Is Travel Worth It?

Jim Ludwick, CFP®
Contributor

Travel can be expensive, can’t it?  Just go online to Expedia.com or some similar website and see what it costs to visit Niagara Falls, NY if you live in Southern California.  Or even travel to Orvieto, Italy where I’m writing this blog now from Las Vegas, NV where I live.

 So, the main question potential travelers must decide is what are the benefits of travel and do they outweigh the expense or alternative uses of your money?  We’re here to help you decide.

 Some travel can’t be avoided. Think of weddings and funerals. Maybe graduations and anniversaries can be added to that list on occasion especially if it’s your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary or your child’s graduation from medical school.

 Saving for travel is hard for most Americans. So many competing uses of money like schooling, child care, daily commuting, and health care premiums just to name some popular expenses that usually come before travel. Vacations usually involve some travel, but recent research has shown that short drives and coming back on the same day remain the most popular travel trip.

 Also, as air travel has become more stressful due to security constraints, the public is less inclined to put up with the hassle even though more seats are sold than ever before.  Train travel is starting to bear the signs of increased security routines on the DC to NYC corridor that I travel quite frequently.

 We’ve got the movies, TV, YouTube and various other mechanisms to bring us the world on a screen.  Do we need to travel at all?  Here is my list of the value of travel:

 1.     You can hug people at weddings, funerals, graduations, or just friends living hours away.

2.     You can smell the odors of other places as you marvel at the beauty of scenes old and new.

3.     You can hear the animals, the vehicles, and other sounds existing in faraway places and sense the impact they have on you and the surrounding people and land.

4.     You can practice a foreign language in a place where no one speaks English. (That does not include Mississippi where it’s the accent, not the language that can cause a problem for people from Los Angeles, like me.)

5.     You can walk around in wonder at some of the simpler things on this planet that don’t exist in your local environ.  This of Niagara Falls both in sight and sound.

 OK. That’s enough of a list.  If you agree, why not get started on that special travel budget?  Talk to that special person that will accompany you.  Figure out how much it will cost in money, time, lost work, frustration at the airport, etc.  Then I challenge you to find a way to make and save that amount.  You won’t regret it.  No one can take back those travel memories.

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