Last Updated 22/09/2020

A percentage of the global population think that travel is a waste of money. It had honestly never crossed my mind that anyone thought that way, until somebody on our Facebook page said that it had always been her belief. Gratifyingly, she went on to say that our adventures and enthusiasm for travel had played a big part in opening her eyes and that she didn’t think travel was a waste of money any more. Her family had booked their first overseas holiday and were very much looking forward to it. The lady said that they had always though the family would have more fun camping by the river, so why go overseas?

Travel is a waste of money

I’m really, really grateful that this reader felt comfortable enough to share that sentiment with me. I’m immensely honoured that our adventures played a small part in her change of mind. That statement has had my mind running overtime ever since. Travel has always been my priority, the thing I earned money to pay for, going without every luxury in the process. I really couldn’t see how travel is a waste of money, ever.

Travel is a Waste of Money. I Don’t Think!

Define “Waste”.

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What is a waste of money? Some would say it is spending money on non-essentials. My glass of wine, the one I’m enjoying right now, would therefore qualify as a “waste”. I don’t think so, I’m getting a lot of enjoyment from it, it may not be of any nutritional benefit and it may speed me toward my death bed, but right now it’s mighty fine.

Is a waste of money anything purchased that turned out to be sub-standard or disappointing? Even if we don’t get full satisfaction for our dollar is it truly a waste? We learn by our mistakes and the worst disasters often make the best stories, so maybe not a total waste.

Some would say that spending big on the latest 3D TV or technological gizmo would be a waste of money. It’s not something I’d ever do, but I can see that others would get enjoyment out of that, in the same way that my glass of wine, my little bit of luxury in our tight-budget world, gives me pleasure.

Is buying a toy for the kids, the sort that they play with for 5 minutes, a waste of money? A year ago I would have said yes. Now I see the virtue in buying things to use and then pass on. Children treasure most of their toys for a short time, why not pass them on to another child to enjoy. See your investment as buying a few days of joy, not as purchasing an object to keep with you for life.

Is anything that gives a person pleasure a waste of money? We can judge people harshly sometimes for the things they choose to spend on, but is one person’s priority any more valid than the next’s?

We all have a set of unique priorities. If a cable TV subscription is more important to somebody that a savings plan, then that’s OK, that’s their thing and they’re totally entitled to it.

Is Travel About Having Fun?

The lady said that her family would have more fun camping by the creek. Well, maybe she’s right! We all get our fun in different ways.

I get a perverse enjoyment out of the hardships of travel, I dig those days-long Asian bus rides with broken air-con dripping water onto my head. I love finding accommodation at an amazing price and I’m more than happy to put up with discomfort if it means I get more travel for my dollar. So long as I’m seeing, experiencing and learning as I we go, I’m happy.

We’ve camped in Australia many times, usually up on our local lake, it’s a nice weekend break, something different, but it’s not travel, you have to go somewhere new to travel.

What Value Do We Get From Travel?

I think travel is worth every cent we spend on it. To be honest, it’s not that expensive. Selling our Australian camping equipment was enough to fund us for a month or two on the road. We are spending a lot less by travelling the way we do than we would be on living back at home, paying the mortgage and utility bills.

But what do we get out of it?

  • Education Every new thing we see, hear, taste or touch, every person we meet and lifestyle we experience, we learn from. Our children’s education is one of the main driving forces behind this trip.
  • Knowledge For me and the kids. Not many days go by when I don’t say ” I didn’t know that!”.
  • Experience  Rich lives with no regrets is what we’re aiming for here. There is nothing sadder than unfulfilled dreams.
  • Fun So much fun! From tubing in Vang Vieng to riding every roller-coaster in Disney. Immense amounts of fun for all of us, not just the kids.
  • More Family Time We are together 24/7. All four of us. If dad was still stuck in work earning to pay the mortgage we’d hardly ever see him.
  • Challenges Physical and mental challenges crop up all the time. Overcoming them is a great feeling.
  • Satisfaction Feeling proud of yourself for doing something you thought you’d never do is a wonderful thing. I saw this in spades in the kids after our treks in Nepal.
  • Enrichment You know how zoo animals are given toys for enrichment because they’d otherwise be bored and under challenged in a captive environment. Well that’s how I feel!
Travel is a waste of money debate


Obviously we don’t feel travel is a waste of money or we wouldn’t have given up our Australian-dream lifestyle ( some said we were throwing it all away), sold everything and set off with all our possessions on our backs. We think travel is the best thing in the world. What do you think?