January 23, 2011

Survey Says……

Mira enjoying a real experience in Tanzania

How are families planning on spending their money? On things, or on experiences? Thomson Family Adventures has complied the results of our 2010 family travel survey with interesting results. Compared to 2008 and 2009, we see that more families report they are planning on traveling in the future. Well, we didn’t need a survey to tell us that since we see it every day – but there are other travel trends that are interesting too. If you want to see the statistics we’ve compiled (yawn…) let us know, we’ll be happy to share.

Most interesting to me, as a parent, are the comments.

One family wrote that the economic crisis caused them to change their lifestyle for the better. “Our family has been living a minimalist lifestyle for the past 3+ years. We decided to live “below our means”, and pay off all our debt. I just made my last student loan payment, which was the last of our debt. Our plan has been to start putting our money towards traveling and adventuring as soon as we got debt free – and we’ve finally arrived! We initially became minimalist as a practical matter, but we have since come to realize that the less “stuff” we accumulate, the happier we are. New life experiences and building relationships, we have decided, are much better ways to spend our money than accumulating more “stuff”.”

Maybe all of us could learn something from their experience. I thought I was getting rid of my ‘stuff’ because I don’t have time to manage it all anymore – but really, it’s because I am spending my time on the experiences I’d rather be having than playing with my stuff. Right?

This got me thinking about the minimalist lifestyle. The truth is, I can see it may well not be less expensive, but it will result in less STUFF. And I am quite sure it encourages us to live within our means, which is always a good idea. ISn’t it amazing when you stop accumulating Stuff you have more means ?!?

When I head out for my Experience, be it dinner out or an adventure to another country, I would always rather spend a few dollars more for better value, or for a better purpose. I don’t mind paying for expertise that will improve my event. I like paying a travel agent for good advice on my flights. When I go out to eat I like to support my local restaurants (including those that employ my children :) ) and always plan on leaving a good tip for good service. Supporting people who work hard to help what I experience on my adventure is the best value of all.

What do you think….Are you spending less — or just being more careful about where you spend it?

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