So, you’ve decided to take on a big adventure. You’re going to travel the world and ideally, you don’t want to end your trip early because you’ve gone completely broke.
We have been cycle touring for 17 months now which has given us lots of insight into what we really need to get by day-to-day.
There are many things you must consider prior to departure and during your trip. In this blog, we’ll share what we have learned and discovered about budgeting for ourselves and from other travellers, to hopefully help you out on your travels.
If you budget carefully before you travel, you’ll be able to do your worldwide trip.
Saving for your trip
Let’s assume you have considered and planned months or years ahead of time how much money you need for your trip. In most circumstances, the money you save will determine how long you can travel before stopping to return home or to work a while before continuing again.
Aside from saving, we would recommend selling anything you don’t need which can include things such as clothes, electronics, furniture or your car. Be critical when you are deciding what to sell and consider that you won’t need most of the stuff when you come back home anyway, so sell it! This process provides the added benefit of not having to find storage for your stuff when you’re away.
Some other simple tips to take on before your trip are to eat out only infrequently, prioritise cooking meals at home and choosing lifestyle activities that don’t cost much money like running, going to the beach or cycling.
Focus on activities before your trip that are affordable.
Choose affordable travel destinations
Planning can make or break your trip and a key point to keep in mind when planning your travels is to choose affordable destinations to travel to.
With long term travel, you are likely to go to places that have similar costs or are more expensive than back home. But, try to focus on choosing cheaper regions for the majority of your time abroad and/or where you take time out to rest, recuperate or potentially work in between your travels.
Choosing affordable destinations is just a matter of doing research, taking note of things like the visa time allowed in countries (if you plan to work/rest for a while) and the cost of living.
Take into consideration how long you will spend in each place and the costs of living.
Discover what you love and create your own must-see list
Each country has its own unique things to see and experience. There are endless blogs and guides to instruct you on where to go or what to see. However, just because you find a must-see tourist list of things to do, doesn’t mean you actually have to visit them all.
This gets way too expensive and the advice is usually subjective. It’s unlikely you will enjoy everything on those lists, so our advice is to figure out what you like. For example, we are nature lovers and enjoy natural landscapes over cities, so that’s what we prioritise on our travels.
Discover what you love! We love nature and the mountains in Romania.
If you are new to a city, you can always ask other travellers about free things to do/see where you are. A few free things that are common to most big cities can include hiking, swimming, cycling, free city walking tours, tours of historical buildings or other events organised by the city. Pick your own priorities based on what you’re interested in and your budget will thank you for it.
You never know what you might find on free walking tours.
Being mindful of your spending habits
Costs can quickly add up as you spend money on things such as flights, food, restaurants, buses, and taxis. It’s important to keep track of these expenditures and to compare these against your budget.
Some travellers do this to the dollar, tracking everything from flights to the apple they bought for 5 cents, but others just track the average costs per day and any large expenditures like transport.
Being mindful of what you spend will help to ensure you keep on travelling for longer. There are even phone apps that you can use for this now if you prefer.
Cook your owns meals to reduce on costs.
If you regularly shop at the supermarket or local markets to cook for yourself, then it can be easy to estimate the average cost of a meal. You can then use this to adjust your budget in each country.
It’s common in hostels to have travellers split the costs of meals and cook together which is usually much cheaper (making new friends never seemed soo good!). Another helpful hint might be to find the local car-sharing website, which can reduce the larger transport costs.
Take your own food for a picnic and reduce your spending.
Accommodation can really drain your bank balance as this is something you need every day. But there are ways to be cheap and find the best possible deals. Comparing paid accommodation options to get the best deal is a no brainer, it’s something you should always do. Here are some of the most useful websites we’ve found: Airbnb, Hostel World, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Agoda, TripAdvisor and Expedia.
A tent can help to provide you with not only your own accommodation, but it also provides you with your own privacy and gets you away from those shared dormitory snorers. There are even hostels that allow camping on the property.
Pitching your tent on the lawn in the garden of a hostel can save you money and get you away from those chronic snorers.
Did someone say free accommodation?
Couchsurfing.com and warmshowers.org are both free and fantastic tools for travellers to stay with locals in many countries. They provide tourists (Couchsurfing for backpackers and Warmshowers for cycle tourists) with an opportunity to stay in someone’s home and experience the world in a way money can’t buy. You might even get a chance to learn more about the country and its culture.
Utilising your social network is another way to save by staying with friends, relatives and friends of friends.
Working online while travelling is a great way to fund your trip.
Work along the way
Unless your original savings is a substantial amount and you manage your spending well, it is likely that you will work along the way. Getting work abroad can be easy for some and difficult for others and it depends on the host country, what your skills are, and how long you wish to work for.
Travellers who are constantly on the move, tend to obtain an online job and work remotely. It is a great option for many travellers who get work in areas such as teaching a language, freelancing in graphic design, computer programming, copywriting, and the list goes on.
To fund your adventure, take on any opportunities you can.
Many people jump on the thousands of opportunities for volunteering at a hostel, farm work or remote area work to earn some cash as a great way to trade hours for accommodation and food.
Otherwise, seasonal work such as in a ski resort, on a boat/yacht, at a bar or restaurant still seems to be the most classic ways to make cash when you’re travelling abroad.
What’s the best tip you have for budgeting on your travels?
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