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I'll start the post by saying that we are also looking to retire early but are not there yet so many will consider this foolish advice...

As a couple in our 20s we completely understand AND SUPPORT your wish to travel now. I backpacked thru Europe, staying with friends and living off macaroni and animal crackers in my early 20s. I did Asia on my own for a few weeks. It was fun but not very safety minded. I choose not to travel that way now. My back would hurt in the morning after sleeping in a seat on a train or on a floor of someone's dorm. Back then I was travelling after 2.5 months of summer work. Now I'm escaping from a lot of adult responsibility and a hefty 50 hr+/week work schedule. Totally different agenda.

Our annual international vacation (we like to vary the continent!) is something we look forward to all year long. It is something that contributes to our personal growth and development as we learn about new cultures and places and experience new things. We often return from vacation very grateful for the simplicity and monotony of home life and, at the same time, for the luxuries we have here in the US that we often take for granted.

Plane tickets, hotels, food... it adds up even when you scour the net for deals and travel off-season. We spend 4-6k (for two people for 7-14 days) and enjoy every minute of it. That's anywhere from 5-10% of our annual pre-tax income. Once we start including continents like Asia, Australia and Antarctica (they're on the 10 year plan at present to allow income to catch up with the cost of those destinations) I know that will easily double to 6-10k for the two of us for a couple weeks.

But, while saving to retire early is an important goal, it has to include some enjoyment now. Nobody can examine your spending habits but you. Perhaps your trips are 20% of your income. If you deem then worth it, they're worth it. If you can cut back on alcohol or find a hotel with buffet breakfast included, do it. But don't sacrifice EVERY LAST BIT OF EXCITEMENT, travel and adventure for the almighty dollar. Travel in our 20s and 30s comes at a different price than it would in our 50s... but it also provides different opportunities.

At some point, you have to enjoy the journey and not just the destination.

Keep travelling and live it up (within your budget!) when you do,
SweetP (reckless International vacationer!)
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