is netting you less return when used for everyday expenses than a gas specific and grocery specific card would so you're in a sense "tricking" yourself into thinking youre saving on a trip when its actually more expensive b/c delta points arent that valuable when compared to the cash you could get back. 

You sign up for miles cards to get the bonuses rinse and repeat.

I can't commit to keeping up with churning credit cards, but I would definitely consider changing the one I have. I assumed that being in a Delta-advantaged city and having low expenses in those specific categories made the Delta card a good idea. Monthly I spend <$90 on gas and <$150 on groceries. Any suggestions for a different card based on that?

best gas card for non station specific is the BofA rewards card linked to a BofA account best grocery card is the Amex blue card still i belive - the blue preferred is better but you dont spend enough to offset the annual fee there. 

I dont understand why you couldnt churn cards - we're talking about thousands of dollars in free travel its probably one of the second highest per hour commitment side hustles there is outside of selling tradelines.   That statement does not make sense to me -

Jouer

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2018, 01:59:39 PM »
Can you compromise and do international travel every 2 to 3 years and road trip the other years. It seems to me that anyone who can afford to travel internationally every year must be rich. i.e. financially independent.

EDIT: or extreme travel hacking

Even without travel hacking, you can do a 2 week international trip for less than $2k.  If you think you need to be rich to travel, I think you might be doing it wrong.  Stay away from cruise ships, peak season, and don't sit down at a nice restaurant for every meal and you're most of the way there.  Forgo the fancy hotel, shop at grocery stores and/or eat street food, take local transport instead of taxis, and you've got it.

Sorry, thought we were on MMM forums. Going to Europe every year is pretty extravagant, even if done cheaply than most.


Eric

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2018, 02:35:59 PM »
Can you compromise and do international travel every 2 to 3 years and road trip the other years. It seems to me that anyone who can afford to travel internationally every year must be rich. i.e. financially independent.

EDIT: or extreme travel hacking

Even without travel hacking, you can do a 2 week international trip for less than $2k.  If you think you need to be rich to travel, I think you might be doing it wrong.  Stay away from cruise ships, peak season, and don't sit down at a nice restaurant for every meal and you're most of the way there.  Forgo the fancy hotel, shop at grocery stores and/or eat street food, take local transport instead of taxis, and you've got it.

Sorry, thought we were on MMM forums. Going to Europe every year is pretty extravagant, even if done cheaply than most.

Oh, maybe you didn't get the memo.  Living a Mustachian lifestyle is absolutely extravagant.  That's the whole point!  It just doesn't cost that much.  Kind of like travel.  It's a shitload of fun, and not very expensive when done correctly.

itchyfeet

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2018, 09:26:48 PM »
+1 for travel.

We travelled plenty when we were young, taking 2 x 3month breaks between jobs, plus travelling overseas most years.

However, the itch still wasn’t fully scratched, so I took a job in the Middle East. Being based in Dubai rather than Australia makes it so much easier to see Europe, Central Asia and Africa. We have been here for 3 years so far and been to so many cool places we might never have got to visit from Australia.

I think I have now been to around 70 countries in total, and honestly if we never travelled again I would be satisfied with all we have seen and done.... but that’s not the plan. We will FIRE at least temporarily at the end of this year and spend 6-9 months travelling next year (aged 46 & 40)

After that we have no idea what we’ll do. There is currently some talk in our home about taking another expat gig after our travelling to live and work somewhere else in the world. We really don’t know.

TribecksMustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2018, 07:56:07 AM »
Seriously look into travel hacking - The credit card you have is netting you less return when used for everyday expenses than a gas specific and grocery specific card would so you're in a sense "tricking" yourself into thinking youre saving on a trip when its actually more expensive b/c delta points arent that valuable when compared to the cash you could get back. 

You sign up for miles cards to get the bonuses rinse and repeat.

I can't commit to keeping up with churning credit cards, but I would definitely consider changing the one I have. I assumed that being in a Delta-advantaged city and having low expenses in those specific categories made the Delta card a good idea. Monthly I spend <$90 on gas and <$150 on groceries. Any suggestions for a different card based on that?

best gas card for non station specific is the BofA rewards card linked to a BofA account best grocery card is the Amex blue card still i belive - the blue preferred is better but you dont spend enough to offset the annual fee there. 

