LESSON #1: Understand Whether Your “Stuff” is a Need or a Want.
When you are travelling you can’t haul a lot of stuff around with you.
When we moved to Australia from Texas, we had to assess every single thing we had, because we were paying for the shipping costs. It was a great exercise to go through, looking at everything and thinking ‘do we need it or do we want it?’
It’s made life a lot simpler for us as a family and as we plan our next chapter in our lives in a year, we’ll be going through that exercise yet again. And I can’t wait!
LESSON 2: Know it’s The Small Things That Add Up.
Being out and about, stopping and buying coffee or even lunch, can get expensive. We generally plan on eating before we go out and if we need a pick me up, we’ll buy a cheap sushi roll. If you are buying something every time you run an errand or do your shopping, you’ll always be wondering where it all went.
LESSON 3: Leverage the Free Stuff.
I’m sure people would call me a scrooge, but when it comes leveraging the free stuff, I’ll pin that badge on my chest proudly.
I take advantage of free concerts, free museums and free festivals whenever I can. Some of the best events I’ve been to have been free.
I pop the extra toiletries from hotels into my suitcase when I go and use them later when we go camping.
I take a few extra salt/pepper/jams/condiments from fast food chains and use those when camping too.
LESSON #4: Always Have a Financial Backup Plan.
When you are travelling, your passport, credit cards and money can be stolen at any time. How is that different than any other time? Interest rates change. Banks go bankrupt. Stocks go up and down more than a rollercoaster.
We’ve all heard that it’s good to keep a diversified equity portfolio. It’s the same for travel. It makes sense to split up your cash from your credit cards when travelling, so that if the worst does happen, you don’t lose everything at once.
Having a backup plan is key in life.
LESSON #5: Master The Tools You Love and Dump the Rest.
When travelling, you quickly learn which booking sites work and are reliable. Figure out what apps work for you – because everyone’s needs and skill sets are different. There’s no sense in using tools that don’t work for you. Stick with what you love and ditch the rest.
LESSON #6: Collect Experiences, not Souvenirs.
When I initially started travelling, I was all about buying souvenirs. Over the years, I stopped doing that. If I’m going to buy anything, I’ll buy something like earrings that I’ll USE every day so I can support a local artisan on my travels. I’d much rather journal and photograph my experiences as tokens of my journey.
The same can be said when I’m at home. I don’t want more stuff. I want experiences. I want to explore places. When events like birthdays and holidays approach, I’d much rather give (and receive) an experience than just another ‘dustable’.
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