It seems almost weekly I am scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and see something about how traveling makes us happier or more fulfilled. There’s usually a really tan girl excitedly showing off her bikini or her floppy hat. They often have some math on the clickbait that makes you feel guilty for buying your Starbucks rather than putting it toward a plane ticket. “Science shows that travel makes us happier than any material good” read the article that started this frenzy. And while I am well aware that spending $5-$9 a day is $1,825-$3,825 and YES that is for sure going to get you a good vacation if you spend it wisely. But honestly if you were to not spend the $5 there, would you actually make it to saving it toward this extravagant vacation?
If you actually have the self control to do so good for you! I would like to say I have that kind of self control so let’s plan a hypothetical vacation… Let’t say I save $5 a day for 2 years you would have $3,650. *note* this is $5 EVERY DAY for 2 years, including weekends and holidays, also note that I only purchase expensive coffees a couple times a month, not everyday so for me this would be actively pulling $5 daily for 730 days* Being the responsible person I am, I would need to make sure to have at least 2 months worth of expenses are covered (rent, food, electric, gas, etc.) to be sure that I would not be in a pickle when I return to my normal life. Let’s just say that I spend about $1,000 a month on living. So of my $3,650 I would now have $1,650. Which could still be a good sum for a nice vacation.
Now let’s talk flights. A quick search of “cheapest international flights from Orlando” on this glorious Sept 27th of 2019 gave me a number much lower than expected–it seems I could get round trip to London relatively cheaply. *The cheapest option was London so that is what I will be basing the remainder of my trip around.* The average price is around $450 round trip (but I could not tell what level these seats were… but I assume are economy, I also could not see bag fees). With my cheap flight, assuming no fees, I now have $1,200 left for lodging, transportation, food, entertainment, and souvenirs. *i mention transportation here but forgot to include it below… so basically I would need to swipe $50ish from a budget (probably food)*
But honestly, chosing the lodging is the hardest part. You can chose the hotel that is $50 a night, after all it is just a bed you need-or-you can chose the $200 a night room with the door man and superior location. You don’t know the area and you don’t know how much you can trust the internet so you shrug and go with the $50 option. Thankfully your friend is also on board with your $50 option you get to only spend $25 a night! SCORE. But then she tells her mom and her mom is NOT on board with you two “slumming it” in the $50 hotel and convinces your friend that the $200 is more appropriate. It is in a safer area, walking distance to many attractions, and next thing you know your $25 turned into $100 a night. For a 8 night stay we are now down to $400.
Now after another quick google search, I found something called the London Pass. I’ve never been abroad, and I definitely want to see EVERYTHING. This little guy is kinda cool, for about $150 I can buy an “all access” pass to London’s attractions for 3 days. Now I have no idea if this is a rip off or not… but it sounds pretty cool. $250 left
Now on to the topic that can change my mood instantly. Food. I love love love food, but unfortunately I am not a big fan of fish… I have accepted that I will just be craving fried chicken when I get home but for now, London, SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT. I definitely am all about the “where the locals eat” vibe. But the catch is, locals don’t eat out every day, and therefore the food tends to be the most expensive… drat. (are you sure that $50 hotel is out of the question? back up to $850). If I am going to spend money on something, it is probably going to be food. Honestly I could see myself spending $100 a day on food. Eating on a budget I would probably still want 1 fancy meal and the rest whatever… $50 left. *this $50 number applies for both the $850 and the $250 scenarios*
A couple of postcards in the mail for the memories, a couple shirts, and back to the airport we go. I am going to enjoy my coffee. $2.75 left. Thank God for friends that will pick you up from the airport. Exhausted and enthralled, it’ll be back to work in 48 hours. So yes, this vacation is POSSIBLE and completely could happen give or take a couple hundred dollars. I, more than anything, want the experiences that travel offers. I would just love to not have to save for 2 years to have it be possible. On the flip side of that is… I simply need to earn an extra $4,000 a year. Because what life is worth living if you have to cut out things that make your day to day life. Yes, I want to travel. But I really just want to enjoy my life, to the full, in abundance, till it over flows.
If you’re confused by this post, so am I (wordy over thinker remember?). The math speaks for itself, but I think my logic is sound as well. Sure, I don’t need a bunch of fancy things. But sometimes a nice bag, a quality lipstick, or that $5 coffee makes you feel good and I can’t really see anything in my life worthy of being cut in the name of a fleeting moment. You can say it’s all about making memories but memories can fade just like the color on the painting in your living room. So why not enjoy each moment, picking out that painting, with your $5 coffee in hand?