Logistics,  Travel

Debunking Family Travel Myth #134: Only Rich Families Travel

I heard the other day a comment from a friend that they “don’t have the resources or money to travel”.

I call B.S.  I don’t believe it.

“So let’s call it as it is, travel, like any other interest, is a choice.”

Only rich families travel.  Oh hang on, you ARE rich.  Most likely, reading this now, your family are probably in the top 1% of all income earners (if you live and work in Australia or other Westernised country).  Did you know that if you earn over $42,000 AUD you are in the top 1% income earners in the world; and in the top %0.19 if you took home just over $80,000 last year (just over the average income in Australia).  (Sounds like enough to me! See:  Global Rich List)

“you are in …  the top %0.19 [of income earners] if you took home just over $80,000 last year.”

On top of this, Barefoot Investor recommends that you put 10%-20% of your income towards what Scott Pape calls your “splurge”: that is whatever you want to spend your money on, on top of all the other expenses your life, and 10%-20% put away for a mortgage (or some other form of savings!).  For someone on $40,000, this “splurge” could be anywhere from $4-$8k; for someone on $80,000:  $8-$16k, and still maintaining responsible choices for living and your future.

Whichever way you look at it, these numbers bode for a pretty damn good holiday – and if you play your cards right (and enjoy the card game itself), Lonely Planet thinks you can have a pretty good time in most SE Asian countries for around $50-$80 per day.  The simple maths equates to a good month overseas even for someone on $40kish a year.  It’s never been cheaper and more possible to travel.

So let’s call it as it is, travel, like any other interest, is a choice.  And that choice, if you want it, means sacrifice, confronting fears and acknowledging that how you spend your money is important.  Make sure you are spending it as you want, and not making excuses for not having the other things not currently in your life.

Make sure you are spending it as you want, and not making excuses for not having the other things not currently in your life.

Some tangible choices that we’ve made in the past few years to get to this point (and guided/inspired by the financial independence movement blogs: Barefoot Investor and Mr Money Moustache) in terms of investing our “splurge” money are:

  • spending $30,000 on a new car for our family (not $50,000) – and I guess, we could’ve gone cheaper!
  • AirBNB‘g our property out when we are away on weekends (so as to not eat in to our savings for O/S)
  • using Aldi $20 phone plans that have the same amount of data/phone credit (read: unlimited) as our previous Telstra / Optus plans and which still use the Telstra network (and sucking up the fact we have 3 year old phones)

Lise and I are hoping to not necessarily have to hit up our savings too much next year, but should have $20-$30k in the reserves.  In this respect, we are in an enviable position, myself having worked in an organisation for 7 years (and long enough to grab a hold of, and use Long Service Leave at half pay to service The Small Lane from January to June).  We’ve also got work possibilities from June due to our careers, this helps too.

There are many ways to skin a cat; what do you spend your $4-15k on each year?  Should you be more deliberate in how you spend your splurge?


  • Emma

    Love it and so true. If you’re into FIRE blogs, Pat the Shuffler is a good one too. Great tip on the Aldi phone plans, will have to check it out. Had no idea they did those! Xx

    • thesmalllane

      Thanks Emma – will have to check it out. We see FIRE (Financially Independent Retire Early) as really just a way of becoming more purposeful with your consumptive choices. One great quote we read on a different article about consuming social media was “when you are consuming, you are taking value (and you only have so much wealth to use), but when you are producing you are creating value (and therefore wealth!)”. This can be wealth in health, financial or relationships, so try to produce!

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