I dont understand why you couldnt churn cards - we're talking about thousands of dollars in free travel its probably one of the second highest per hour commitment side hustles there is outside of selling tradelines.   That statement does not make sense to me -

That's the thing though, it is a side hustle. I'm just not hardcore enough that I'm willing to spend my free time on more work. Even as time-efficient as card churning is, my understanding is that I'd need to be applying for and cancelling cards at least every 3 months. That also means updating all places where the card is saved (paypal, bill pay, etc). I'd also need to carefully track my expenses to ensure I meet any minimums. Between the work itself and the worry/paranoia/stress of having missed something, it just doesn't meet my cost-benefit threshold.

boarder42

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2018, 10:22:53 AM »
Seriously look into travel hacking - The credit card you have is netting you less return when used for everyday expenses than a gas specific and grocery specific card would so you're in a sense "tricking" yourself into thinking youre saving on a trip when its actually more expensive b/c delta points arent that valuable when compared to the cash you could get back. 

You sign up for miles cards to get the bonuses rinse and repeat.

I can't commit to keeping up with churning credit cards, but I would definitely consider changing the one I have. I assumed that being in a Delta-advantaged city and having low expenses in those specific categories made the Delta card a good idea. Monthly I spend <$90 on gas and <$150 on groceries. Any suggestions for a different card based on that?

best gas card for non station specific is the BofA rewards card linked to a BofA account best grocery card is the Amex blue card still i belive - the blue preferred is better but you dont spend enough to offset the annual fee there. 

I dont understand why you couldnt churn cards - we're talking about thousands of dollars in free travel its probably one of the second highest per hour commitment side hustles there is outside of selling tradelines.   That statement does not make sense to me -

That's the thing though, it is a side hustle. I'm just not hardcore enough that I'm willing to spend my free time on more work. Even as time-efficient as card churning is, my understanding is that I'd need to be applying for and cancelling cards at least every 3 months. That also means updating all places where the card is saved (paypal, bill pay, etc). I'd also need to carefully track my expenses to ensure I meet any minimums. Between the work itself and the worry/paranoia/stress of having missed something, it just doesn't meet my cost-benefit threshold.

so how much do you make an hour at your job? also you dont have to change the location and move spend over there are ways around that- this is the easiest way to meet both of your goals with almost no effort - meanwhile a 2-3k trip probably takes you 100 hours of work minimum pre tax to accomplish.  vs 2-3 hours of time to get it for free. 

phred

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #38 on: March 15, 2018, 11:35:53 AM »
Your question's wording tells me you've already answered your own question.  Using your money for travel now will definitely postpone FIRE because you lose all the advantages of compounding. 
That said, travel while young is an important learning experience; we all learn what a-holes we can be.  The answer then is paid traveling.  There is teaching English while overseas, working on small farms (WOOFING), being a tour group liaison with travel groups (this is not tour guide).  My Mom did the latter an had a great time; flying to Russia in a cargo plane was an experience.
When I was (much) younger, I used to travel with AYH bicycle touring groups as assistant leader.  That way I got to tour New England without spending any money.  Ditto for parts of Europe.
If you travel as a "tourist" -- even cheaply -- you are just a customer.  If you actually work your way, then you can, if only briefly, embrace another culture so you can then compare it with your own.

Brother Esau

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2018, 11:44:58 AM »
Go!! My DW and I have factored 1 or 2 European vacations each year into our FIRE plans. Do it now so you don't regret it later.

TribecksMustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #40 on: March 15, 2018, 11:47:37 AM »

I can't commit to keeping up with churning credit cards, but I would definitely consider changing the one I have. I assumed that being in a Delta-advantaged city and having low expenses in those specific categories made the Delta card a good idea. Monthly I spend <$90 on gas and <$150 on groceries. Any suggestions for a different card based on that?

best gas card for non station specific is the BofA rewards card linked to a BofA account best grocery card is the Amex blue card still i belive - the blue preferred is better but you dont spend enough to offset the annual fee there. 

