While traveling can be fun, it also tends to be expensive. Whether you’re traveling for work, school, personal reasons, or vacation, you’re usually going to spend some money on your trip. However, you can learn some valuable financial lessons from the money you spend while traveling.
Learning How to Budget
Many forms of traveling require you to budget your money. If you’re going on vacation, you might only have a certain amount of cash you can spend. This becomes especially true if you’re in a foreign country where exchange rates are high and banks are scarce. If you’re traveling for work, you may only be allowed to spend so much on the company’s dime. Budgeting while you’re traveling can come in handy when you go to work on your own personal finance budget.
Forcing Yourself to Save Money
Traveling may also require you to save money. You might want to save up for a great vacation or you may have to save for a plane ticket across the country to go home after a semester at school. If you force yourself to save money in order to travel, why not force yourself to save money when it comes to your regular finances? Let travel be the start of something greater.
Improving Your Research Skills
Most people spend hours researching each trip they want to take. They’ll research the best flights or the best hotels to book or even the cheapest attractions or restaurants to visit. When you’re trying to plan a vacation on a budget, you do anything you can to find the best deals. However, you should also use these research skills when it comes to your everyday finances. Why not research cheaper grocery options or different internet providers who may have a cheaper plan? Research everything.
Appreciating What You Have
Travel may also help you appreciate what you have. There’s nothing quite like visiting another town, city, state, or country to make you reevaluate your own situation. You may think you’re in a horrible financial situation, but not every has the luxury and privilege of traveling (even on a tight budget).
Help Prevent You From Overspending
When you’re traveling, whether it’s for work or pleasure, it’s easy to overspend. After all, what’s one airport meal here or a couple coffees there? It doesn’t seem like it will add up until you reach the last few days of your trip and realize you’ve spent twice what you would normally spend in a week. And while vacation is a time to indulge, you don’t want to go too crazy. Being able to evaluate your purchases or seek cheaper options is a good financial trait to have and it’s one that will serve you well both while you’re traveling and when you’re assessing your normal finances.
Reevaluating Your Spending Habits
Traveling is also a great way to reevaluate your spending habits. For instance, you might want to consider buying cheap groceries such as cereal and bread once you arrive at the hotel instead of buying breakfast every morning. Or you might want to save your money for a tour instead of buying a souvenir you’ll throw out after a year. Thinking twice before you spend your hard earned money is smart on vacation, but it’s also something you should be doing in every aspect of your life.
Finding Cheaper Alternatives
There are almost always cheaper alternatives when you travel. Staying in a four star luxury resort is great, but you can also stay in a hostel or two or three star hotel for a fraction of the cost. You might want to save $50 by taking a flight early in the morning instead of in the afternoon. If you’re going to a lot of effort to find cheap alternatives for your traveling budget, it might be a good idea to do the same when it comes to your regular purchases.
Paying For Things Strategically
Most people go on vacations or trips with a set amount of money to spend. When you do this, you need to learn how to pay for things strategically. For instance, you might want to buy tickets to an attraction and then buy souvenirs with any left over money. When it comes to your regular finances – especially if you’re on a tight budget – you’ll also need to learn how to pay for things strategically.
Spending Money Wisely
Traveling is all about spending money wisely. You don’t want to go somewhere and pay twice the amount for an item because someone said it was a “good deal”. You also don’t want to spend all your money on the first day and leave nothing for the rest of the trip. When it comes to financial spending, it’s important to make smart decisions and not rash decisions.
Learning to Haggle
While you might not be able to get away with haggling everywhere you go, this can be an important part of traveling. A lot of countries allow haggling and it’s a good experience as it gives you an awareness of the true value of an item. Haggling over your normal finances might not be quite the same thing, but it may end up helping you out when you need to discuss extra charges on a utility bill statement or want to get a better discount on a slightly damaged item.