Like coffee? How much tastier would it be if you were sipping it at a sidewalk cafe in Paris? Contemplate that the next time you plop down $3 for a brew that you'll slurp from a disposable cup while sitting at work. Then maybe, just maybe, you'll put away your wallet, and instead make a small contribution to your travel savings account.
That, in essence, is what Kris Huson of South St. Paul does to fund trips that have taken her to Alaska, Asia and Europe.
"I consider travel an investment in my and my child's education, creativity and citizenship on this planet," she wrote in an e-mail. "I squirrel away money, forgoing material items and fleeting little experiences to do the big ones that leave permanent stamps on our minds."
Just the inspiration I was looking for after hearing yet more warnings that travel prices for flights and hotel rooms will rise again next year. Clearly, die-hard travelers need smart saving strategies.
One disciplined globetrotter asks her mother for cash at each occasion that warrants a gift. Within a few years, she hopes to have the money to bring her family on an African safari. Another couple tuck away all unexpected money that flows their way, from tax refunds to overtime pay.
Derek Meyer of Eagan is more methodical. He has several sub-accounts at his bank; one is devoted to travel. "A small portion of each paycheck is automatically transferred into this sub-account each payday," he said.
As for me, I have a travel budget that never seems large enough. And now, well, I'm sipping water instead of coffee as I write.
Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.