“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” Those wise words came from an anonymous source, but they apply to everyone. Too often people think that buying things will make them happy when in actuality experiences are a much better investment.
Research supports that vacation time provides more happiness and satisfaction than anything else we can buy. Longevity is a key factor. When we buy things the joy quickly fades after the register closes. The memories from experiences, however, usually last a lifetime. Even a short weekend trip is enough to spark a meaningful adventure you’ll tell people about for years.
But just because vacations provide rich experiences doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. There are vacation investments you can make now to decrease the cost of travel for years to come.
Your Own RV
If you plan to take a lot of road trips, particularly to state parks, an RV is a great investment. An RV loan can get you rolling down the road with a small upfront payment. Plus, you’ll eliminate the high cost of hotel stays without compromising the quality of your accommodations. Frequent travelers will be able to trade hotel rooms for monthly payments.
Not to mention travel is a lot more convenient and you can pack a lot more without additional fees when you have an RV. You’ll also save money by being able to cook at your motorhome instead of going out to eat on vacation.
Language Classes, Software and Tools
Language learning classes and/or software is invaluable for anyone who’s going out of the country where they don’t speak the native tongue. Being able to speak with locals enables travelers to find bargains more effectively, as well as steering clear of scams. Simply being able to give a taxi driver directions could end up saving you big.
If you don’t have enough money to purchase a program like Rosetta Stone check your local library. Many libraries now carry the software in common languages like Spanish and Mandarin. You can also look for secondhand software on Craigslist.
Even if you become fairly fluent there are a few language tools you may still want to invest in. A pocket translator always comes in handy, and Google Translate is a real lifesaver. You can write, speak, draw or take pictures of words to get a translation for free. You can even download translation packs for times when you’re offline.
There are lots of ways to save money on a vacation, but you could also lose it. When you’re traveling to countries that are known for pickpockets a hidden wallet is a must. It can prevent all the headaches and expenses associated with losing all of your cash and credit cards.
Hidden wallets are cloth pouches that go around the waist and lie flat against the stomach. It’s worn under the clothes so people can’t tell the wallet is there. You also have to unzip the pouch in order to get anything out.
A Backup Solar Charger
Let’s face it. We can’t go anywhere these days without our smartphones and tablets. They really are essential travel tools when you consider they can be used for navigation, looking up information, making translations and communication. But they’re totally useless if the battery runs out.
From incompatible outlets to not having an outlet at all, a solar charger is worth every penny. As long as you have sunlight you can build up a power supply in the solar charger so it’s there whenever you need it.
Global Entry Program Membership and TSA PreCheck
Are you an international traveler? Hate waiting forever in customs lines when you could be spending that time exploring? Anyone with a machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card can apply to be approved for the Global Entry program. The application fee is $100, but at airports around the world you can walk up to a Global Entry kiosk, scan your documents, do a fingerprint verification and complete the customs declaration in minutes.
In addition to the background check you’ll also have to do an in-person interview. But once that’s done and the fee is paid you’re set for five years.
If you like to keep your air travel domestic then the TSA PreCheck may be a better investment. This will give you access to expedited security check lines that get you to your gate in less time. If you’ve ever barely missed a flight you know how expensive a few minutes can be. The TSA PreCheck costs just $85 for five years.