Great Financial Advice We Got From Our Travel Agent
I love to travel. I love to talk about travel. I love to do research for travel. That being said, I don’t like to use travel agents. Mainly because I enjoy doing the work leading into a vacation; however, they are a great and free resource. When we were trying to book our honeymoon and plan a wedding, we needed help. I never expected to get some financial advice in addition to a week in paradise.
Based on a recommendation from a family member, we met with her travel agent. It was awful, she didn’t seem very concerned with meeting face-to-face and basically said “call me when you have decided what you want.” Isn’t that your job, you know, to help us figure that out? I digress. After sharing this story with a recently married friend, our friend suggested we meet her travel agent. Sidenote: with the internet, I was really surprised to find that so many people still have travel agents. Long story short, I’m so glad we called her and we had a wonderful honeymoon and have since recommended her to at least three other couples booking their honeymoons.
While discussing the things we were looking for in a honeymoon, she shared a way to stay safe off of the resort. I don’t think she meant to give us financial advice. Honestly, I’m not sure “advice” is even the right word, but more so, the perspective of a different culture. After all, isn’t that a major reason people love to travel, to see firsthand the culture and perspective of people you would otherwise never meet?
She told us that when we visit the city to leave valuables in the room as I’m sure every travel agent does. Our travel agent took it one step further and advised us to refrain from purchasing consumable products other than food (specifically cigars and booze), outside of our resort or purchase them last as we leave the city. These things are temporary. Since these items are not a necessity, they are a luxury to be enjoyed for only a few moments. If you can afford a cigar or bottle of alcohol, you must be wealthy. Perfectly logical and makes complete sense when you think about it. Unfortunately, not everyone has good intentions in this world and you have just become a target for a scam, robbery or incessant requests to buy something from every shop owner on the street. This was her point, but we took away so much more than that.
We had never thought of these products in this way before. I’m sure when she explained this to us that we looked like she had just made some major ground-breaking discovery. Although, in the US we do associate these things with wealth, it is not exclusively the wealthy that partake in these purchases. We may also associate them with poverty. For example, homeless people are often portrayed in the media with a bottle in hand or a lit cigarette. Her words of advice really changed our outlook on how we spent our “fun money.” This was before we really stepped up our team efforts to becoming debt-free and spending our money more intentionally. Since then we have drastically cut back on our purchases of these items, but we still like to indulge occasionally.
This is something that resonated with me and my husband. Far more than either of us had realized at the time. Here we are, more than two years after that meeting with our travel agent and it is still something that comes up in conversation regularly. This can even be expanded to other consumable products that people in our culture consider “necessities” that really aren’t. Make-up, perfume and cologne, many hair products, pop, candy, meals in restaurants, this list could go on and on. We don’t need any of these things and how long would we even enjoy them? Sometimes it can be good to take a step back and ask ourselves if we actually need something. This can do absolute wonders for your budget. We have been able to cut back significantly because we can admit that these things are “wants” and not “needs.”
What are some products that you buy that you don’t “need”? Do you have any plans to change your spending habits on this type of purchases? What is some financial advice you received in an unexpected place?