Recapping Our Ireland Trip & Why We Prioritize Travel

travel budget

As I mentioned in my two most recent posts, I started a new job about 2 months ago. It’s been a whirlwind, full of learning and growing, and I’m enjoying the process. At some point during my interview, it was mentioned that the company had another office located in Ireland. My first thought was “wow, it’d be really cool to travel there.” Little did I know that I would get the opportunity so soon after starting this position.

This week my company is having a week-long training for recently hired sales reps, located in the Ireland office. As part of the Content Marketing team, one of my primary responsibilities has been assisting in sales performance. As a result, I was invited to attend and help ensure that the training runs smoothly.

After receiving the news that I’d be traveling to Ireland for a work trip, my wife and I decided to take the opportunity to turn it into a vacation. Thankfully, both our jobs were fine with us taking some time off, and it coincided perfectly with the July 4th long weekend. We spent 8 days sightseeing, then my wife flew back and returned to work on July 5th, while I stayed in Ireland for the work part of my trip.

While my flight expense was covered, the rest of the trip wasn’t cheap. So how were we able to pull it off with only a month’s notice?

It comes down to two aspects that are easy to identify, but require discipline to stick to:

  1. Setting aside money every month into a “Travel” fund.
  2. Maintaining as big of a gap between our income and expenses as possible.

Prioritizing Travel

Some articles that you read online will tell you that if you want to travel you shouldn’t worry about the money, drop everything, quit your job, and just go. That’s horrible advice, and I’d never advocate for that unless you’re in a financial position to do so. On the other hand, there are people who have dreamed of going somewhere their entire life, and yet continue to make excuses about why they can’t go.

You can fly almost anywhere in the world for $1,000 or less, which can be achieved by setting aside $84 per month for a year.  For some people living paycheck-to-paycheck, finding that money just isn’t doable right now, but my point with breaking it down is that by planning ahead and by making travel a priority in your budget, it’s attainable.

This is why tracking expenses and budgeting are so key. Doing so helps you cut down on areas of spending that aren’t bringing you value, and allows you to reallocate those funds to areas that do. This is essentially what we’ve done in our own finances. We’ve analyzed our expenses and cut out areas we don’t find as valuable: eating at restaurants, coffee/drinks out, pricey entertainment options, and shopping/clothing. Instead we allocate those funds towards savings, investing, paying off debt, travel, and giving. Take some time to reflect on the areas most important to you, and then go through your credit card statements to see if they reflect that.

We also have been able to open up more opportunities by increasing our income through side hustles, and by learning about travel hacking.

Balancing the Present vs the Future

There’s a balance that has to be found, between enjoying yourself and making memories in the present, while setting aside money for your future. Some people spend everything they bring in each month, while saving nothing for the future. Others are so focused on the future that the present completely passes them by. Both of these extremes need to be avoided.

I’ve always been long-term thinker, and actually enjoy saving money. My wife helps balance me out and helps me have more fun in the present.  We’ve gotten pretty good at balancing present experiences with saving for the future. I’ve never regretted money that we’ve spent on traveling, because it aligns with our values.

We encountered a perfect example of this in action during our trip. We stayed at Airbnb’s during our time in Ireland, and all the hosts we met were so friendly and accommodating. Our host in Dublin talked to us about some of the dreams her husband and she have had throughout their lives. They had talked about living in Portugal for years, and they finally decided to make it happen. Rather than wait for retirement, they sold their house in Dublin and are moving there next month!

I loved hearing this story. They’re pursuing their dreams and striving to live a life with no regrets, which is something we should all look to emulate. Rather than sitting on the sidelines, take action and attack life. Much of life is what WE make it. The decisions we make, the attitude we have, and focusing on the areas within our control instead of dwelling on the circumstances outside of our control.

This is what my wife and I strive to do with our finances. Creating memories in the present by putting money towards travel, and opening up more options in the future by putting money towards saving and investing. Thanks for following along with us on our journey!

Related Reading: Why All-Inclusive Resorts Are the Ultimate Vacation

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