How to afford luxury travel and still keep your pants up.

Photo of a belt

Is the job of holding up your pants holding you back from traveling the world like a boss? Yes, as it turns out, especially if you’re young and stupid like I was. Luckily, with age comes the kind of wisdom that would’ve been invaluable had I had it a couple of decades earlier.

Ah, well, my loss is your gain. So here’s the lesson I just learned last month: Buy high-quality, full-grain leather belts.

Why? Because you’ll save a ton of money in the long run. I recently discovered that you can buy a belt that will last most, if not all, of your life. It’s called a “full-grain leather belt” and you can get one for about US$60 a piece at Beltcraft who isn’t sponsoring me (but totally should).

This was news to me, and not welcome news. Had I learned this lesson thirty years ago, I’d be flying first-class to Lake Como right now with all the money I’ve blown on crappy belts over the years.

But why talk about belts on a blog about travel? Because I’ve been drinking, and when you’re two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc in, your logic thread tends to meander a fair bit. But stick with me here, this is good.

Since I’ve been buying my own clothes, I’ve purchased no less than 40 belts in basically two styles (casual or dressy) and in two colors (brown or black). So that means, at an average cost of $20 a belt, I’ve spent around US$800 to ensure that I had four options to keep my pants from falling down.

Yet, when you factor in inflation and depreciation, that first belt I bought, in today’s money, cost me US$81.33! Worse, the median cost of ALL my belts at that inflation would cost around US$1220.00…for four freakin’ belts.

Sure, that seems like a lot of money, but it doesn’t include any “lost appreciation,” that is, the money you COULD’VE made had you purchased four full-grain leather belts in the beginning for US$240 and invested the remaining US$980 in an S&P500 index ETF. After 40 years at 6%, that money would’ve grown to over US$10,000!

So if you’re a young person just getting started in life and you don’t want to work until you die of old age before you get to travel, buy high-quality, full-grain leather belts.

Also, don’t get too fat for them or all the math falls apart.