If you read my last blog post, you may recall that we spent $71,574 on our year-long trip around the world. You may look at that number and think we lost a $71,574 down payment for a house, a degree or a new car. Or you may say that we could have invested it in the market and turned it into a million bucks by the time we retire. Your thinking is right, but your number is way too low.
The real number is $121,574 to do this trip. Just here me out.
We should consider our potential savings if we skipped the trip, continued working and kept living on a tight budget to save as much as possible of our after-tax income. If we went by that scenario, then as of today, we would have had another $50K in the bank for a grand total of $121K. This is our opportunity cost and so the question becomes: what would you do with $121K?
For us, we’d do this trip again in a heartbeat.
So why was it worth it to spend so much on travel?
- It’s what we wanted. The memories and the experiences were worth every cent.
- Retirement isn’t guaranteed. We could be short on funds or time in those years. After all, who really plans their retirement in their 30s assuming they will get social security payments at 65?
- Health changes. We visited some rough areas that I don’t think I would want to go when I’m older, assuming of course that we’re alive in the golden years to enjoy our retirement.
- Overseas travel is more difficult with age. Places can be dirty, smelly, difficult walking terrain, confusing, and hilly, and it helps to have as much mobility as possible.
- Geopolitics changes over 30+ years. Do you still want to visit Egypt this year?
- Responsibilities change. Family. Career. Got it? Good.
- Long-term travel is always cheaper than short vacations. We traveled for 49 weeks. In other words, we did 49 years worth of one-week vacations, or 25 years worth of two-week vacations. Could you imagine what our flight cost would be split over the years? (For your reference, our flight cost for just this trip was just $7,874 for both of us for the year).
At the end of the day, we think it will take about three years to recoup our costs from this trip, which we consider a short period when thinking about a lifetime together.