This past fall I was having a hairball. As background, I’ve had a big travel bug this year, which I have pushed forward with an extended trip to Southeast Asia, a couple of long weekend trips to visit family on the other side of the country, and a two week road trip across the northern states of the US. Here’s the fact. My hairball was that I had to get out of town! I was jumpy and needed a quick change of scenery. Where to go? What to do? How to do it inexpensively? Many people have the travel bug as well! Hence, the The Road Today Travel Series.

Making Travel Happen

If you couldn’t tell, I like to travel. That’s partly why the website is called The Road Today – there are so many great analogies from our physical travels that apply to our financial journeys. Truth be told my list of future travel places is long and my desire is high. There are destinations from across the United States to South American countries like Chile to off the beaten track places in Europe. One of my dreams would be to visit every National Park in the country on a massive road trip.

Travel is so meaningful, so broadening, and so enriching for me that I thought it would be fun to share travel stories and more importantly hear your stories about how you make travel happen in your life. So on occasion I plan to write about some travel adventures in the spirit of maximizing opportunities to make trips happen and enjoying the journey.

Setting the Travel Table

I don’t know about you, but in my experience there are several main enablers or impediments to traveling. Desire, Health, Money, Time. These are key for creating the opportunity….or not…for travel. If you are missing just one of these items, then time away or extended travel is far less likely to happen. Let’s dig in a little further on these.

Desire

I always take to heart the story of a financial advisor I worked with at my prior company. During the two years we met at his office, he was in the midst of the decision process for selling his business and retiring. One of his motivators was the experience of his brother who worked at the local airport. His brother always talked about how the age demographics of people coming through the airport drastically dropped off around the mid-70s due to people’s declining desire and health. As a result, the advisor wanted to make the most of his time for travel before that happened to him. His talk of selling the business in the next five years suddenly turned into a sale within a year. His desire to fully live his life drove his decisions and he made it happen!

That story really motivates me to get after my biggest desires for life in general and in particular for travel.

Health

It goes without saying that without your health many aspects of daily living can become highly difficult and change your ability to make things happen. I try to live with healthy habits around eating and exercise in part to open up travel experiences. Fortunately for many people technology does help bring the world to our doorstep to see and imagine. Things like reading an enticing story about people, cultures, or food; seeing pictures of fantastic nature, animals, or arts; hearing tales from others about their trips and “must do” moments. Those sights and stories really whet my appetite and make my travel list even longer, because for me there’s nothing like experiencing it firsthand to connect with the people, the sights, and senses.

I want to make those moments happen before my health holds me back.

Money

Travel can be really expensive. On the other hand, travel can be done very frugally and inexpensively as well. For me that happens when I keep an open mind to travel options and strong intention to not just go with the flow. There are many future blog opportunities and I welcome comments by readers on how they travel for less. Some examples are smart use of credit cards, off peak travel, packing light for baggage costs and ease of getting around, where you stay, and how you choose to eat along the way. I try to be a financially smart traveler to not only stretch my travel budget, but also to stay smart about my long term financial goals.

Time

Time is ever the precious commodity for all of us. Making it even more of a commodity in the United States is the fact that many of us are impeded by the allotment of vacation days. Certainly, it’s not news that the US gets fewer paid time off days than the rest of the world. One chart from the article shows that there are six countries like Germany, Great Britain, and South Korea that get 30 days or more as a statutory minimum of paid time off per year.  I’m jealous! How about you?

Chart showing how much vacation USA gets versus other countries. Last on this list of 12 countries.

In my experience, one proof point of differences with the US is when I was traveling last spring in Southeast Asia. I ran into many, many, many Europeans and hardly any Americans. Many of the Europeans were on extended travel from two full weeks to several months. The only explanation I could imagine is that it’s really difficult for fellow Americans to take off more than a week of time let alone multiple weeks. If you only have a week, then Southeast Asia is really far away and not a prime destination.

How to create time then for travel? Good question. One that almost requires a lifestyle choice in the US. Career and extended travel often sit on opposites of the life choices table. How to create time to travel is another area that begs for future conversations with this community.

Pushing Forward on the The Road Today Travel Series

Desire. Health. Money. Time. All together four opportunities, roadblocks, or challenges to travel happiness. Each of these provide fertile ground to learn from others and see what tips, tricks, life hacks, and choices people can share with this community.

Let’s start with some conversation openers for the The Road Today Travel Series. Hopefully we can unpack some key insights and tips over future blogs and help each other realize our travel interests while still maintaining good financial practices!

Creating Conversation Questions:

  • How important is travel in your life? How do you handle the key factors like desire, health, money, and time? What do you do to make it happen?
  • What are some of your travel stories that fit into balancing your travel desires with your financial wellness? Have you found great jobs/careers that enable your globe trotting desires?
  • What are some of the tips, tricks, life hacks, and choices that you have tried out? How did things work? What worked well? What didn’t work so well?

I help people like you who are living real lives with real financial challenges to breakthrough to new possibilities for their financial health.

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Doug Drenckpohl