Confessions of a travel-focused person

Busy times, sorry ! But here is a second guest post of a blog I enjoy reading alot: Art Travel Eat Repeat. Don’t forget to take a look and enjoy!

Hello! My name is Heather Hopkins and I am a travel blogger over at ArtTravelEatRepeat.com. One of the main purposes of my blog is to inspire people to get out there and travel the world. I want people to know that travel isn’t just for those with trust funds, and is certainly an attainable goal for those who want to pursue it. That being said, for those of us without hordes of cash stashed away, it does require some sacrifices. Here is what I have sacrificed in order to travel.

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Worth every sacrifice.

All my clothes are falling apart.

Clothes are expensive, and I’ve watched friends of mine spend large amounts of cash on new clothes. Me? I wear things until they are threadbare and falling apart. Sometimes I even use my crude sewing skills to attempt to stitch those holes back up so I can wear the clothing for a little longer. Shopping trips usually take place at the thrift store, or at the very most Target if I’m feeling like a splurge. No fancy department stores for me unless my mom happens to see me in rags and decides to take me to get a few things. A lot of my clothing is also hand-me-down from some of my relatives and friends who do like to shop a lot. As a result, my personal style is a mish-mash of anything that was free or cheap and happened to fit me. I could go spend $400 on a shopping spree to refresh my wardrobe, but that’s a round trip plane ticket somewhere!

I can’t afford a nicer apartment.

I’ll admit that I’m pretty lucky to have found affordable rent in a San Diego beach community. As a result, I’ll probably never give this apartment up unless I leave the area entirely. A lot of my friends are buying houses and nice furniture and such. I’ve still got some of my college IKEA furniture. But hey, I get to see that look of envy in their eyes when I tell them how awesome my trip to Australia was. With the money I spend on travel, I could easily afford a nicer apartment, but moving and paying higher rent just seems wasteful because I could be using that money to go on awesome adventures. It’s all about priorities.

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Not taking myself too seriously in Sydney, Australia

I do, however, save money responsibly.

I contribute diligently to my 401(k). I also have a ROTH IRA. I have an emergency fund savings account, a “house fund” savings account for that house I’ll probably never be able to afford in this overly expensive city, AND a travel fund. After paying off a massive amount of student loan debt, I learned how important it is to be financially secure and stable. I could probably travel even more if I put all my money towards it, but I’m thinking long-term. Imagine all the traveling I’ll be able to do during retirement if I set myself up right! I know it may be tempting to throw caution to the wind and live life wild and free, but I’m all about setting myself up to have a happy life, and part of that is making sure future me is taken care of.

I also never travel on credit. I save money diligently every paycheck and purchase flights during off-season and when airlines are having sales. If I don’t have the money, I don’t go yet. I wait until I do have the money.

I can’t get a dog.

Back to that whole apartment thing. Mine doesn’t allow dogs. Sad day! I would love nothing more than a furry friend to spend my days hanging out with. But more importantly, I want to keep my options open. How could I take advantage of a sudden opportunity to go teach English in Thailand or take a cool job offer somewhere in Europe for 9 months if I have a dog to bring with me? Sure, I could easily bring a dog with me on road trips and my parents would happily take care of a dog if I wanted to fly somewhere for a week or two, but moving away longer term becomes less of an option, and I would feel terrible leaving Fido behind to go vagabond around the world. Nobody loves dogs more than I do, so trust me when I tell you that this is a particularly painful sacrifice. On the plus side, I know a lot of people who do have dogs and their dogs get showered with attention whenever I visit.

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Kalalau Lookout in Kauai, Hawaii

I basically never “pamper” myself.

A lot of women love to have spa days, get their nails done, get massages, etc. I like those things, too, but I see them as a waste of money when I’ve got a perfectly good foam roller and set of nail clippers at home. On the rare occasions I do get these treats, it’s usually because it’s my birthday or something and somebody gave me a spa day as a gift.

I don’t do expensive things around home very often.

I’m very money conscious. Between my responsible “saving for the future” and my somewhat more irresponsible “saving to blow all my money on travel”, there’s not a lot left for life’s everyday luxuries. I know a lot of people who go to concerts and music festivals all the time, or eat out at really fancy and expensive places. I can tell you all the best places to get cheap thrills in Southern California, but ask me what the best upscale restaurant is and I may just scratch my head and mutter something about the one fancy place I ate at for my anniversary three years ago.

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Up to no good in London

Even when I travel, I rarely “go all out”.

Say I’ve saved up $10,000 in my travel fund. That’s a huge amount of money that could take me anywhere! I could go on a luxurious journey and stay at the best hotels and eat at the finest restaurants. Then again, I could stay in cheaper Airbnb or motels and eat at the finest street vendors and still have enough money left over for a whole other trip after I get back! I’m not saying I don’t usually have a nicer “sit down” dinner when I travel, and I certainly spare no expense when it comes to unique experiences like the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb or swimming with manta rays, but I’ve always got the budget in the back of my head, telling me ‘no’ when I want to do fancy things.

I follow all the airlines, tour companies, and hotel chains on social media.

…and I check their posts daily. I’m always on the lookout for deals. It’s sort of an obsession of mine.

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Enjoying beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland

People tend to think I have a lot of money.

I live by the beach in San Diego (well, three blocks from it, anyway). I go on fabulous trips in far-flung places. I’m “always” out enjoying life and doing things. A lot of people have accused me of “being rich” and claiming that I can only do these things because I’m “rich”. I’ve got news: I am absolutely not rich. My husband and I both work very hard for the money we do have, and while we make solid middle class salaries, it’s certainly nothing to write home about. Our apartment is surprisingly inexpensive for the area (hence the won’t move thing), and we count our pennies and make financial choices every day that allow us to slowly work and save toward goals. We travel on a budget and I spend a lot of time researching the best deals before I do travel. These aren’t things rich people do.

What sorts of sacrifices have you made in order to travel? 

 

Thank you so much for this guest post Heather, curious to read all of your answers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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