Today I’m honoured to have a guest post from Warren Talbot, one half of the truly inspiring Married With Luggage team. I had the pleasure of meeting Warren (and his wife Betsy) back in June and came away from the day feeling more determined than ever to pursue my dreams…….their enthusiasm is infectious.
How much would it cost you to live your dream?
What if your dream is to travel around the world for a year? Seriously, take a guess. The final figure may surprise you as much as it did us.
On October 1, 2010 my wife, Betsy, and I left Seattle for a 5 year trip around the world. We spent the previous 2 years planning our escape, saving like mad, and selling everything we owned to make this a reality.
Making that decision was hard (sorry for the gross understatement here), but trying to determine a budget proved to be a nightmare. We spent hours pouring over websites trying to glean some knowledge that could help us. The challenge was not simply a lack of information, but the fact we found huge variances in the amounts people spent on similar trips. One couple spent over $100,000 skipping between resorts and private tours. Another slept in hammocks on beaches and shared dorms and spent just $15,000 in a year. Where would that put the budget for two 40-year olds not interested in sleeping in a dorm room or in resort living?
Talking about money
As you know people are uncomfortable talking about money. It remains one of the few taboo topics left, and thus why it was so refreshing to find Laura here at Move to Portugal. Finding someone that willingly shares her financial goals, as well as tracking progress, is a breath of fresh air. Plus, it has made us more comfortable sharing our own goals.
We decided that we would tear down this taboo and try to help future long-term trip planners. Upon departure we started tracking every expense for each day we are on the road. We have collected all this information and share it with others through monthly summaries of what we have spent. Our monthly posts have received a lot of requests for more details, so we decided to launch a new website to give more insight and tips into our around the world trip expenses. The new site, RTW Expenses provides charts of our expenses to date, summaries of each month’s expenses, and money saving tips from our experience. In addition, we are collecting tips from other travelers to help provide readers with hard-learned lessons.
How much did we spend?
Now that we are almost a year into our trip the numbers have surprised us. As of August 2011 we have spent less than $20,000 to travel through South America, the UK and now into Europe. This figure is well below what we budgeted and we have not skimped on the amount of fun and enjoyment we are getting out of this trip.
Here are 5 lessons we have learned during this trip to help keep your next trip costs down:
- Discounts: When you know you’ll be in a place for a while, sign up for Living Social or Groupon in the area and scout for deals. You can get your hair cut, enjoy good meals, and even indulge in a few activities at a much cheaper rate by doing this. We used this a lot back in Seattle for everything from dinners to trapeze lessons and loved trying it out in the UK on our travels.
- Food: Dining out can quickly eat into your budget. Scoping out local markets where they serve food or finding restaurants that cater to the local population can greatly reduce the amount you must spend each day. Eat where the locals eat, and don’t be afraid to try street food.
- Lodging: House-sitting can be a wonderful alternative and a great way to see the world. Check out these 2 great articles for more information:
- Married with Luggage article: How to See the World by House Sitting
- Hecktic Travels blog (by the wonderful Pete & Dalene Heck): House Sitting 101
- Planning: When splurging, look for ways to economize. We stayed in a nice hotel for a week, but we bought sandwich food, fruit, and wine to make our own meals. We spent a bit more on the nicer place but by planning out some meals in advance we saved a good amount of money.
- Transportation: If the cab is not metered, ask in advance how much it will cost and agree to a price before you leave. We learned this lesson the hard way and I still kick myself thinking about it.
Do you have a dream to travel long-term? Let us know, we’d love to connect.
About the Author:
Warren is one-half of the Married with Luggage team. He left his corporate career to follow his dream of seeing the world. He is now pursuing new passions of cooking, photography, and enjoying life on a different path.