We have started a specific series of blog posts focusing on finances for international adventures. We hope this helps someone in their future planning or aides curious minds.
Let’s talk money! One of the most frustrating things I found while researching for our trip was the lack of information available about what kind of funds we would need to survive while traveling. I understand that sometimes money talk is taboo or uncomfortable, but I hope this post helps someone plan their trip in the future!
Our number: $50,000
$50,000 for 2 people, for as long as it lasts (hopefully around 1 year). I originally started budgeting with $40,000. Then we sold a bunch of our things (cars included!) and the number grew. Since we couldn’t find anyone that had really documented the amount they spent in a year of travel, we based some off what we could find for short trips and used guidebooks to budget a few countries (average food and lodging costs are usually listed, so you can use those to get a pretty accurate idea), plus using websites like Rome2Rio.com and skyscanner.com to find flight prices and put together some basic costs. We then looked at what we could realistically save based on our incomes and expenses and set ourselves a goal of $40,000. We then set a trip start date because we were meeting friends in Finland, and as the trip approached we had saved more than we initially thought we could.
Let’s get something straight. Jeff and I did not win the lottery (not for lack of trying). We did not get a huge sum of money from an inheritance. We did not work the corner every night in OV. We just worked hard, tried to work a crap-ton of overtime, and didn’t live a lavish lifestyle while saving. We were extremely lucky to be able to live off of Jeff’s salary while saving mine. We started doing this while saving for our wedding, and continued after. Jeff also worked at the gym as a second job, bringing in some extra money every month. Instead of making weekly trips to Lululemon or hitting the movies twice a month, we stayed home and ate in. Both of us are completely debt free. We paid the last of Jeff’s student loans off before we left the country. Don’t get me wrong- I like nice things, but both of us didn’t see the point of spending cash on anything but the necessities if world travel was going to be our other option.
I am extremely annoyed with myself for making the next statement. How much you budget for really depends on the person/couple/family traveling. All I wanted when I was planning was for someone to give me a magic number that I needed to save for. I’m sure that we will edit this post near the end of our trip to find out if we budgeted appropriately. So far, so good, but we have only been traveling internationally for 1 month. But we haven’t gone hungry yet! We also do not stay in 5 star hotels (unless we have free Marriott points). We have no problem sharing dorm rooms with people (occasionally) and sometimes we will eat rice cakes for a meal. It’s not all glamourous- but you know what is? Buckingham Palace! Eating pierogi in Poland! Celebrating Midsummer in Finland! Lounging at a beach in Thailand! We’ve been able to do all of these things (well- I’ll tell you about the beach in Thailand when we get there…)!
For reference: Average cost per day so far (as of 7/24/16, 2 months travel, 1 month international, including flights, food, lodging, peeing (not free in Europe), etc.): $96.64