Frequent travelers are often asked how they can afford to travel as often as they do. Travel, after all, is typically seen as a luxuriously indulgent endeavor that only those with a lot of extra money lying around after all the bills have been paid can dare to consider.
But often, the answer is not because these people have a ton of money to throw at airfares, hotel accommodations and souvenir shopping. While you have some who are genuinely wealthy and spend their days hopping from one destination to another, most dedicated travelers I know keep a tight budget and find ways to squeeze in travel whenever, however way they can.
It is simply because they have chosen to make travel a priority in their lives.
That is the case with my husband and I. Our current circumstances, two-income household, professional jobs and no children, allow for us to a couple of local and overseas trips a year without neglecting our basic responsibilities. But I do believe (and you can check back with me on this down the road) that even if we had a child or two, we would still work hard to keep travel as regular part of our family life. Granted that our destinations and budget may be different then, it is the whole philosophy of going out and seeing the world that we’ve committed ourselves into and have incorporated into our financial and lifestyle decisions. We have many friends with families who have been able to travel as well, and this encourages us a lot.
In a quick survey, 8 out of 10 people said that should they acquire a considerable sum of money (preferred means are by lottery winnings or inheritance from a long-lost rich relative), world travel is one of the first things on their To-Do list. In short, if they could, they would.
However without a winning lotto ticket or a rich dead relative, many people’s travel dreams go by the wayside. Understandably, bills, tuition fees, and other responsibilities take precedence in budgeting. But just like with anything else, if you have a compelling reason or motivation to do something, it gets done.
The question that you really have to answer is: how bad do you really want to travel?
We all have our reasons for wanting to travel: to get away from the everyday routine, to discover something new and different, to visit a place they’ve always wanted to see, to be a part of a unique experience, to relax and recharge, and to spend time with family and friends away from the daily running of life.
The clearer, the more specific and the more personal your reasons and motivations are for travel, the more likely you’ll prioritize saving for it and getting it done.
Here are 5 Reasons Why Travel Should Be Priority In Your Life:
1) Travel to fulfill some longtime dream, goal or desire, for your personal fulfillment.
Many of us have a place that we would go to in a heartbeat if the funds for it suddenly appear in our bank account. It’s a place we’ve seen in a movie, read about in a book or magazine or just dreamt about going for as long we can remember. However, many of us feel we need permission to pursue this dream, as it feels too indulgent.
You should allow yourself to prioritize your dreams and goals of travel especially if it helps energize and revitalize your whole being. It gives you a sense of accomplishment that could boost your performance in other areas of your life.
Invest in yourself and in what gives you joy and fulfillment. Go ahead and start making sensible plans and putting away money for that trip of a lifetime.
2) Travel for your your marriage or relationship.
Spend some quiet time to rekindle intimacy in your relationship that may have been eroded by daily chores and obligations. See your partner or spouse in a different way when you are both detached from things that stress you both out. If you go to a destination special to him or her, witness the joy that it brings them, and remember that joy the next time you want to wring their neck in an argument.
It’s better to spend money and invest in traveling to a place where you both can rediscover yourselves without the pressure of everyday life (if that’s your issue) than having to spend it on counselors, medication and divorce lawyers if you keep pushing yourselves to the breaking point.
3) Travel as a bonding activity with your family.
Just like how travel can help nurture your marriage, it can also help form deep, lasting bonds with your children. Memories made during vacation become part of their childhood and their foundation. Be it fighting with their siblings in the car on a roadtrip, learning new things like figuring out how to read maps of foreign cities, or showing them a less stressed, even happier side of you as their parent is the sort of thing that sticks with them. It helps them form their identity as individuals and as members of your family.
While budgeting may be a challenge, consider the value for your kids to have a wide and open view of life and see the world at large. It will help shape how they perceive the world, to realize that there is more to life than your house, neighborhood, city or even country, his or her school and friends. The opportunity of seeing the world broadens their horizons and helps them see the bigger picture. It promotes having experiences and skills that will give the an edge in life.
4) Travel to grow as a human being, to challenge your way of thinking, to correct a misconception and to learn an important lesson.
There’s nothing like seeing other people groups living their lives and talking about their dreams, beliefs and motivations that help break down stereotypes and misconceptions about how the other 99% of humanity is going about with their day. It helps to see things firsthand from a different perspective, so that when news about them is brought to you on your TV screen, you can make an informed decision about your views and opinions.
It is more important now than ever before to be clear about what you believe in, in this era of terrorists, health scares and sensationalized news reporting. Maybe travel to a predominantly Muslim region or country (preferably one that’s not embroiled in war or armed conflict) to see that the overwhelmingly vast majority of Muslims are NOT radical terrorists, and to see that, to quote Sting, they love their children too.
5) Travel now when you are able to physically and mentally able to enjoy certain attractions and destinations that require some amount of exertion.
Many people tend to wait until their retirement years, or at least when their kids are done with school to take on serious traveling. That’s well and good, as long as you make sure that you’re fit and healthy enough to enjoy it then. There are places that you may want to visit that will involve a lot of walking, some climbing, maybe swimming or even zip lining.
Now, I don’t discriminate over age. I’ve met many healthy and active 70, 80 even 90 year olds. I was hiking up Mount Sinai in Egypt a few years ago, huffing and puffing at the steeper portions of the climb when a couple of elderly Russian women trudged past me and disappeared around a bend. And I’ve also been in tour groups were various men and women of different ages hold up the whole group because of their difficulties with steps or stairs.
In general, some physically taxing activities are better done without the challenges brought on by health issues and degenerative changes brought about by the aging process.
There are a ton of other reasons why travel should be a priority in your life. What’s yours?