Getting Money to Travel Part 2: There is No Money Fairy (Research and Budgeting)

Sad but true about that Money Fairy… so, you have to be realistic about the money you’re going to spend. Spending a large amount of time overseas is always going to include the following up-front costs:

  • Return Airfare
  • Travel insurance (cant cost up to $1,000 dollars if you’ll be away for  12 months)

If you’re working/studying and need to get all your travel documents updated this might mean the cost of:

  • Visas
  • Passport
  • Vaccinations

Then there’s the daily cost of travelling, you’ll need enough money to sleep, eat, travel domestically and internationally plus have some money to do things that are fun to you – if you don’t even have enough money to buy a cup of coffee, what’s the point of travelling there?

My personal favourite way to find out how much money I’ll need every day is to use a Lonely Planet multi-country guide. This is particularly useful if you’re going to be travelling around a continent such as Europe or South America.

They can give you a guide of how much you’ll need each day for each ‘level’ of budgeting – budget, middle-range or luxury. However the ‘on the shoestring’ guides are designed for those who want to stretch their money as much as possible.

So if you want to spend two weeks in Austria, the smallest amount of money you can get buy on is about 50 Euros a day. Calculate exactly how much that is and ask yourself if you can afford it.

You can use the same guides to research budget hotels and hostels, the best in cheap eats and the best free attractions.

Figure out how much in reality you really need to save and how many weeks it’ll take you. $50 a week put aside for a year will get you $2,600 and that’s not including the interest gained.

If you’re starting to squirm once the reality of how much it’s going to cost to travel around Europe, then look at mixing up your itinerary so you’ll get more bang for your buck.

So after more expensive Western countries like France and Spain, get the plane or ferry to Morocco where you can live on 30 Euros a day, visit Egypt which is also cheap by Western Europe standards or why not explore the beautiful Eastern Europe countries? The Baltic state of Estonia and better value Mediterranean countries like Greece, Croatia and Turkey over Italy and Spain.

This doesn’t mean you can’t go to countries on the more expensive side of the scale – The UK, Ireland, France etc. But if you balance out the more expensive countries with the cheaper ones, your shoestring will stretch a bit further.

If that still won’t help – then you’re best bet is to go to a continent where your currency is very strong. The first continent that comes to mind is Asia (particularly South-East Asia), you might have to haggle over almost everything but even when they rip you off it’s still cheap.

Coming Soon: Part 3

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