So you’ve decided to take the plunge and travel long-term.. Yay!
If you are worried about how poor you will be by the end of it don’t fret, it may come as a suprise you to but long term travel can often be the same price, if not cheaper, than going for lets say 2 weeks abroad. I know you will probably think I’m crazy but when we travel for shorter amounts of time we often splurge. Opting for nicer hotels, more dinners out, more shopping, more buying cabs instead of walking and well, more of everything.
Your mind when you travel for 2 weeks – Yay party!
Your mind when you travel for 3 months – Ah! How am I going to survive?!
When we travel for longer amounts of time our money saving minds kick in and we start going for the cheaper hotels, making our own food, eating out less and spending more time in grocery stores.
Side note: You will want to consider if hostels will be the best option for you if you are a solo traveller. Because I travel with my man friend, aka boyfriend, we tend to stay at hotels more because the price for 2 people at a hostel is usually around the same price for a cheaper hotel. Find out what you are comfortable with.
So how can we budget for long-term travel?
Step 1: Choose you destination
Where you travel is going to affect your spending greatly so if you are trying to do a cheaper trip choose a cheaper country or somewhere where your dollar is going to be greater. If you’re a Canadian like me then having a cheap holiday in the UK will be very very hard.
Your departing city will also affect as to where would be cheaper for you to travel. But in saying that most flights will cost you around $1000 no matter where you go overseas.
For example if you are in Europe flying somewhere else in Europe you trip cost will go down but if you are in Australia flying to Canada then your cost flight will go up.
Places like SE Asia are great for spending long periods of time in because they are so cheap and you get a lot for you money.
Eastern Europe is another great money saver for long term travel. Spend some time in the Transylvanian Alps and make your way down to Croatia and Istanbul.
Step 2: Decide what season you are travelling
Now that you know where you are going, you need to chose when you are going.
Choosing a season to travel in will greatly affect your budget. Hostels that were $40 over summer will now be $23. What I’ve learned is that travelling in November the price of hostels and hotels were usually a 1/3 cheaper than if you would have went in June.
Step 3: Generalize how much your trip is going to cost you
This will include :
Hotels + Flights + Food + Daily Spending + Insurance = X Amount
Somethings you also want to consider is adding transportation in there. A EuroRail Pass can cost anywhere from $500 to $1200 depending on how long you are stay or how many countries you want to travel to. JRail is another way of getting around Japan and can be used as many times as you want over the course of 2 weeks.
Another mode of transportation is flying. RyanAir is a great budget airline with flights as cheap as 19 Euro
Here is what I budget for when I am travelling months at a time:
Hostels = $20 – $30
Daily Spending = $10
Flights = $1000 ($800 if you’re sneaky and find deals)
Food = $10
Insurance = $0
(I use a visa that covers travel insurance 17 days. The coverage restarts every time I travel via plane, bus or car so as long as I’m moving every 17 days I am covered.)
Since I don’t go to restaurants when I’m travelling alone, and I actually enjoy going into grocery stores and cafes instead, my food budget is lower than what it would be if I was with someone. You are more incline to go out and treat yourself if you have a travel partner so if you want to save you should set a daily food budget and plan when you are going to go to a restaurant!
Confession: Something I am bad for is coffee. I love coffee. Like really really really love coffee so when I’m travelling half my daily budget goes to coffee which is something I’m working on.. Can’t win them all I guess.
Step 4: Adding it all up
Moment of truth.
On my 3 month plan to Europe everything added up to a cool $7000 which isn’t that bad considering it’s including flights and the $1200 EuroRail Pass.
It is absolutely doable to be cheaper than $7000 but it can be more expensive if you want it to. If you are going for a luxurious time then your budget will be much greater if you want it to be and if you want to do it as cheaply as possible then your budget will be lower.
If you want it to be cheaper then you will really have to plan your hostels ahead of time or consider HomeStay or CouchSurfing if you really want to get cheap. I have never used CouchSurfing or HomeStay so that’s about all I can say about them.
Another thing so consider is staying in cities for more than 3 days will be cheaper because the longer you are there you will learn how to do things cheaper and then maybe you don’t need the Rail Pass if you are only going to a handful of places.
Step 5: Start booking
The fun part.
Try to plan your trip at least 3 months in advance and start scoping out prices and where you want to be for when. 3 months will also give you enough time to change things around if you wanted.
One thing I learned is that when I’m booking hostels and hotels I lean towards Booking.com
Using them I get free cancelation so when you are booking 3 months in advance and your plans change then you don’t have to worry about getting cancelation fees like you do with HostelWorld and such.
HostelWorld does work out to be a bit cheaper but I get tired of being charged $2 every time I book something with them because I usually end up changing my mind and then all I get is my deposit back in credit which, common, give me back my money.
But that’s another battle.
Step 6: Save Save Save!
Now the not so fun part!
Once you have fixed a budget it is time to save for it!
If I’m honest I am a crappy saver. I literally just bought myself a $107 scarf from Wilfred in Toronto when I know I have a trip to Paris coming up.. But! – Now I’ll just have to cut back on my grocery spending and ask my parents if they need help cleaning their house for a small fee.. ha! The struggle of wanting to be fashionable but not wanting to be poor.
“I make myself rich by making my wants few.”
-Henry David Thoreau
Head over to my post 9 Fool Proof Ways To Save Money For Travelling for some awesome money saving tips!