After a house, a car, or maybe an education, most people aren't likely to make many bigger purchases than travel.
Think about it...
Is travel an investment?
While somewhat intangible, like your education, would you go so far as to consider travel an investment?
We certainly would. The idea of taking a break from the everyday, expanding one’s horizons, or just recharging the batteries... they're all pretty much priceless and arguably integral to your overall productivity (not to mention happiness).
Consider that you spend your time turning hours of your life into money, you then exchange that money for goods and services. In the case of travel, it’s a little bit of both. Either way, with travel your purchase basically doesn’t exist after you’ve used it, so use it well!
How do you get the best value for your time?
Further still, in exchanging your time for money, then that same money back to leisure time, you might even face some nasty exchange rates for a somewhat unique currency…
So how do you get the most out of your resources?
While some of the obvious aspects of budgeting and living within your means play an enormous part in the type of travel you do or the length of your holiday, a little extra planning can make a huge difference when you return home.
Pay for as much of your trip as possible before you depart.
Depending on the type of travel you’re after, there may be a flexible means of payment that will level out your average payments. This flexibility permits more balanced liquidity and a more comfortable return to work/life/whatever it is you do to fill your days – it also means you will be more able to pay off your smaller debt obligations before you incur interest charges.
Pay smaller amounts more regularly before you depart and you may never max out your credit card
The travel industry is only just catching up, Carnival Cruises launched an “industry first” payment program earlier in June of this year, EasyPay. We know what you're thinking, that's an industry first in 2017?!?
Regardless, it is just another sign of the times and the ever-changing face of the travel industry catering to the realities of life for the everyday traveller. Expect more brands to follow.
In the meantime, work with your travel specialist or find a planning tool that works for you
Once you’ve decided your dream departure for a tour or signature sailing with your favourite cruise line, it’s time to break out the abacus!
There are so many platforms and tools available for planning, there's really no excuse to allow your finances to run away from you. Just be sure you query the terms & conditions, so you can understand your prospective purchase.
Feeling overwhelmed? No problem, a travel specialist can help reduce the burden of keeping on top of payments or managing your booking's completion. We’ll even time them with your pay if you like, so that you almost don’t see your money (a little like paying yourself first, an investor’s tool for getting more out of your income).
That’s on top of the savings you’ll find by using a travel professional - an average of $452 according to the American Society of Travel Agents.
You've done your shopping and you think you've found a great deal, now what?
If you've really found a great deal, you might consider jumping at it.
We see astonishingly low priced flights come up through consolidators from time to time, but there are legions of people out there who make a living trying to show other people how to find such bargains.
Do you really think a well-priced seat will remain unsold until pay day?
Make your budget in advance of your search, not the other way around. Then you can be comfortable in your purchases, knowing you've not committed to something that will spread you thin when you get back.
Are you happy with your budget?
If you really have done your work and made meaningful considerations for your travel budget, learn to be happy with your purchase. The point of travel is to enjoy your time, not regret your purchase or spend countless hours pining over different price points.
On your death bed, no one will undermine the value of your experience by telling you that you could have got a better deal, if only you'd shopped at Costco...
Insurance, insurance, insurance
While you may be after spontaneity, the unexpected can certainly wreak havoc on your budget. Do some proper review of your existing credit card or work sponsored travel insurance, and do it regularly.
Make sure you understand the limitations of your policy so an unfortunate circumstance away from home doesn't follow you all the way back to the bank. You might double-check your exposure to big-ticket expenses such as medical repatriation.
While a little irresponsible of us to suggest, if maybe you do find yourself blowing through your budget while overseas, you could always just enjoy the ride!