How to make your money last when you travel
How can I afford to travel for so long? This is one of the most frequent questions I am asked.
Am I rich? Did my parents pay for me? Do I have an uncle who is rich? Have I won the lottery?
Before I could turn this blog into a successful business, I traveled the world for years by keeping track of my expenses.
Money management is the key to long-term travel.
Simple and boring.
You have to save up money (or earn money overseas) to fill your bank account. But long-term travelers are also very good at managing money because they have to stretch a limited source (your bank balance) for a long time.
When I started traveling, I saved every penny I could and every opportunity I had. While I spent money on some days like it was out of fashion, I compensated for it by cooking and staying at home. Did you really live like a pauper to get to Australia and not dive on the Great Barrier Reef? No, of course not! (You have to be a little adventurous sometimes!)
I kept a record of my expenses so that I could keep track of them and make sure I stayed within budget. (As a side note, I really like it when I see people keeping a journal of their spending to keep track of their budget. They are the ones who stay within their budget.
You will face unforeseen situations on the road, just as you would at home. These include missed flights, lost cameras, and changes in plans, which may require you to pay more for accommodations. These things are inevitable, but you should be prepared.
Here are some strategies I used to make my money last when I was on the road.
- Spend your money wisely
When I travel, I do not budget much money for tours, accommodation, or transportation. I look for the lowest accommodation and walk everywhere. If I want a ride, I will take public transport , or hitchhike.
I’ll spend a lot on food and drink.
That’s exactly what I want to be doing!
I did not pinch pennies to fly to Australia to spend my nights on Netflix. Nor did I go to France to cook in a hostel each night.
Not me. I came here to eat and have a drink.
I am willing to walk seven miles, sleep on a floor, or in huge dorms to get the money to make this happen.
You can create a budget that is realistic based on what you would like to spend your money on. This will ensure you have the money you need and won’t feel bad about it. Many travelers spend their budgets quickly because they don’t prioritize.
- Create Your Budget
Budgeting for your entire trip is simple when you know what you are willing to spend. Pre-trip research is the key.
Little travel information was available online when I began planning my 2005 trip. I spent hours reading travel guides and looking up prices. I created a spreadsheet to show how much money I would spend in different places each day based on what I learned online and how much money I could save.
You don’t have to be as crazy when planning your trip because you can find so much information online about the prices. You can Google any price you like!
Unexpected costs are often a surprise to travelers.
“Wow! “Wow! I blew my budget!”
I didn’t think drinks would be so expensive!
This place is much more expensive than I expected.
These people are not planning, and I shake my head whenever I hear them.
Do not be like them. Avoid the traps that will have you returning home much sooner than you wanted (and with much less money).
You can start by reading my travel guide to more than 300 destinations.
It would be best if you wrote down everything you plan to do. Include the location, what you intend to do, and how much it will cost. Include your food, travel, flights, accommodations, insurance, activities, booze, and other expenses.
This post will not cover how to plan and save for your vacation. There are a ton of posts that will show you how. You can find it here.
- Keep track of your expenses.
You should keep track of all your expenses while on the road. The people forced to leave early have no idea what they have spent on the road.