In May 2018 we quit our jobs to take on an epic 7 month adventure around the world – I wish we could tell you quick hacks on how we came across money to afford this – or that our blog skyrocketed, that we get free trips from companies to advertise their products. While this is the reality for some people, it was not the reality for us!
We weren’t born into wealthy families, and we don’t have a money tree, but what we did do was work our butts off until we could afford to travel as much and as far as we wanted!
Have no debt
The easiest way to get on the road ASAP is to have no debt. No job? no income? no worries. All you have to look after is yourself. It is a huge breath of fresh air to know that all of the money we saved for our travels belongs to us and not a bank or car loan.
Longer travel = cheaper days
We found that the longer you are in a destination the less you spend per day. Who knew that longer holidays would mean having a smaller budget? For example, Thailand for 9 days cost $900, while a month in Central America cost the same. I suppose it all comes down to the amount of time you have to explore and research, if you are in a destination for a week rather than 2 nights you can be flexible with when you go to a tourist destination or when you eat out. It also gives you more time to get out of the tourist hot spots and into the world of the locals (Where things are usually ALOT cheaper.)
Choose your must do’s
This is a tip I learnt from my dad when he backpacked around the USA and Europe. If you do every museum, every tourist attraction, and skydive in every city around the world your budget will shoot up without a doubt. So choose your must do’s in every destination and add them to your budget – These must do’s will become your non negotiables, while things not on the list will just depend on your finances at the time. Crin’s must do in Bolivia was death road, while my must do in Paris was Disney Land. Prioritising certain activities means you will never miss out on what you really want to do. (Thanks dad for the wisdom!)
Set your daily budget, and stick to it
Our daily budget around the world was $50 AUD per day each. This seems like a small amount in places like Europe, but is a huge amount in South America or Asia, So use the cheaper destinations to spend less than your daily budget when possible, so you can spend more when you go to a more expensive destination. Some days you may only spend $20 (we tend to spend less on travel days when all we buy is a train ticket and snacks) and some days you may spend $100. (This is where your must do’s come in.) When you save money on other days, you can put it toward your must do activities. Just because you have $50 as a daily budget, doesn’t mean you HAVE to use it. Save your money when you can, for us we did most of our saving in Central and South America.
Out of sight, out of mind
My biggest tip for saving money pre travel is to create a seperate savings account for your travel fund. I actually did not have access to mine and gave the passwords all to my mother so I could not dig into my savings to buy a cute dress. This allowed me to save $15,000 from November 2017 to June 2018. If you want to travel the world you need to be dedicated, you cannot half ass it. Saving money was hard, I was unable to go out with friends, buy new clothes or even go to events because traveling was my priority. It’s a small sacrifice for a HUGE gain. Trust me.
Hostels are your friends
The idea that staying in hostels is only for single travellers wanting to party is a complete myth! We have stayed in hotels, and hostels, luxury and budget; and 90% of the time hostels have ended up being the best bang for our buck. Crin and I usually stay in private hostel rooms, which is usually just like a hotel room. They are comfortable, clean and always have incredible wifi. To find a great Hostel I recommend looking at reviews on hostel world. Hostels also offer free walking tours in most locations and are a great way of meeting like minded travellers.
Don’t be scared of public transport
Before this trip I was never a fan of public transport, trains and buses left me a little on edge; and the thought of using them around the world really made me uneasy! However we have been on multiple buses, day time and overnight, ranging from 2 to 14 hours, in Europe, Central and South America, and so far we can’t complain. My biggest fear was that the buses in South America would be rather stingy, but it almost felt like I was sitting in business class. The seats are usually large and recline far back allowing you to sleep. Some buses (If you’re lucky) even offer wifi.
Don’t buy unnecessary things
I cannot tell you how many times I walked past a shop and wanted to buy a cute dress, but saving means sacrificing – and to save to the best of your abilities you must only spend money on things you need. This means limiting your nights out on the town, eating in instead of eating out and learning how to have free fun. (Like hiking or swimming rather than drinking!)
Save your Annual Leave
My annual leave was a life saver and basically is what paid for about 2 months of my trip! I had about a months worth of annual leave banked up which in return gave me about a months worth of pay right before we departed on our epic adventure. Sure, it means not going on any holidays for a year prior but it’s totally worth it to have all this money hit your account right before take off!
Sell what you don’t need
Okay.. this part was hard. Prior to leaving for the United States I sold my car which was really devastating. but like I mentioned multiple times in this post, if you want to travel the world you need to be dedicated! And lets be real, I wasn’t going to use my car when I’m all the way in Cuba…
I recommend looking into second hand markets in your area where you can sell your things, I made about $500 doing this and selling my used clothes.
Not one word of a lie. Traveling has worked out being cheaper for us than living and working in Australia. Sure we don’t have a stable income but we also have no bills, mortgage or rent. If you are committed to traveling and ridding of your material items, then anyone can do it!