Updated: May 14, 2019
I have been on the road for a little over 5 months, and I don’t plan to stop! If you’ve ever considered long-term travel (greater than 6 months) but hesitated because of money, keep reading. I will talk about my tips and thoughts on financially planning your long-term trip.
Long-term traveling gives you the opportunity to explore the world on your own terms, meet people that will change your life and explore places that seem untouched. Long-term traveling is not just for people who saved up for years, it can also be for anyone who wants to, and desires to travel and see the world on an open-ended schedule. Make sure you remember that long-term travel will take hard work and dedication. One of the main things that stops people from traveling is money. But if you plan, save, and are sensible, then traveling can be a dream come true.
Here Are the 6 Steps To Plan For Long-Term Travel
Travel Planning Is Essential
A huge factor in determining the cost of your travels and how much you need will have a lot to do with the location. For example, sustaining long-term travel in South East Asia is a lot more affordable than in Scandinavia. Obviously, it is impossible to plan your travel if it is open ended, but at least if you have an idea on the different countries you are visiting you can plan accordingly. Think about what you want to see while traveling, and it may help you decide how much you’ll be spending daily. For example, if you are going to Australia and you decide that there are 5 tours/activities/sights you want to do, make sure you have more than enough money put aside for those.
Making a Travel Budget Will Help
As soon as you make that decision to travel, prepare your budget and don’t get distracted. A great idea before and while you travel is to create a budget. A budget will help you stay on track and reach your goals. Fortunately, I knew for roughly a year that I would be traveling long-term, so I planned my budget early. You can easily plan a budget up to 3 months before your trip, It’s never too late to start.
Excel is a great tool to use to plan and maintain a budget. Log all your income and your outgoing expenses. It’s up to you how in depth you go, I record every expenditure and earning for tax purposes, reference, and to have an idea of how much a country costs to live in.
A good tip is to add all the main things you want to do and their prices to the budget, with an allowance for social activities. This way you can make sure you have the money to do the things you want while traveling. It’s important to never lose sight of your goals, I mean the whole reason you started to travel was to see the world wasn’t it? Not waste all your money on useless items/partying.
Cut Expenses and Save
You should set aside a small or large amount of money every pay-check to start building your travel funds. It’s completely up to you how much you want to save, and I can’t give you that answer as it depends on your lifestyle. Even if you plan to work whilst you travel, save beforehand because it may seem like a great idea to get a job straight away in a new country, but it’s not that easy, trust me.
Don’t, think you need to save up for years. Three months, should do just fine. Determine what you can cut out of your life to save that extra $200 a month. Is it getting your hair done? Going out to eat? You may think that you can’t save any more money, but you can. Cut your gym membership, cut your Netflix account and cut the coffees. It all counts when you travel, you might as well get used to these cutbacks before to see if you can handle it.
A rule of thumb for long-term traveling, have $2,000 to spend, but have a bit extra as proof of finances – simply print your online bank information and bring it with you when you travel. For example, I have two bank accounts. In one bank account I had $2,000 I saved just for traveling. I printed a document stating I had $2,000 in this account. I also had $3,000 in my other bank account that I don’t plan to touch unless I really have to, I printed this out as well. When going through border control they may ask, “how do you plan to support yourself while in the country”. Then you can show them proof through these documents.
The extra cash in your account will also be handy for emergencies situations. Don’t let these amounts discourage you if this is not possible. Budget traveling is our specialty, and you can easily travel for much less. I know people that have traveled with $10 and people that have never had a concern about money.
Take Advantage of Travel Rewards and Travel Hacks
You will need money for your initial flight tickets and accommodation.
A great idea for booking an expensive flight is to use credit card bonus points that you earn. BAM! Your flight is now mostly paid for. If you want to find out more about which credit cards offer the highest sign on bonus points, check out this blog!
Your accommodation, rental car and other initial expenses can be purchased using bonus points with most credit cards, but you will most likely not have enough to cover all your expenses. But hey, who’s complaining? Even if you save $800; I would rather take that than nothing.
Book your accommodation through hotels.com/venture and Airbnb. For every 10 nights booked with hotels.com/venture you will get one night free. That will add up! Also, with Airbnb, you can purchase gift cards from store like Giant Eagle (and get fuel perks). Also, they have a decent referral program. If you’re not a member of Airbnb, sign up through this link to get $40 off your first booking.
These tips can help when you plan to travel and save you money which contribute to the financial planning of your trip. They can also help when you travel too.
Get The Best Bank Account for Travel
You will need money when you travel, whether it’s through working or to receive a care package from back home; this is also important if you don’t plan on having an income while traveling. Having money in your bank account is important before any long-term travel.
You should also have money already in your account before you leave which is important to keep in mind as some countries (Ireland, Australia) want to see ‘sufficient’ funds before entering the country.
My favorite bank for travel is Charles Schwab. The debit card Schwab offers will allow you to withdraw cash in any country at any ATM for FREE at the best exchange rate. This option is a huge relief and cash savings that should be considered before leaving to travel.
You want to look for options that allow free withdrawals (unlimited), no international transaction fees, free money transfers, and if possible, travel insurance. There will be a future blog on the best bank accounts for travel, so make sure you are signed up to the mailing list.
Make Extra Cash Before You Leave
The last few months before leaving is your chance to save and earn as much as you can. If possible, try to work some extra hours or even get a side job. There are so many ways to earn extra cash. Below is a list of ways to earn a decent amount of cash;
· Sell handmade gifts on Etsy
· Participate in clinical trials
I would recommend that you put maximum effort into earning money leading up to the date you leave. Every extra earning is going to help you go a long way when you travel, trust me.
Make it Possible
One of the reasons this blog was started is because so many people say they want to travel the world but don’t pursue it due to many different reasons, finances being one of them. Well, it’s impossible to travel the world without thinking about the financial part of it. If you are willing to take the time and create a budget, and more importantly follow it, you are capable of traveling.
Don’t let the thought of money hold you back in life, yes, obviously you need money, but it might not be as much as you think.
If you need help financially planning for an upcoming trip, contact us here.
Otherwise read The Truth About Being A Digital Nomad.