We quit our jobs to travel the world……………….And you can too!
Are we rich, crazy, or a little bit of both? Nope, we just had a dream, some financial discipline, and an intense desire to experience the world. Want to know how you could do the same? Wether it is a week vacation or an extended trip like us, travel is so much more obtainable than you think.
Lets back up a little. My husband and I met 5 years ago. I had just moved home from working abroad in Thailand and he had never been outside the US. He had a great job running a family boat rental business and I was starting graduate school for public health. Although travel was a part of my life, it was not part of his, and with a good job, me in school, and us not getting any younger, we both succumbed to the fact that travel was not going to be in our future. However, after couple years, the travel bug bit me again, and I wanted to share with him how travel had empowered and freed me, so we decided to take a trip to 2 week trip to Thailand and Vietnam. That was it, he was hooked. Not only did he love it, but he realized that travel was actually affordable. For the same price as dinner out back home, we could stay in lovely bungalows, eat delicious food, have some cold beers and do some site seeing.
After returning home, we begin formulating a plan to save up and travel. And let me tell you, following new friends still on their extended trips trough social media just adds fuel to the fire. It is no fun to work 40+ redundant hours a week while watching your friends still exploring epic beaches and consuming amazing food.
Okay, so now that you know our story, lets get to how we saved up to afford to travel the world for a year. Check out our monthly budget for the 22 months leading up to our trip.
I was a waitress and he was a boat rental manager.
|Savings||$1,607 per month||x 22 months||35, 354|
So with a total savings of $35,354 we set a budget of approximately $80 a day or $3,000 per month including our $450 truck payment and $50 insurance that will remain a bill for the trip. (So without the car bill the monthly budget goal is $2,500.
Things to Consider When Planning Your Trip Budget
Some resources will tell you you can travel on far less or far more. To help you form an accurate budget, you need to be honest with yourself about what you want and what you are comfortable with. I feel bad for the fool who believes $20 per day will cut it, because the reality is that for most of us, especially first time adventures, getting by on this little, is just not possible. Budget travel takes practice. Here are some things to consider when planning a personalized budget for your trip.
Region of Travel:
We chose Southeast Asia to start and hopefully Eastern Europe to end, both budget destinations. If your goal is to travel to places such as Australia, the UK or even South America, you might need to reformulate your budget, possibly increasing your daily spending allotment or decreasing your trip time. If you plan to work along the way, this can be down for much cheaper.
Level of Comfort:
This is where you really need to be honest with yourself. Are you comfortable in dorms or do you need your own sleeping space? What about air-conditioning? Can you deal with the heat? Going with a fan room will save you almost 50% a night. The less luxuries you require, the further your money can take you, but how far are you willing to go to save a buck? I usually opt for a private fan room with a decent standard of cleanliness, I can no longer slum it up like I did at 19, but if you can great! Save save save.
Local VS Foreign Food
Eat the local food people! It is fresh, delicious, and will cost you a fraction of the cost of foreign food while abroad. I cringe when I see people paying $10 for a so-so burger in Cambodia while I eat a fresh caught fish with vegetables and rice for $2-3. But again, knowing yourself will help you form a budget you can live by. If curry makes you cringe and you know you will need western comforts, budget at least twice the money for food. *Another savings tip is to refill water bottles at your guesthouse and not always opt for a drink with meals. Most places will ofer this for a few cents or even free. Often times a drink will be half the price of a meal so refraining from this will save you a lot in the long run.
Balance in Activities
This is a big one. Doing activities adds up, but did you really go half way around the world to sit in your hostel. I hope not. I once met a couple travelers in India who did not go to the Taj Mahal because of the $15 admission fee! Don’t let this happen to you. Being “balanced backpackers” we mostly do self guided tours and free activities such as going to the beach, however, as you know by now, we love a good cold beer, I will splurge for a massage almost anywhere, and we love boating and diving so for us, staying within our daily budget is usually a give and take between days. If we want to do something more expensive, we find way to cut down expenses on other days to even things out. Volcano boarding in Nicaragua, diving in Thailand, riding ATV’s in Vietnam……….the world is just to cool to miss out!
To learn more, check out my article on How to Cut back your Expenses to Save for Travel!
Are you looking to go on a trip? Or have you done something similar and have tips for readers? Let me know!