I dont understand why you couldnt churn cards - we're talking about thousands of dollars in free travel its probably one of the second highest per hour commitment side hustles there is outside of selling tradelines.   That statement does not make sense to me -

That's the thing though, it is a side hustle. I'm just not hardcore enough that I'm willing to spend my free time on more work. Even as time-efficient as card churning is, my understanding is that I'd need to be applying for and cancelling cards at least every 3 months. That also means updating all places where the card is saved (paypal, bill pay, etc). I'd also need to carefully track my expenses to ensure I meet any minimums. Between the work itself and the worry/paranoia/stress of having missed something, it just doesn't meet my cost-benefit threshold.

so how much do you make an hour at your job? also you dont have to change the location and move spend over there are ways around that- this is the easiest way to meet both of your goals with almost no effort - meanwhile a 2-3k trip probably takes you 100 hours of work minimum pre tax to accomplish.  vs 2-3 hours of time to get it for free.

You're framing it like a tradeoff, but it's not. I don't get to take those 100 hours of work off because I did 3 hours of card work. It's not 100 vs 3, it's 3hrs of work vs 3hrs of actual hobbies or must-do errands.

TribecksMustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #41 on: March 15, 2018, 11:49:13 AM »
Your question's wording tells me you've already answered your own question.  Using your money for travel now will definitely postpone FIRE because you lose all the advantages of compounding. 
That said, travel while young is an important learning experience; we all learn what a-holes we can be.  The answer then is paid traveling.  There is teaching English while overseas, working on small farms (WOOFING), being a tour group liaison with travel groups (this is not tour guide).  My Mom did the latter an had a great time; flying to Russia in a cargo plane was an experience.
When I was (much) younger, I used to travel with AYH bicycle touring groups as assistant leader.  That way I got to tour New England without spending any money.  Ditto for parts of Europe.
If you travel as a "tourist" -- even cheaply -- you are just a customer.  If you actually work your way, then you can, if only briefly, embrace another culture so you can then compare it with your own.

Tour group liaison sounds interesting. Can you explain more about what that is?

Hirondelle

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #42 on: March 15, 2018, 12:40:48 PM »
My first question when reading your original post/answers is what are you looking for in your travels?

You mention you want to experience different cultures, see historic sites and do this for 2+ weeks a year. What do you expect a trip like this to cost and how much would your SR drop?

You don't have to go full blown into travel hacking, but getting your main flight using CC rewards each year would be a great drop in costs. The rest of the trip can cost next to nothing and is most likely cheaper than US travel, especially if you're truly going backpacker style and start your trips in low cost countries.

Also, you don't NEED an international trip each year to experience different cultures or see new places. Honestly, most of my cultural interaction happens right in my office, which consists of 5 nationalities. When traveling, most people just meet other tourist (who can be from a different cultural background!) and don't interact with locals as much. A 2 week trip isn't gonna show you much culture-wise unless you limit yourself to 1-2 cities and actively mingle. Like other people have mentioned, working abroad IS an excellent way to experience cultures and give yourself the time to explore your new home and its wider surroundings.


TribecksMustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #43 on: March 15, 2018, 01:27:32 PM »
My first question when reading your original post/answers is what are you looking for in your travels?

You mention you want to experience different cultures, see historic sites and do this for 2+ weeks a year. What do you expect a trip like this to cost and how much would your SR drop?

You don't have to go full blown into travel hacking, but getting your main flight using CC rewards each year would be a great drop in costs. The rest of the trip can cost next to nothing and is most likely cheaper than US travel, especially if you're truly going backpacker style and start your trips in low cost countries.

Also, you don't NEED an international trip each year to experience different cultures or see new places. Honestly, most of my cultural interaction happens right in my office, which consists of 5 nationalities. When traveling, most people just meet other tourist (who can be from a different cultural background!) and don't interact with locals as much. A 2 week trip isn't gonna show you much culture-wise unless you limit yourself to 1-2 cities and actively mingle. Like other people have mentioned, working abroad IS an excellent way to experience cultures and give yourself the time to explore your new home and its wider surroundings.

I'm jealous of your diverse workplace. My office is definitely not the same.

As an example trip, this summer I'm going to Dublin/London/Paris for 2 weeks. I used my Delta points from a year of use to completely pay for the int'l airfare. Other than that it looks like I'll be spending about $1,000 on top of my normal monthly travel budget. And honestly, it would be less but this is a celebratory trip with a friend so I'm doing things for her that I normally wouldn't do (i.e. AirBnB vs hostel, budgeting for nicer restaurants/drinks). Going forward, I do plan to keep it to 1 week/city at minimum. I don't know off the top of my head how much $1000 costs me down the road.

