Budget-Conscious Travelling

I´ve had a really good day today. I had a job interview that went really well (more about this later, fingers crossed!), I made a friend (hi Christine!), and I felt some much needed peace.

I first started thinking about this when Cait at Blonde on a Budget wrote a few days ago about making peace with your financial situation. I liked this idea a lot. I´m embracing her mantra:

“This is my current financial situation, and it’s ok.”

And of course, what always makes me happy is thinking about travelling. I love travelling.  Daydreaming about where to go next is a favorite pasttime of mine.  I don´t exactly have a “bucket list” but I do have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to ideas of where to go next.

I used to travel abroad every year, but since I took on so much debt in the last few years, my husband and I have agreed to alternate–one year travel abroad, one year domestic travel within the US. There is so much to see in our great country and it´s silly that we´re almost more familiar with the rest of the world than we are with the United States!

2015 will be our “stay domestic” year, but we talk all the time about what countries we want to go to next all the time. Lonely Planet recently published their “Best Value Destinations for 2015” and the list is as follows:

  • Tunisia
  • South Africa
  • Shanghai
  • Samoa
  • Bali
  • Uruguay
  • Portugal
  • Taiwan
  • Romania

They also recently published their “Top 10 Countries for 2015” which is always inspirational:

  • Singapore
  • Namibia
  • Lithuania
  • Nicaragua
  • Ireland
  • DRCongo
  • Serbia
  • Phillipines
  • St. Lucia
  • Morocco

I´m adding most of these to my wish list (except for the beachy places. We´re not really beach people, per se)–except for Shanghai and Ireland! We went to China this year, and I lived and worked in Ireland back in 2008. ¡Go us–picking one off the frugal list this year without even realizing it!

Visiting my bestie in Shanghai.

Visiting my bestie in Shanghai.

Studying abroad in Ireland.

Studying abroad in Ireland.

And so I happily daydream about our next trip, and I start to feel guilty. I´m still in debt. I probably will be for at least the next 2-4 years. Am I just supposed to stay put? God bless Christine for writing the most wonderful post about this today. Should You Travel While in Debt?

She writes, “Yep, I could give my wanderlust the cold-shoulder and put every penny towards my debt to pay it off as fast as possible. But is being debt-free my top priority? Nope! It also doesn’t mean I ignore it either. I manage my money so that I can live the way I want to live AND contribute regular monthly payments towards paying my debt off. It’s a balance between my responsibilities and the things I enjoy in life.”

I couldn´t agree with her more. She totally gets it. It´s wonderful to find PF bloggers who aren´t so totally obsessed with paying down debt and ignoring all the other joys in life.  Cat at Budget Blonde calls it being a penny counter, not a penny pincher.  I like that.

I realize this is a controversial topic, but I think that the point of money, financial independence, savings and the rest is peace of mind.  Balance is key.  I know I´m a traveller and I will definitely continue to pursue balance on my journey.  Travel is a non-negotiable for me, and it´s so heart-warming to know I´m not the only one.  I´ve given up a lot of little things that I enjoy–season tickets to the symphony, regular pedicures, being a general food (eating out) lover, among many other things–and you know what?  It´s okay.  I´m okay.  I keep dreaming.  It´s been a good day.

What have your favorite travel destinations been?

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2 thoughts on “Budget-Conscious Travelling

  1. I’m so happy that my post spoke to you, Chela! Anyone who loves travel as much as we do will know there’s no other comparison in life.

    I’ll vouch for your decision to travel domestically. I completed a backpacking trip across the U.S. in 2009 and might as well have been travelling to different countries because every state is so unique. Highly recommend New Orleans and Boston.

    Portugal is a great value destination. Andrew and I went there last year and had a blast. I’m surprised South Africa is on there – he’s been to South Africa twice now in the last three years and I don’t think he would call it a budget trip!

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    • Thanks! I was surprised about South Africa, too! I happened to be in Germany during the World Cup in 2006 and I really wanted to go to South Africa for the Cup in 2010, but the costs looked pretty high and so I didn’t end up going.

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