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Money well Spent - Paying for Travel in Your 40s & 50s

Updated: Jan 20


I wish I could afford to travel internationally

As I mentioned in my first blog post Pack Light? money or lack of financial resources is one of the most common reasons women of color who are 40+ give for putting off or forgoing global travel. At this time in our lives, we are pulled in many directions and we can feel totally maxed out from multiple financial obligations. As I think about my travel plans for 2018, I can’t help thinking about the cost and how I will have to adjust my spending and shopping habits to accommodate my love for travel. Confession time: This is not my forte. Don’t get it twisted, when it comes to managing projects and resources for my work and for trips that I plan professionally, I am "on it" watching every dime and always seeking out ways to save money for my clients. However, like many of you, I am a single woman who is the sole bread winner in my home. I don’t know about you, but for me it is sometimes difficult to objectively look at my finances and decide what must go so that I can afford to travel without coming home to a financial mess. On this topic, I am a work in progress, however, I make travel work because I see it as a priority and view travel as a necessity and not a luxury. I am always seeking out new ways to afford travel and to understand what others are doing to save and financially plan for travel.

Research

Research

Thorough research is truly my secret weapon when it comes to traveling in a financially responsible way. I try to figure out the best ways to save on accommodations, flights and local expenses. Understanding the local transportation systems, knowing the high and low seasons and the ways that local people live enables me to save money by avoiding tourist traps. I am also always reaching out to travel networks to get tips from folks who have previously traveled to a locale. Good research can help you save money and time before you head out on that next trip.

Travel as if you will again

The most common way that we waste money while traveling is trying to fit in every possible "once in a lifetime" experience into one trip. We pack everyday with tours, cultural experiences, shopping and every extravagance that we can (or can't) afford justifying the overspending with the "I will never have this chance again" rationale. This type of travel can actually have the biggest negative impact on our upcoming travel. Does it really make sense to spend all of our savings on one single trip to Paris, without considering that Paris is actually a city that you discover something new every time you visit. I have been more than five times and each time I go, I experience something different. If you think of yourself as a traveler instead of a tourist, you begin making travel decisions based on what will make the most financial sense and based on what experiences you can reserve for when you go the next time.

Group Travel with Payment Plans

This is the type of travel that truly allows you to plan for travel and budget for an international trip at the same time. With group travel someone else has conducted the research and packaged an experience that typically includes meals, tours, accommodations and even airfare. To me, this is one of the best ways to pay for travel since most trips are planned anywhere from 6 months to a year ahead giving you time to pay and prepare without wasting a lot of money trying to figure out how to explore an unfamiliar destination. I personally love travel by lay away and knowing that the money I put toward the trip monthly is untouchable once I make a payment, I find traveling this way works so much better than trying to save for a trip on my own.

Travel Savings Account

A travel savings account allows you to be a little more spontaneous and to budget and choose a destination based on how much you can manage to save. Although you do need to initially wait for the account to grow, once you have established a practice of putting away a percentage of bonuses, side hustle money and money saved through adjusting wasteful habits, you will have a nice stash that allows you to plan a quick trip to London or Cuba for a long weekend. A