I'm spending $50,000 on travel in 2019 and I have zero regrets so far

Courtesy of Holly Johnson.Holly Johnson.
  • I’ve budgeted $US50,000 for travel in 2019, and I’m not the least bit sorry.
  • My husband and I are free of consumer debt, which helps us afford more travel each year. We even paid our home mortgage off a few years ago.
  • It’s a lot easier to live life on your own terms when you are debt-free, with plans to stay that way.
  • That said, we also choose to spend on travel over other things, like living in a bigger home or driving fancier cars.
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In a few weeks, my husband and I taking our two children on a whirlwind trip to England and Scotland.

Over the span of 2.5 weeks, we’re going to see most of the major sites in London, spend time in the English Lake District, see a few castles, and wander the Scottish Highlands in a rental car. We do have a few planned activities, mostly in London, but the rest of our trip will be spent zigzagging the countryside and relaxing in various Airbnbs.

The cost of this trip works out to around $US5,000, mostly because I paid for our flights to London (and home from Edinburgh) with cash. I did use some travel rewards to pay for day trips and rental condos, but the rest we are funding ourselves.

In total, my husband and I have budgeted over $US50,000 in travel this year. That sounds crazy, and maybe it is, but it’s pretty par for the course when you own a travel website. My husband and I started our blog, ClubThrifty.com, in 2012, and we have done a ton of travelling – both with the kids and alone – ever since then.

If you think paying $US50,000 for travel is unreasonable, that’s fine with me. I’m living life on my own terms and have been for a long time, so I don’t really care what anyone thinks.

Read more: I spend at least $US600 a month on groceries, so I stick with 2 credit cards to get the most cash back

Plus, I think there are real benefits travel affords that you can’t acquire in other ways. Here’s why I don’t regret my travel budget and will probably spend the same – or more – on travel next year.

We’re debt-free

The main reason we’re able to spend so much money on travel is that it’s the core of our business, but it also helps immensely that we’re debt-free. Our business is 100% free of all debt, and we’re debt-free as consumers. My husband and I don’t have any credit card debt, nor do we have any car payments. We even paid off our home a few years ago, and we funded a recent room addition and landscaping projects in cash to maintain our debt-free status.

Read more: 5 credit card mistakes even smart people make, according to a woman with 26 cards and excellent credit

We could spend our extra money on nice cars or fancy digs, but we would rather stay debt-free and live life on our own terms. That includes travelling how and when we want.

Keep in mind though, we would spend considerably more on travel (or need to travel less) if not for points and miles. We easily score tens of thousands of dollars in free travel each year with our favourite travel credit cards, but we use those rewards to stretch our travel budget further versus trying to get all our travel for free.

Travel is a learning experience

My kids are 8 and 10 years old, and our travel experiences have exposed them to so much history. They have explored ancient ruins in Rome and Greece, seen some of the most famous works of art on the planet, and learned about their own cultural heritage at a deeper level than one can accomplish in school.

My husband is of Norwegian descent, so we recently went to Norway to see the breathtaking fjords and learn how Norwegians lived hundreds of years ago. We visited an old stave church built in 1180, explored old town Bergen with its leaning wooden buildings, and visited a maritime museum, for example – all big parts of their heritage we couldn’t explore so deeply at home.

During our England and Scotland trip, we’re going to visit historical sites that will help them dive deep into English history, including that of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and Mary, Queen of Scots. We’ll visit museums, castles, and sites where some of the most momentous events in history have taken place – and we’ll have fun along the way.

Family bonding on vacation is supreme

It can be difficult to spend quality time at home with the kids when everyone has homework and after-school activities and the housework never ends. But when we travel, we strive to put our responsibilities on hold and spend time together.

It’s a lot easier to focus on our kids when there’s nothing else around us to do – and when we’re exploring new cities we’ve never been to before. That’s why most of my favourite memories of my children are from trips we’ve taken, both to far-flung destinations and places closer to home.

The bottom line

While $US50,000 is a lot of money to spend on travel (or anything, really), I don’t regret our travel splurges at all. In fact, our travel budget has been carefully crafted after lots of thought and planning.

At the end of the day, I would much rather take my kids on another exciting adventure (or three) over having a new car every few years or buying a bigger house. We all have one life to live, and we’ve decided we would rather see the world than buy more stuff.

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