Debt Free Adventures Begin Now
Debt Free Traveling Feels Different Right Off the Bat
I decided it was time to splurge a little on myself, now that I didn’t have anything else to pay off. Debts were gone, credit card was cleared, and all major purchases that I needed were all behind me now. So it seems like it was the best time to enjoy my money. Rather than spend it on something stupid (car, clothes, dining, or whatever), I decided to make the most of it and create some memories. After all, I guess it was time that I finally meet my new nephew.
That's when I decided it was time for me to take a trip back to one of my old stomping grounds: Germany. Not only is this a country I spent 4 years growing up throughout elementary school, but it’s just a great cultural location and one in which you'll gain a strong understanding of history. There are numerous castles, miles and miles of green pastures, and the delicious food….don’t get me started on the food. I’ll just say that the food is half the reason why I’m headed back.
These are all great reasons to travel back to Germany, but the best thing that I am taking in from all of this is that I am planning this trip with no worries of money. I mean, just booking the ticket was great. I didn’t have to worry about the cost too much (even though I still have the g2z mindset and booked it cheap), because now that I'm debt free, I was able to spend my money in any way that I wanted.
Traveling now is totally different than what I've done in the past. Before, I would have to see what my finances looked like and then debate on whether or not I could afford to take a trip. Now, I don’t even have to look at my bank account. All I have to do is figure out if the trip is worth the costs to me. It’ll either be a great deal and I’ll book it, or it’ll be a little too rich for my blood and I’ll wait it out. But that’s the thing, I can choose (somewhat whimsically) to take a vacation or a trip somewhere. A lot of the worries that I’ve dealt with before have vanished to the debt-filled oblivion.
The word 'vacation' comes from a Latin definition meaning ‘to be unoccupied’ and that's what I am with debt. Unoccupied, and I couldn't be happier.
The Flight Over
As I mentioned earlier, even though the cost of the trip wasn’t weighing too heavy on my mind, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t scour the web for the best deal. After searching for flights and changing my dates around, I was able to find a round trip flight for under $600. Not too shabby for an international flight.
After debating between two different itineraries, I decided to go with the lesser of the two (in terms of price) and as hesitant as I was, I decided to book my flight with WOW Airlines. If you’re not familiar with this airline, all you need to know is that it is as basic of a flight as you can get. No perks or amenities for free. No free Wi-Fi, no free food, no pillows, and no TV. It is basically an ‘air bus’. Their philosophy is that there are people (like myself) that are willing to spend hours in an ‘air bus’ just to pay the bare minimum to get from point A to point B. I figured, if I could keep myself occupied throughout the flight, then I would enjoy spending the money I saved from choosing this flight over another a lot more. It means more to me to ‘suffer’ for 14hrs on a plane and spend lavishly on the next week and a half, than to spend more for a comfortable ride back and forth. I mean, you most likely will fall asleep no matter what plane you’re on right?
Now that I had my flight booked and the dates set, it was time to plan on how to productively utilize the hours I would be stuck in the airports and throughout the flights. That is when I decided I needed to go shopping.
There were some things that I needed (yes, actually needed) to buy, as some of my possessions were on their last legs. Here are the things that I needed and how they were going to create value throughout my trip:
New iPhone with a $10 international plan
Upgraded backpack with easy access portable charger
Refurbished MacBook laptop computer
Now before you judge me on that little spending spree, hear me out.
It was time for me to buy a new phone as my old phone was more than 3 years old, and was beginning to fall apart. The actual screen was falling off of the phone and I had Scotch tape holding it down and to prevent dust from getting behind it. It was also perfect timing as the company I get cell service through was having a diesel promotion on new phone purchases. See more on how I got a new phone with unlimited talk/text/web for only $1 for a year.
Another good point with the upgrade in a new phone, was that I was able to add an international calling/unlimited texting plan for only $10 (which can be cancelled upon my return to the U.S.)
My backpack was in a similar state. It was one that I had gotten right before college and after numerous nights with a 30-rack packed into it, it was ready to call it quits. I figured that if I was going to get a new backpack (being out of school now), I would find something that looked professional for business trips and had the functionality of it as well. That’s when I found the perfect bag. It had all the right pockets needed for this trip, and all the right accessories.
Next up was the portable charger. This item is complimentary to my backpack as the bag comes with a USB port on the side for easy access to charging devices. So if I’m on the flight and my phone is almost drained, I can easily plug into a power source (remind you, I’m on WOW). Plus, it may prove worthy as I travel all throughout Germany as well.
Last up, and most important, the laptop computer. This purchase was the most important of them all. Not only will it allow me to work on the website and write the book internationally, but it will allow me to continue to work at home and in general. My previous laptop was basically on life support. The only way it would turn on was if it was plugged in and even then, it was running like it was on dial up. I didn’t want to spend too much on a laptop, so I took my time and watched a few that I liked online. I kept my eye on them through Groupon and Amazon and was waiting for the right time to buy. Luckily for me, I was able to get a solid computer for only $894 (got a little help from some cash back apps).
Throughout all of my purchases, I was able to get the best price out there not only through scouring the web for the best deals, but from the help of Google’s extension Honey. This extension was a great find and what it does is find the best times to buy products online and also searches the web for coupons/codes and automatically applies them for you. It’s free and works like a charm. I highly recommend it.
Time to Put Everything to Use and Enjoy This Trip
My trip is quickly approaching and is only days away. I will continue to write about my trip to Germany and how it’s been different now that I am a Zero and completely debt free. I’ve never travelled with this mindset and the freedom to spend without worry. I’m not sure if it’ll change my habits or not, or if it’ll be completely the same but without all of the dread that comes post vacation in terms of money and realization.
Stay tuned and I’ll post all of the cool tips & tricks I come across throughout my travels. I’m sure I’ll have some good ones and who knows, maybe I’ll even put my GoPro to use and show what a Zero does while traveling.
**Find the tools I used below**
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