Originally published/last updated on myearlyretiremenjourney.com on 22 May 2019.
So last week I returned from my last planned excursion for 2019. I added the final figures to my spreadsheet and thought I would share for the financial voyeurs out there.
It also helps me to take a moment and analyze.
This spending is not typical for me. The last time I took anything other than a staycation was in 2014 before I completed my clinical rotations for my degree program. I had an okay time but mentally noted it would be awhile before I traveled again. Full disclosure, I said I would never travel again.
Never turned out to be just five years. In 2019, I got soooo bored staring at my walls on the weekends, I challenged myself to get out of the house. One of the ladies I met on my most recent trip said I took it to the extreme as I could’ve just gone to the mall.
Suffice it to say, out of the house I did get. I even checked off a couple things on my non-existent bucket list, namely visiting South America. That trip was pretty cool. I don’t think I’ll NEVER travel again, but I know if I do, I prefer luxury, adventure, and a little bit of outdoors; and I’m a fan of the escorted trips. Makes it so much less stressful. I just click, pay, and show up!
I didn’t have a budget ahead of time, but I figured around my annual bonus would be a good focal point. I also realized I’d spent a lot on my family ($5-7k/yr) in the last two years and thought it would be nice to spend more on myself (but less than what I spent on them). All said and done, I think I’d rather help them. True story.
My bonus this year (2019) was: $3,769 (gross). I netted a little bit more than half that.
|South Africa (Mar 2019)||Grand Canyon (Mar 2019)||Toronto (Mar 2019)||South America (May 2019)|
|Transportation to/fro Airport||$114.39||$214.30|
|Fuel related to excursion||$67.46||$22.47|
|*What I could’ve spent||was $4182.92||was $894.68||was $555.99|
|2019 TRAVEL GRAND TOTAL||$2,953.24||(11% of projected annual budget)|
Thoughts on Travel Expenses.
My least expensive trip was my day trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls, Ontario. I applied for and used the American Airlines credit card to get $200 off my airfare. (First time successfully travel hacking!) That covered one way. I didn’t plan to stay overnight, so there were no hotel expenses. I rented a car in Toronto and drove to Niagara Falls and back in one day.
My most expensive was my trip to South America. Bucket list item! I have now visited five of the seven continents by age 35! I had visited four by age 25, and that fifth one just snuck in.
While pricey, my trip to South America was the easiest. Well sort of. For as much as I did, I didn’t have to do much planning. If you’ve never used a Groupon Getaway or done an escorted trip, I highly recommend it. I saw the trip on Groupon but ended up buying directly from the merchant (Gate 1 Travel). Other people got the same deal for $650. Ugh, but even though I overpaid, it was a worthwhile experience for me.
The big headache on my end was getting to and from Fort Lauderdale (FLL). When I first booked the trip, I was trying to use as little vacation days as possible. I ended up buying a total of 5 tickets between RDU and FLL in case any of my flights got cancelled or delayed. I used two, one was cancelled, and I received travel credit on the other two. Oy!
And in case you were wondering…Yes, you can make it from Terminal 4 (Jet Blue) to Terminal 1 (Southwest) and get through customs and security in 45 minutes at FLL, provided you’re first in line at customs, you walk fast, and ask someone to cut in line at security on the domestic side!
Grand Canyon was the least fun to plan. I planned a whole trip to Phoenix before I found a cheaper way to visit the Grand Canyon by flying through Las Vegas. Let’s just say I have a lot of travel credit to tide me over for awhile. Thanks, Southwest! So the “What I could’ve spent” category includes expenses related to my mishaps, first looks, and temptations along the way.
Ultimately my trip to South Africa saw the most cost-savings because it was essentially a staycation. I stayed with my extended family so I didn’t have to shell out any money for lodging, transportation, or food! Thanks, fam! No credit-card travel hacking required.
What have you spent on travel in 2019 so far?