My friends often comment on how lucky I am to be able to travel as much as I do. While I’m certainly lucky in many respects, the truth is that I have created the “luck” that allows me to travel as much as I do. Most of my friends believe that I spend a great deal of money to do all the traveling that I do. The truth is that while I probably spend a comparable amount as they do each month, I spend my money in very different areas than they do.
It didn’t just happen that I have been able to travel a great deal. It has been an orchestrated effort. The key is that I know what makes me happy so I’ve concentrated on making that happen.
I like to have new experiences and to learn new things, so that is what I concentrate on when I travel. I do not stay and fancy (or even average) hotels. I end up staying at the cheapest clean hotel I can find when I travel because I could really care less about my accommodations as long as I can get a good night’s rest. I don’t need anything fancy because the only time I am there is to sleep. I would probably camp most of the time except that I need to have Internet access.
I don’t have a huge entertainment budget when I travel. I love to walk / hike in addition to learning new things and having new experiences, so I spend most of the time I travel visiting National Parks and Monuments. This costs me a total of $80 a year to visit as many as I want and I take full advantage of it. In the last eight days, I have visited 14 National Parks and Monuments (Saguaro National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Pecos National Historical Park, Santa Fe National Forest, White Sands National Monument, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, La Ventana Natural Arch, El Morro National Monument, Petrified Forest National Park, Walnut Canyon National Monument, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Wupatki National Monument and Grand Canyon National Park) at no additional cost after buying the annual pass. The only places that I paid to get in while on this trip were to see the Airplane Boneyard and Meteor Crater for a total cost of $25.
I spend practically nothing on food. Since I have learned to super coupon, I can get by without spending much at all on food while still eating healthy since food is not a primary way I want to spend my money. Both breakfast and lunch are self made meals I take while I am on the go. I will occasionally eat out for dinner, but not often. My big food splurge on this current trip was sampling a number of different pies at Pie Town (they were delicious).
I determined it was best for me not to own a car which means that my rental car costs for this trip are not any more than if I did own a car. The same can be said with the costs of hotels since I am also purposefully homeless (that will be a future article) and don’t have a mortgage and other costs associated with owning a house to pay.
When all is said and done, my monthly costs are no more (and likely far less) than most people’s costs even though I am traveling and doing what I enjoy most. This is certainly not the way that everyone would want to travel, but it suits my needs which is the only thing that matters for me. It also allows me to make sure that I abide by the most important piece of financial advice which is to spend less than you earn. So, as you can see, the “luck” that has allowed me to travel as much as I do has actually been a fairly concerted effort to make sure that I can.
If you ever look at others and feel that they are “lucky” to be able to do what they are doing, chances are that luck was only a small part of the overall equation. When it comes to luck and finances, there was likely a whole hell of a lot of work behind any financial success that you see. No matter what you set your mind to do in finances or in other areas of your life, it’s always good to remember that you will end up having to create a lot of that “luck” that others see.