As if we didn’t need more reasons to follow our love of the open road, we sometimes make the mistake of feeling guilty for spending money on travel (vacations) when we think we should be more responsible. I’m here to remind you of all the positive reasons to see the world that have been proven to contribute to your happiness, longevity, and even your financial success.
- Trading bad habits for better ones (The News Year’s Travel Resolution). If you’re like me, you’re still trying to figure out how to afford to travel. There’s a few things you really can’t cut down anymore. The rent is what it is. You need to get to work. A kid has to eat. However, ask yourself, do you have any vices? Do you like to go out for drinks? Are you a smoker? Do you absolutely need your Starbucks? These things aren’t so cheap (compounded) and aren’t the best of long term habits to begin with. By trading in old, bad (and expensive) habits for plane tickets, you accomplish two goals: you’re living healthier and you’re doing something that makes you happier.
A. Instead of going out for Friday night drinks, drop that 15-50 tab in the coin jar. Instead, buy a six pack or a bottle of wine for 1/2 the price and have a drink at home. Or better yet, maybe consider skipping the brew altogether (I know… maybe not). Everyone loves an expensive drink, but save the top shelf and high end orders for the day when this advice is totally frivolous to you. As a former bartender, I can tell you I’ve seen too many people order an expensive drink just to impress (either me or the people around them). And it does, for about 0.4 seconds (poor investment).
B. A pack of smokes can go for anywhere between 6-15 dollars around the country. If you are a pack-a-day, see if you can stretch one pack into two days. Or better yet… you know where I’m going with this.
C. Please remember coffee is just beans and water. It’s not a status symbol (or at least I really hope it’s not). If you are a coffee connoisseur, I’m a soda aficionado and we both need to get our head out of our ass. It’s OK to brew a cup at home and take it with you. If you need that caffeine kick learn to drink it like it is (like it was meant to be) black. You don’t need the double-mocha, iced “I’m-a-silly-man-child,” grande.
D. Believe it or not, fast food isn’t that great for you. And it’s not really that cheap. Instead, learn to cook. If you want to impress someone, tell them what you made last night, not what you ordered. By eating and cooking at home, you’ll learn a skill, eat healthier, and save money. This also improves date night.
If you smoke, drink, eat out, and order expensive drinks you could be easily putting away 70-100 dollars a week and getting healthier by making a few small changes. And just like that, you’ll have your vacation money every other month! You do not have to completely cut out your favorite guilty pleasure, but if you cut back a smidgen you can really add to your life (and extend it).
2. Experience is worth more than possessions (a great investment). I could draw a long list, but let’s keep this simple. Take a good look at all the things around your place. Odds are, you were really happy the day you bought some of these things. The clothes, the TV, the laptop, the toys have all added to your happiness, no doubt. But, I have to ask, when did the shine wear off? Depending on the toy, it varies. Now think about all the best moments in your life. Maybe it was the first kiss, the day you graduated or snagged that first real job. If you are a little older, it might have been your wedding day or the birth of your child. If you really think about it, you probably still have great memories of those times and they still bring joy to you. Today there are many toys you’d be willing to throw into a yard sale, but I doubt you’d feel the same about letting go of those moments. In fact, many studies have shown that great memories only get better with time. By investing in travel you accomplish two things. You have greater long-term satisfaction and you are a more interesting person to yourself and others. As any dinner party proves, experience trumps possessions every time. More importantly, you are contributing to your health and well-being.
3. Employees who travel are more productive and better candidates for promotion. It’s true, taking a proper vacation makes you a better employee. Travel and vacation helps cope with stress, develop creativity (through new experiences), and builds confidence. If you do it right, you will return to the workplace new and improved, which is what the vacation was always meant to be (and somehow forgotten). The most difficult part is completely disengaging from work while you are away and many companies are making stronger efforts to help their employees with this practice as it helps them in the long run.
If you’ve done it correctly, you’ll return to the workplace with a more positive outlook (maybe motivated by prospects of your next vacation). You will also contribute significantly more, which in turn will get you noticed by your supervisor and inherently put you a little ahead in the run for the next round of promotions. There really aren’t many examples of pessimism helping you get noticed for the right reasons. Maintaining a positive outlook does make a difference and people who take the time for travel tend to have a better frame of mind than those who don’t.
Work to live, don’t live to work.
It’s a cliche, and yet we all seem to forget it. Life is about making memories, not making money. While we do need both,we should focus on one more than the other. After all, what’s the point of having money if we don’t use it to enjoy ourselves. In both the short and long term, a good vacation will help you live longer, better and save you money.
Live Well and Good Travels