Money,  Travel

To Travel or To Save? How to End the Dilemma

To travel or to save? It’s a question many people have, especially when it’s holiday season and airlines are giving special prices for flight tickets.

If you’re an office worker who wasn’t born with a silver spoon like me, it’s normal to think that it’s better to save for emergency and retirement than to travel.

However, what if you’re born as a wanderlust and travelling is considered a need? I personally don’t want to live in resentment. Chasing my dream keeps me motivated and passionate in life.

After all, what’s the purpose of saving all the money if (touch wood) I’m gonna die tomorrow? #dilemma

When I decided to embark on my first trip to Turkey, I was too young to think about the emergency fund or retirement. I chose to travel over saving.

However, as I grow older, I realised there are a few things that free me from the dilemma. Believe me, it’s not following YOLO motto.

Saving and Investing Let Me Travel Without Guilt

to travel or to save how to end the dilemma
Hungary, Budapest

I don’t feel guilty whenever I buy a return flight ticket or book a dream trip because I’ve put aside some money for saving and investing every month.

Honestly, I spent more money on travel than what I have in my bank account, but I have no regret! You may think that it’s not a wise action, but at least I’m not stressing myself.

Try to count how much money you should have to be able to retire comfortably, plus the inflation. Unless you earn a lot monthly, the amount that you’ve saved may still not be enough even if you don’t travel.

Why live in resentment?

travel the world or save money
Ba Na Hills, Vietnam

I got to know about investment not long ago from my best friend. She shared how her diligence in investing for 20 years finally came into fruition, enabling her to buy a new condo and a new car.

When it comes to investing, I feel that it’s best to invest in something that you fully understand else you’ll get burnt.

Unit Trust or Stock?

For beginners who have no clue or interest about investment but still want to invest (like me), a unit trust is a safe option. You’ll have an experienced fund manager to take care of your fund, so you don’t have to do your own research.

The only thing that I regret is not investing earlier.

I suggest you engage a unit trust consultant, so he/she can select a good performing fund for your investment. Be careful not to simply choose a fund yourself if you have little knowledge because that fund may not do well.

traveling or save money
Toraja, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

When you invest in unit trust, you can choose the interest rate and risk that you’re willing to take. For example, a fund with a 10% return on investment (ROI) has a higher risk than a fund with a 6% ROI.

Investing in unit trust sounds good, however, you need to pay some additional fees and won’t see the result until the next God-knows-when years. It’s a long-term investment, not something that you can enjoy soon.

If you’re willing to take a risk for faster ROI, you can invest in a stock. Investing in stock requires a lot of your time because you need to analyse the economy, the company, etc…

Another downside is, if you make a wrong decision and lose your money, you may go hard on yourself because you’re the sole decision maker.

However, if you’re really good at it, you can get rich way sooner than investing in unit trust!

travel without guilt save money
Camagüey, Cuba

The key here is to diversify your fund or stock so when one of them isn’t performing well, you still have another one that generates profit.

Still confuse which one to choose? This article will give an in-depth explanation of the difference between unit trust and stock.

*If you travel often, perhaps you can compromise with your saving or investing habit to feel less guilty. Like, if you’re going to travel five times in a year, then you have to top up your monthly saving or investment by RM(insert your commitment).

My ‘Invisible Armour’ Keeps Me Going

travel and save money end dillemma

to travel or to save raja ampat
Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia
cueva del agua cuba travel or save money
Cueva del Agua, Baracoa, Cuba

My ‘invisible armour’ is health insurance. Some people think that health insurance is a waste of money, but to me, it gives me freedom and confidence to live my life.

I can travel wherever I want, do extreme activities, and enjoying life without worrying if I have enough money if something happens.

There’s a cancer history in my matriarch, thus I chose a health insurance that also offers protection against ladies’ illnesses like cancer (breast, cervix, ovary, uterus, etc).

The best thing is, my insurance will also cover the medical cost if I’m diagnosed with the illness. I don’t have to have a stage 4 cancer to be financially covered!

I Keep the Passion Burning

travel or save money end dilemma
The Italian Lakes, Italy

You’re also not a cat who has nine lives. You have only one life, make the most of it! When I tried to suppress what made me excited about life, like travelling, I lost that ‘sparkle’ in me.

I realised that travelling is an expensive hobby, thus it challenged me to think of a way to fund my travel and still have some for my saving and investment.

Also read: Tony Robbins’ Investing Rules of Thumb – Simplified
Also read: The Easy-to-follow Shopping Rules for Conscious Spenders Who Love Fashion

I passionately typed lots of articles every weekend for more than a year to get extra income. From the outside, I was a cave girl who didn’t enjoy the weekend and socialising.

I just kept going until I reached the goal. There are good and bad things about this action though, I’ll share with you one day.

beijing to travel or to save

Remember, if the situation isn’t favourable for you to travel, do something to change it. Life is too short for living an ‘autopilot’ life. If it’s out of your control, learn to let it go, take something positive from it and move on.

I have no regret that I spent a lot on travel, but in the future, I’ll be more careful. To travel or to save? The only thing that I regret is not investing earlier.

*This blog post is also published in The Jakarta Post


  • Suhas

    Clara, really nice article. People always regret not iinvesting early. You know what? We have a wise saying here. #To plant a coconut tree, 20years ago was the right time. Next best time is NOW! (Because our trees grow taller and take lot of time to bear fruits But once started, no end to it till very long time!). So you invest now because you are too young and will qualify. Health insurance tip is really good All the best wishes. Suhas

    • theresiaclara

      Glad to know that you enjoy the article, also to share the wise quote. Hopefully, we can meet again so I can learn more from you hehe… Thank you and all the best to you too 🙂

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