Do you have suggestions for "mingling"?

Hirondelle

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #44 on: March 15, 2018, 01:50:02 PM »
My first question when reading your original post/answers is what are you looking for in your travels?

You mention you want to experience different cultures, see historic sites and do this for 2+ weeks a year. What do you expect a trip like this to cost and how much would your SR drop?

You don't have to go full blown into travel hacking, but getting your main flight using CC rewards each year would be a great drop in costs. The rest of the trip can cost next to nothing and is most likely cheaper than US travel, especially if you're truly going backpacker style and start your trips in low cost countries.

Also, you don't NEED an international trip each year to experience different cultures or see new places. Honestly, most of my cultural interaction happens right in my office, which consists of 5 nationalities. When traveling, most people just meet other tourist (who can be from a different cultural background!) and don't interact with locals as much. A 2 week trip isn't gonna show you much culture-wise unless you limit yourself to 1-2 cities and actively mingle. Like other people have mentioned, working abroad IS an excellent way to experience cultures and give yourself the time to explore your new home and its wider surroundings.

I'm jealous of your diverse workplace. My office is definitely not the same.

As an example trip, this summer I'm going to Dublin/London/Paris for 2 weeks. I used my Delta points from a year of use to completely pay for the int'l airfare. Other than that it looks like I'll be spending about $1,000 on top of my normal monthly travel budget. And honestly, it would be less but this is a celebratory trip with a friend so I'm doing things for her that I normally wouldn't do (i.e. AirBnB vs hostel, budgeting for nicer restaurants/drinks). Going forward, I do plan to keep it to 1 week/city at minimum. I don't know off the top of my head how much $1000 costs me down the road.

Do you have suggestions for "mingling"?

That sounds like an excellent trip! 2 weeks for 3 places isn't too bad and air fares within Europe are so cheap it usually isn't more expensive to cover 3 countries compared to traveling around in 1. $1000 for 2 weeks sounds like quite a lot to me but is  understandable with the celebratory trip.

Re mingling I'd suggest couchsurfing and similar platforms (even the MMM forums!). But my favorite way to mingle is to travel to places where I have friends. For example when I did an internship in the US, I visited several of my peers doing internships in other US cities, getting me to very non touristy places like Wisconsin. Whenever a friend of mine does in Erasmus within Europe, I try to go for a weekend trip (I'm EU based). Most of those friends are either from uni or from travels - people you meet in hostels, CS people you've hosted before, the list is endless. Additional advantage is that this also cuts your accomodation costs (my last 10 day trip in Italy I only spent 1 night in an AirBnb, while I stayed in 4 places) and your friends will head you straight to all the best places for food/drinks/sightseeing/museums/nature or whatever you're interested in.

boarder42

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #45 on: March 15, 2018, 04:08:26 PM »

I can't commit to keeping up with churning credit cards, but I would definitely consider changing the one I have. I assumed that being in a Delta-advantaged city and having low expenses in those specific categories made the Delta card a good idea. Monthly I spend <$90 on gas and <$150 on groceries. Any suggestions for a different card based on that?

best gas card for non station specific is the BofA rewards card linked to a BofA account best grocery card is the Amex blue card still i belive - the blue preferred is better but you dont spend enough to offset the annual fee there. 

I dont understand why you couldnt churn cards - we're talking about thousands of dollars in free travel its probably one of the second highest per hour commitment side hustles there is outside of selling tradelines.   That statement does not make sense to me -

That's the thing though, it is a side hustle. I'm just not hardcore enough that I'm willing to spend my free time on more work. Even as time-efficient as card churning is, my understanding is that I'd need to be applying for and cancelling cards at least every 3 months. That also means updating all places where the card is saved (paypal, bill pay, etc). I'd also need to carefully track my expenses to ensure I meet any minimums. Between the work itself and the worry/paranoia/stress of having missed something, it just doesn't meet my cost-benefit threshold.

so how much do you make an hour at your job? also you dont have to change the location and move spend over there are ways around that- this is the easiest way to meet both of your goals with almost no effort - meanwhile a 2-3k trip probably takes you 100 hours of work minimum pre tax to accomplish.  vs 2-3 hours of time to get it for free.

You're framing it like a tradeoff, but it's not. I don't get to take those 100 hours of work off because I did 3 hours of card work. It's not 100 vs 3, it's 3hrs of work vs 3hrs of actual hobbies or must-do errands.

