Travel is an investment in life and should not be considered an expense. Corporate America is not known for its generous vacation time and there are other reasons why travel may not make the annual to-do list. World travel brings more than a check-mark to a bucket list, it adds to the substance of life and can open the doors one would have never thought possible. While predicting the rate of return on a stock is something that is the very nature of financial planning, the return on investment from travel is incalculable and should be made a priority. There are some real-world considerations that can inhibit one's ability to freely travel the world, the most significant being financial and time limitations. Here are some strategies to improve your chances for travel success.
Your annual budget should include a line item for travel. Every trip doesn't have to be ultra-glamorous but the expense should be sustainable, annually renewable, so that you can take a trip freely at least once per year. Low-cost, budget airlines are sweeping the world with offers to get overseas at prices never seen before. Norwegian Air and newly-established French Bee and XL Airways have prices from $190 from the West Coast to Europe. With the sudden collapse of WOW Airlines, based in Iceland, all these deals should come with an expected level of risk. Obtaining inexpensive travel insurance can remove this risk and refund you the price of the ticket should there be an issue with the airline.
Hotels and Airbnb offer short-term stay options all over the world, depending on your price range. Should the whole trip cost $5,000 - $20,000 per year, consider adding this to the annual budget as a monthly line-item expense so that you will have the money available when it's time to purchase the full cost of the trip. You can have $400 or $1,600 being transferred to a new savings account monthly with the nickname, “travel”. This strategy will get you to your goal for when it's time to make the trip purchase.
Time is a limitation imposed by employers, clients, family and other realities. If travel is important to you, it may be possible to renegotiate your relationship with your employer to include more vacation or add remote work options. Employers are usually more flexible with adjusting time allotments rather than changing salary or other types of compensation. If you're self-employed, access to the internet can be found just about everywhere. Your cell phone service may offer hotspot availability in the country that you're traveling in, allowing you to maintain a level of connectivity with your clients.
If world travel is new to you or somewhat intimidating, consider traveling with a group. Group travel can be an enriching experience and the focus can be whatever you're into, such as yoga and spiritual retreats^1, adventure and sports, and LGBT focused groups. Rick Steves, based in Seattle, is known to have educationally focused trips.
Should travel make its way to the top of your annual must-do list, consider getting a credit card with the right perks to make the experience more enjoyable. Priority pass is a feature added to cards that grant you access to 1,200 airport lounges all around the world. Other perks may give you free baggage check and tons of points allowing for a free trip or major upgrade once per year. ^2
At Eureka Wealth Management, I help my clients budget for their dream trip and include travel in their life planning. Those who are taking travel to the next level and are moving overseas, I help them with their investment and financial account management so that they meet all the necessary regulations. I also advise on international insurance and coordinate tax and legal matters with your other professionals. Call for a free initial consultation at (760) 537-0791 or online at eurekawealthmanagement.com/expats.
^1 Silent Stay Retreats in Assisi, Italy: assisiretreats.org
^2 Credit card list: https://www.valuepenguin.com/travel/how-to-get-priority-pass-for-free#credit-cards-with-priority-pass-select