Chris and I have a goal to eventually travel to Europe (after we visit all 50 states - 3 more to go!). So when I heard that Millionaire Mob found a way to travel to Europe twice a year with his wife, I had to hear more! Here’s his story!
Discovering Our Love Of Europe
When my wife (girlfriend at the time) and I were in college, we studied abroad in Florence, Italy. This is where we fell in love with Europe’s culture and history! Walking along those ancient cobblestone streets were unbeatable. After spending all that time in Italy, we knew we wanted to return to Europe as often as possible.
When I graduated from college, I landed a job in investment banking. This allowed me to make a healthy income and support our love of travel, but after five years, the job was taking a toll on my spirit - the long hours and high pressure environment was burning me out. Realizing I needed a change of pace, I hung up my suit and left my job to pursue my passion in a more relaxed environment.
I took a steep pay cut to work in a more engaging, small team environment where I’m focused on energy investing. I love it. I don’t feel like I’m at work. My hours are much more manageable and I get to meet other energy professionals around the U.S. Work can still be stressful, but if it didn’t have some stress it wouldn’t be exciting.
While I took the pay cut, my wife has been working her way through law school to avoid student loans. Our monthly bills and expenses add up fast on my income, leaving little cash available for travel. We didn’t want my lower income to hold us back from the travel we love. So we decided to look into travel hacking and found a way to travel to Europe twice a year on our small income.
Travel Hacking To Europe & Beyond
We recently traveled to France, taking the opportunity to trace both of our family’s heritage. We had so much fun and learned that my wife’s family was from all over France. We even got to visit some of her long lost relatives! It was an amazing experience and I definitely recommend exploring one’s family roots! You never know what you will discover!
While this trip could have cost of thousands of dollars, we were able to stay in Paris and the South of France for free via credit card hacking. We used our Chase Sapphire Reserve and Delta Skymiles credit cards.
Discovering our own history in France was amazing, but we love taking in all the different cultures that traveling to Europe offers. That’s was makes Europe such an exciting place to travel - so many different cultures in close proximity to each other!
When my wife and I said “I Do” a year ago, we knew we would travel to Europe for our honeymoon. We took advantage of Europe’s diversity and easily hopped from one country to another! Naturally, we returned to Italy, sharpening our Italian communication skills. Then flew to the Netherlands and tried to learn Dutch. It was a crazy experience. Let’s just say the culture of Italians is a lot different than the Dutch. Luckily, one similarity is that they both have amazing cheese… We love cheese, haha.
For our next trip, we are stretching beyond Europe and flying to Japan. I racked up enough points through credit card hacking and manufactured spending that our round trip tickets only cost $3.20!
I love how travel hacking has allowed us to continue to travel. While travel hacking can be complicated, it doesn’t have to be. Credit card hacking can be simple - try opening one credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and earn the bonus with the minimum spend. This card is great for starters. Manufactured spending is even easier - you can fund a new bank account with a credit card and hit your minimum spending requirement instantly.
Our Retirement Dream: Living In Europe
While we love that we are able to travel twice a year, we would love to be able to extend our travels in the future. Living a carefree life in Europe is at the top of our list every time we talk about our dreams and goals.
Right now, work and school take up most of our time, but we are hoping that this investment up front will allow us to retire early (in our 40’s). We are hoping that when that happens we can split our time between the U.S. and Europe!
Retirement, let alone early retirement, is hard to work towards when you don’t have a large gap between your income and expenses. In order to help with that, I’ve started focusing on a few side hustles: freelance consulting, blogging, ecommerce, and travel photography. With these side incomes, I’m able to invest in saving for our dream.
How I’m Investing For Our Dream
There are a lot of options for investing, but I’ve found dividend growth investments to be the most rewarding. I focus on investing in undervalued stocks. This way I’m able to receive additional income (yearly payouts) while also seeing stock values increase over time. You can see my portfolio and follow our investing journey here. I also created a guide to help others build a successful dividend portfolio!
My wife and I are a long way from reaching early retirement, but I’m glad that we’ve started the journey now. So far, I’m happy with our investing success and bi-annual travels!
Thank you to Millionaire Mob for sharing his journey! I’m officially interested in manufactured spending and intrigued by Dividend Investing! We wish you and your wife the best as you work towards early retirement and traveling the world!
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