Travel is not usually a top priority, it may be on the bucket list under the things we want to eventually do, maybe once the car is paid off or maybe when the little one is a bit older or that school debt is paid off and numerous other excuses. Travelling is especially optional when you own real estate, because so many expenses are in order, never mind the property tax hike you probably just got in the mail, oh and the roof needs replacement, then forget about it, the Caribbean won’t be seeing you for years! Meanwhile your friends are globetrotting and posting around the world pictures on Facebook. (those lucky bastards!)
Despite all these expenses there are ways to simultaneously own property and still travel once a year (or even more often).
1. Open a “Travel” Savings Account
The best way to ensure to travel every year is to save for it on a consistent basis. Travel savings accounts are usually free with no monthly fee and you can have as many as you like. Set up an automatic savings plan, with about $40- $50 per month per person, it will become a part of your bills. Saving on a regular basis will help make trips more affordable and realistic when it comes to planning that getaway! (I can almost feel that huge sigh of relief for having money put aside!) The savings may not cover the entire trip but it will alleviate the additional stress from having to pay for the entire trip from one source of income.
2. Earn Travel Points with a Travel Credit Card
Credit cards can serve a very beneficial purpose when it comes to traveling. Some credit cards can even earn you a free trip! There are many credit cards out there which offer all kinds of travel rewards and points program. It can be a challenge choosing the best rewards program, focus on the benefits and features when choosing the card that will work for you.
I have currently collected $900 worth of travel points, so my next trip will be practically free! A travel credit card usually comes with travel medical insurance, points for souvenirs and many other benefits and features.
Keep in mind, most travel credit cards have a high interest rate, it’s more suitable for people who pay off their full balance every month.
3. Make Travel as Important as your Health
There are numerous health benefits to travelling. The Global Commision on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association has released research in 2013 stating men who did not take an annual vacation were shown to have a 20% higher risk of death and about a 30% greater risk of death from heart disease. According to the same study women who vacationed every six years or less had a significantly higher risk of developing a heart attack or coronary death compared with women who vacationed at least twice a year. (L.A. Times, Dec, 2013)
4. Make Time for Travel – The Daily Hassles Will Always Be There
There will never be a perfect time to go away. There will always be expenses, things to get done and fixed, the wheel is always in motion with no way of stopping it. You are in control of your travel. The crucial part is to plan the getaway, book your vacation and go. For those of you with children, take advantage of the summer and the winter holidays, pre plan your trip in advance and take advantage of your travel savings account and travel credit card points! (I know, easier said than done! But planning can go a long way!)
5. Take Advantage of The Employee Ownership Plan
If you’re currently employed with a company which offers a non-registered employee stock ownership plan with a matching contribution then this is a great opportunity to turn it into your travel savings plan. When the company matches your contributions the savings accumulate faster, making it possible for your to travel sooner. The shares also potentially gain value in the market, increasing in value, which adds to your overall travel budget. I have travelled this way for much of my early 20s while employed for a major financial institution.
If you’re not employed for a company that offers such a plan, consider investing your travel savings into a higher interest paying investment such as a one year Guaranteed Investment Certificate, high interest savings account or other short term investments.
6. Cottage Time is Travel Time
There’s no need to travel far every year, if you’re working with a smaller budget then consider renting out a cottage for the week with the family. It’s more affordable and still relaxing. Cottages and chalets can be even more affordable when splitting the cost between several families. Whether it’s skiing in the winter or beach time in the summer cottage country is available year round.
7. Travel Now and Pay Later
Travel can be purchased with a line of credit or your credit card (earn lots of travel points on larger purchases!) and paid for later. If you know you can borrow responsibly and pay the balance back in a reasonable of time then there is nothing wrong with using your credit to purchase your annual vacation. The credit card allows for 20 days interest free, which means you have time to pay for it gradually with no penalty.
If you have a home equity line of credit (credit against your equity in your home) this allows for a much lower interest rate which can make borrowing money for travel more affordable. Be careful with this one though, it’s easy to spend more than you have. If you have a big bonus coming up but are traveling earlier, you can borrow against the line of credit and pay it back once the bonus comes in. The important thing is to plan ahead and pay the balance back within a reasonable time such as 2-3 weeks.
Having a strategy and planning ahead is most important when it comes to ensuring your family travels every year. Travelling will not only decrease your stress levels but can also rejuvenate your body, teach new perspectives in life and create endless warm memories.