Weekend Finance: Quarterly Update on Travel Spending in October, November and December 2019

Changi Airport, Singapore

Welcome to Weekend Finance, a series peeling back the curtain on the finances behind The Weekend Jetsetter. It’s time for my final update on 2019! (Click here for Q3, here for Q2 and here for Q1).

In Q4, I majorly scaled back on travel spending which I desperately needed to do since I’d spent so much in Q2 and Q3. Overall, I ended up spending $1,380 (or 31%) more on travel in 2019 than I did in 2018. So I won’t be getting any budget travel awards any time soon!

When I first calculated the numbers I had a little bit of sticker shock because I didn’t travel as much in 2019 as I did in 2018. I took less than half as many flights and spent significantly fewer nights in paid accommodations.

This was mostly because I didn’t have as many weddings and bachelorette parties to attend, and had more people visiting *me* in San Francisco. But in 2019, I also chose quality over quantity. For example, I spent more money visiting far flung destinations in Asia and staying in nicer hotels vs. booking every cheap flight deal that tempted me. Maybe all the hype about travel in your 30s is actually true?!

Jokes aside, I’m comfortable with the increase because I got a significant raise at work (which I asked for and was freaking out happy when I got it!), and my annual bonus was $1,000 more than it was in 2018. So I was able to save significantly more while also splurging more on travel. As much as I love traveling, if you’re a frequent reader you know that retiring around age 55-60 is my top priority!

So let’s get to it – what are the 2019 and Q4 numbers?

By the Numbers: 2019 Trips

  • One-way Flights: 15 (including 4 for work)
  • Road Trips within California: 8
  • Nights Away from Home (Including Red-Eye Flights): 56
  • Nights in hotels, hostels, campsites or vacation rentals: 28
  • Foreign Countries: 3
  • US States & Territories Outside CA: 4
  • Total Spending on Flights, Gas, Car Rentals & Accommodations Year-to-Date: $5,827

How Much I Spent on Travel in Q4 2019: Month by Month Spending Breakdown

October

On October 1st, we were already in Boston visiting my family for my cousin’s wedding. While Thanksgiving was coming up the next month, we figured it would be silly to fly home twice – so we made this trip longer and stayed for two weeks to see everyone. Since both Nick and I have flexible jobs, we were able to work remotely and take just a half day off for the wedding.

We stayed with my parents and friends during most of the trip so accommodation spending was minimal (and flights paid earlier in the year). We did stay at the AC Marriott Hotel in Worcester for two nights for my cousin’s wedding ($226 each).

I’d never spent much time in Worcester, a small city about 1.5 hours from Boston, and was surprised by how up-and-coming it was. Just a short walk from our hotel were tons of cool shops, restaurants, a farmer’s market and breweries. Plus, the city is filled with historic buildings that my cousin got some gorgeous wedding photos in front of. We only had a few hours to explore outside wedding activities but I’d definitely recommend Worcester as a quick getaway from Boston or another New England city. My favorite places were the BirchTree Bread Company for brunch (get the frittata!) and Seed to Stem, possibly the coolest home decor store of all time.

While in Boston, we also spontaneously decided to drive to Mystic, Connecticut for one night to visit my other cousin and her husband, as it’s halfway between where my parents live and their house. The four of us split a $108 Airbnb, which came out to $27 each and cost me around $24 in gas.

Mystic was such a cute New England beach town, and while we did get in some seafood and local beers, I was sad we didn’t have more time to hang out and explore. Next time!

Total Travel Spending: $277

November

The first week of November, we visited Clear Lake in Northern California for two nights. Nick is very obsessed with fishing and this lake is #3 in the country for bass fishing, or so Google tells me. For his birthday in October, I surprised him with the trip. We spent two nights in a lakeside motel called Skylark Shores, which ran me $252.

Since we weren’t heading home for Thanksgiving this year, we also took the opportunity to take a week-long vacation that only required three days off from work later in November. Woot!

We traveled to Singapore and the island chain of Langkawi in Malaysia for 9 nights. Most of the trip was prepaid in Q3, but we did end up changing one of our flights mid-trip and spent $40 each.

Total Travel Spending: $292

December

We returned from Singapore on December 1st and weren’t planning to go anywhere else until Christmas. But at the last minute, I had to fly to New York for a work trip for one night mid-December. (Which, thanks to a snowstorm, turned into two nights with the second spent on a plane on the Newark runway). While we didn’t even have time to grab a bagel or a pizza during our mad dash around the city, I happily accepted the miles that came with such an expensive last minute flight.

For the final flight of 2019, on the Saturday before Christmas, we flew to Michigan for the holidays with Nick’s family. Since we stayed with his family and friends in the Ann Arbor and Detroit areas throughout the trip, we didn’t spend a dime on accommodations.

We spent most of the time lazing around the house and hanging out with people, but did manage to sneak in a few quick adventures. Some of Nick’s friends took us on a mini tour of downtown Detroit, which is quickly becoming a trendy area but has tons of cool historical buildings to explore. We hiked a small portion of the Potowotami Trail on an unseasonably warm day. And we did an escape room in Ann Arbor called Decoded Detroit one evening.

We rang in 2020 still in Michigan, so that about wraps it up for 2019! This year, I’m excited about upcoming trips to Costa Rica and Guatamela… what about you?!

Total Travel Spending: $0

Total Travel Spending in Q4: $569

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