One of the most commonly asked questions by anyone who’s dreaming of, planning or about to set off on an around the world trip is…
“How much money do I need to save?!”
It’s a question on par with “how long is a piece of string?” and by that I mean there is not one, simple answer to the question as costs and budgets depend on a great number of things like… What countries are you visiting? What country are you from? How long are you planning to go for? What standard of lifestyle do you want whilst away? What activities do you want to do whilst away?… The list goes on, and on, and on!
Maerii & I are just a normal couple, both with office jobs with an average wage, living in a large city leading a fairly average lifestyle! When I mean average, I mean we go out socialising with friends, we eat out when we can afford to do so, we have hobbies (Maerii does pole dancing and capoeira and I play bass guitar and have my gym membership). Your situation may be similar, it may be totally different but the one thing we have in common is that we want to travel – be it for a few days or a few years, we share the same end goal.
If you want to save the money to travel the chances are you will have to make sacrifices. You might quit your job, take on an extra job, put your career on hold, become a hermit in order to save money and sell your most valued possessions to raise some extra cash. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution for building a travel fund but I’ll gladly share ours with you…
Our approach was to first calculate how much we could each afford to save on a monthly basis and stick to it. By doing this we knew a minimum amount that we’d be guaranteed and anything else would be a bonus. We decided to move out of our flat 6 months before the start of our trip and found tenants to take our place. The rent we receive for the property pays the mortgage and we’ve moved into a tiny 1 bedroom ‘shoe-box’ flat which has almost halved our monthly out-goings allowing us to put more into the travel fund. We drastically cut back on socialising, take-away food, wine (bye bye wine club membership!), gig tickets, buying clothes, gifts and all other unnecessary purchases and put the money we would have spent into the travel fund. We cooked a lot more at home and socialised with friends in their homes rather than down the pub/bar/restaurant.
“New shoes?!… That’s equal to about 3 extra days in Thailand!”
We supported each other with gentle reminders not to spend money… Every time Maerii found some “beautiful shoes” on sale somewhere I’d gently remind her that the price of those shoes were equal to around 3 extra days in Thailand and that seemed to do the trick and take her mind off buying new shoes!! She would do the same for me (when I wanted to buy gig tickets, not shoes!!) and it all helped us reduce our out-goings and drip-feed even more money into the travel pot.
Maerii also sold her whole anime DVD collection on Ebay. It was quite a substantial number of DVDs and raised a couple of hundred pounds for the fund. She also sold a few other things on Ebay – shoes and handbags and a few other bits that were all in really good condition. This all helped decrease the amount of clutter we have so it’s a great way to make money and get rid of a few things all at the same time! One other thing we did was take a lot of stuff to sell at a car boot sale… You’d really be surprised at what people will buy!
Now that we’re ready to leave we’ve actually saved more than we ever thought we could and I think the driving force behind this has been knowing that every penny extra we save will allow us that little bit longer away from home. We’re going to keep a close eye on our expenditure whilst away but at the same time, we want to have fun and would prefer to have 9 months doing everything we want to rather than 12 months of scrimping just to drag the trip out for a few extra weeks. Again, that’s just our preference so we’ll take what money we have and come home when it’s all gone!!
I did a bit of research looking into how much other traveller’s budgets and expenditure on past trips, so here are a few links that you may find interesting…
- A Nomad’s lot – How much does it cost to go around the world?
- Chris & Jody – Our around the world budget
- Jack & Jill travel the world – How much does a rtw trip cost?
- A little adrift – A Little RTW Budget… Costs to Travel Around the World for a Year
- Never ending voyage – How to budget for long-term travel
- Price of Travel – Check the cost of things around the world
Hope you find some of this useful and as always, if you have any useful links to add to this list or have any thoughts or comments we’d love to hear from you so either leave a comment below or get in touch and we’ll get back to you asap!