Before Brett Eldredge, 32, burst onto the country music scene with his 2012 hit "Don't Ya," he was crashing in a spare room in his brother's house to make ends meet.
"I got my first big paycheck many years after chasing down music," Eldredge tells CNBC Make It. And the first thing he bought was "a nice flat screen TV" for his brother.
Today, the country music star is worth millions and believes he has figured out what is and is not worth shelling out money for. When asked about the one expense that's always worth the price tag, he didn't hesitate: "That's easy. For me, it's travel. If you're going to spend money on a material thing or a plane ticket and an experience, spend it on the experience."
It can be tempting to "have this really nice shirt or these cool boots or this car or this TV," says Eldredge, who's also the spokesperson for the launch of the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card. "I can guarantee you those are going to get old. But those memories that you get from traveling and seeing something that you've never seen before is something that you'll never lose."
Investing in travel may even help your career. "My strong advice to the 20-somethings of today is try to build a world of experience," Telenor Group CEO Sigve Breeke told CNBC in 2017.
"Travel abroad, take up a job in a foreign country and try something completely different," continued Breeke, who runs one of the world's largest mobile telecommunications companies. After all, "if you want to be a successful business person of today's global business, you need to know a little bit about a lot of things, rather than going very deep in one topic."
And as Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian pointed out during a Facebook Live Q&A, travel and specific experiences have led many successful entrepreneurs to a business idea with widespread appeal.
If you're a young college student brainstorming in your dorm room, he says, "your worldview is pretty narrow." Getting out and about broadens the mind. "This is one of the reasons why travel is so important. This is one of the reasons why getting other experiences is important."
He added: "I think you'll be pleasantly surprised if you look into places where you wouldn't normally expect."
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