Hey Taylor - I really want to visit Europe, but I can’t get past the cost. I have the money, but I also want to invest more in retirement and other things. Is there a way to make travel more affordable or make sure it’s worth the cost? - Jerry
Hey Jerry - This is a tough one. I could go on about how travel and one-time experiences are definitely worth it, and then you could spend a few thousand on a vacation you don’t enjoy. The answer to this question has a lot to do with your life and your goals.
I do believe travel is an irreplaceable experience and education. You can plan your trip around the things that interest you most, especially if you head to Europe. That part of the world offers a tremendous variety of cultures, cuisines and sights. I won’t guarantee it, but you’ll most likely want to go back after that trip across the ocean.
The real question is, what holds you back? You talked about saving for retirement - is the issue that you don’t have much money set aside, or you feel anxious about reaching retirement and not being entirely secure? As you know, I’m a big advocate for maxing out retirement accounts and making sure you have enough put away, but I also urge people to not waste their best years planning for life in their 60s and 70s. If a trip to London won’t keep you from contributing to your IRA, I think you should book that ticket.
Travel doesn’t have to be as expensive as some people like to make it. With hostels and Airbnb, you can skip the ridiculously expensive hotels and spend your nights getting a more authentic experience. A little research will also help you find the best places to eat that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and I usually find those recommendations beat out the pricier options.
You said that you really want to go to Europe and I have no intention of talking you out of that. It sounds like that trip is important to you, and I think it’s the type of experience you can’t really put a price tag on. As long as you aren’t paying for the whole trip with a credit card and quitting your job without a backup plan, you should take that vacation. If you still have economic worries, get a credit card that earns travel points and see if you can’t help yourself out.
I think your head is in the right place, so just take a step back and let your heart get involved. I hope you’ll send me some great European pictures when you get back, Jerry!