Actually it is a trade off you're going to end up working many more than those 100 hours on the back end most likely.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #46 on: March 15, 2018, 10:45:07 PM »
Get a job that pays for your travel.

TribecksMustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #47 on: March 16, 2018, 07:58:41 AM »
Get a job that pays for your travel.

If you have suggestions for industries that have lots of opportunities overseas and offer decent vacation plans I'm all ears.

TribecksMustache

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #48 on: March 16, 2018, 08:07:22 AM »

best gas card for non station specific is the BofA rewards card linked to a BofA account best grocery card is the Amex blue card still i belive - the blue preferred is better but you dont spend enough to offset the annual fee there. 

I dont understand why you couldnt churn cards - we're talking about thousands of dollars in free travel its probably one of the second highest per hour commitment side hustles there is outside of selling tradelines.   That statement does not make sense to me -

That's the thing though, it is a side hustle. I'm just not hardcore enough that I'm willing to spend my free time on more work. Even as time-efficient as card churning is, my understanding is that I'd need to be applying for and cancelling cards at least every 3 months. That also means updating all places where the card is saved (paypal, bill pay, etc). I'd also need to carefully track my expenses to ensure I meet any minimums. Between the work itself and the worry/paranoia/stress of having missed something, it just doesn't meet my cost-benefit threshold.

so how much do you make an hour at your job? also you dont have to change the location and move spend over there are ways around that- this is the easiest way to meet both of your goals with almost no effort - meanwhile a 2-3k trip probably takes you 100 hours of work minimum pre tax to accomplish.  vs 2-3 hours of time to get it for free.

You're framing it like a tradeoff, but it's not. I don't get to take those 100 hours of work off because I did 3 hours of card work. It's not 100 vs 3, it's 3hrs of work vs 3hrs of actual hobbies or must-do errands.

Actually it is a trade off you're going to end up working many more than those 100 hours on the back end most likely.

You're not addressing my actual concern. Cutting a year or two off of my work plan doesn't do me much good if my mental health is shot to hell from stress. I do not embrace the workaholic attitude.   

boarder42

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Re: Travel vs earlier FIRE
« Reply #49 on: March 16, 2018, 08:57:55 AM »

best gas card for non station specific is the BofA rewards card linked to a BofA account best grocery card is the Amex blue card still i belive - the blue preferred is better but you dont spend enough to offset the annual fee there. 

I dont understand why you couldnt churn cards - we're talking about thousands of dollars in free travel its probably one of the second highest per hour commitment side hustles there is outside of selling tradelines.   That statement does not make sense to me -

That's the thing though, it is a side hustle. I'm just not hardcore enough that I'm willing to spend my free time on more work. Even as time-efficient as card churning is, my understanding is that I'd need to be applying for and cancelling cards at least every 3 months. That also means updating all places where the card is saved (paypal, bill pay, etc). I'd also need to carefully track my expenses to ensure I meet any minimums. Between the work itself and the worry/paranoia/stress of having missed something, it just doesn't meet my cost-benefit threshold.

so how much do you make an hour at your job? also you dont have to change the location and move spend over there are ways around that- this is the easiest way to meet both of your goals with almost no effort - meanwhile a 2-3k trip probably takes you 100 hours of work minimum pre tax to accomplish.  vs 2-3 hours of time to get it for free.

You're framing it like a tradeoff, but it's not. I don't get to take those 100 hours of work off because I did 3 hours of card work. It's not 100 vs 3, it's 3hrs of work vs 3hrs of actual hobbies or must-do errands.

Actually it is a trade off you're going to end up working many more than those 100 hours on the back end most likely.

You're not addressing my actual concern. Cutting a year or two off of my work plan doesn't do me much good if my mental health is shot to hell from stress. I do not embrace the workaholic attitude.

i mean you just answered your own question with this statement so - what exactly are you looking for now then?  You are going to choose travel and work longer - i'll submit that my solution adds little to no stress to your life and is the opposite of being a workaholic.  It gives you the best of both worlds without having to sacrafice either.  You clearly like to plan cheap vacations - this just give you an outlet to get them for free.  Most all other solutions proposed here involve more work than signing up and canceling credit cards - which contradicts not wanting to be a workaholic.