This is a great question and it may be on the minds of our family and friends.
The answer depends on your perspective. The major difference between saving up for an extensive trip or purchasing something tangible boils down to your mode of thinking.
Objects are material, but travel is ephemeral -- and this might be the most challenging idea for people to accept. They might feel that at the end of the tour, you have nothing to show for it, but this is not true. The value is in your knowledge and in your experience. To me, the value of life experience pales in comparison to any object you can possess.
"Breathe, breathe in the air, don't be afraid to care; leave but don't leave me. Look around and choose your own ground, for long you live and high you fly, and smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry. And all you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be."
Roger Waters & David Glimour