Posts Tagged ‘budget travel’

Saving for a Life of Travel
Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Kayaking Milford Sound“Are you guys millionaires or something?” That’s often the response when we tell people we’ve been traveling the world for the past four years on our HoneyTrek. We aren’t rich, but we are diligent savers and big dreamers. After working in New York for ten years and putting away as much money as possible, we decided life was short, the world is big, and there would never be a better time to travel than now. Averaging under $40 per person per day, we’ve explored 44 countries (and counting) across 7 continents. Here is our strategy and a few tips you can employ when saving and planning for your own lifetime of unforgettable travel.

Outline Your Itinerary

Determining where you’d like to go and for how long will largely determine your budget. Remember, there are plenty of extremely beautiful and affordable regions of the world (Southeast Asia, Central America, Eastern Europe, etc), and you don’t need to visit them all in one shot. Laying a linear path from one place to the next will reduce your transportation costs and stress level. To help figure out your required budget, based on your travel speed and destinations, check out this handy RTW Country-Cost Calculator we built.

Evaluate Your Funds

Now that you have a ballpark cost for your dream RTW, you need to compare that number to the balance in your savings. If your bank account is a bit light you can swap out some of those expensive countries, travel slower, and start an intense savings plan until you reach your goal. Follow our small-dose savings strategy in the next section and you’ll be on the road in no time.

1-3how do we budget

Small-dose Saving

If you save just $10 a day for two years you will have enough money for a 6-month RTW. Save $13 a day for three years and you can globe-trot for an entire year. To help yourself stay on track and keep your hand out of the cookie jar, open a separate travel savings account ASAP. If you don’t have a steady paycheck and financial flow, check out DigIt.co which will automatically fill your travel savings account when you have extra cash, and scale back your contributions when times are tight. And if you have complex questions on saving, you can always reach out to the financial planning pros for some advice.

Ways to Cut Expenses

First, you will need some basic self-restraint, like going out less and avoiding impulse buys (yes, that cappuccino counts). Go through your monthly expenses and see where you can cut or switch to cheaper services. Swap your $150 cable bill for a $0/month digital antenna, switch to a cheaper phone plan (ours went from $100 to $40 a month with AT&T’s Go Phone Plan), and find more ways to trim your bills.

Make Extra Cash

Make money using the skills and the things you already have. AirBnB the extra room in your home, sell excess stuff on Ebay, rent your car on a peer-to-peer sharing site like GetAround, pick up part-time gigs like babysitting, dog walking, or driving for Uber and LYFT. Check out CompareAndShare.com for more opportunities in the sharing economy. Be diligent and get creative!

Budgeting on the Road

Prices vary greatly between countries so you will have to adjust your daily budget accordingly. Just because a place is cheaper, doesn’t mean you should splash out. Be as frugal as possible on expenses (food, lodging, transportation) so you are able to splurge on the things that are unique to the region (a base camp trek, scuba trip, safari, cultural outting, etc.) and the occasional treat. Always bargain. Before you start negotiating, learn the local prices on typical goods and services so that you have a benchmark to work from. Vendors in developing countries usually start 2-3 times higher than the price they are willing to accept. Remember to save where you can and spend when it counts.

Mike & Anne from HoneyTrek

Becoming a Life-Long Saver

Managing a finite amount of money for an extended period of time is similar to that of retirement. Getting this practice earlier in life, teaches you to be creative, resourceful, and prioritize your spending for unforgettable experiences. We realized we didn’t need a million dollars to explore the world and that we won’t need a fortune to retire…travel has taught us how to live a simpler and richer life and that you don’t need much to be happy.
By Mike & Anne Howard, Founders of HoneyTrek & RTW Packing List
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Disclosure:  This post was brought to you via Fisher Investments, however all opinions expressed here are the author’s own.

Exploring Phnom Penh on a Budget
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Phnom Penh has been a capital city of Cambodia since 1866. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it was the capital city of the Khmer empire – one of the major powers in Asia, covering area of today’s Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Nowadays, Phnom Penh is the second most visited city in Cambodia after Siem Reap. And Cambodia itself is becoming more popular with travelers, including career breakers.

The more tourists, the higher prices – that is one of the rules in Cambodia. Therefore, traveling in the area on a budget is getting more and more difficult. However, you can still add Phnom Penh to your career break itinerary and explore the city on the cheap by following some of these tips:

1. Never stay at The Lake area

All backpackers, once they get to the city, head straight to the Lake area in order to find a cheap accommodation. This area is full of cheap hostels; however once you stay anywhere else in Phnom Penh, you can save a lot of money finding much cheaper and nicer places to stay overnight.

2. Use local transport, avoid taxis and tuk-tuks

Phnom Penh is one place in Cambodia where there is a great variety of transport to choose from, so you can easily get around the city anytime you want. Various means of transport require different amount of money, so knowing the prices is one of the most useful thing to know. Especially when you are a budget traveler.

If you want to save some money, take local buses. They are slow, old, smoky and terribly loud, but also the cheapest when it comes to price. They run on long routes as well as short distances and you can catch them from nearly any street. You also do not need to book them in advance as the tickets are always available. Tickets can usually be purchased at points scattered around guesthouses and hostels. Moreover, you can rent a bike for just 1 or 2 dollars per day, which would be worth it in a long run.

Avoid taking motorbikes, taxis and tuk- tuks. Prices for the ride are always different as they must be agreed before you decide to take a ride and you need to bargain a lot. Otherwise, you will get ripped off, just like most tourists.  If the driver does not want to give you a reasonable price, then turn around and keep walking till he starts shouting after you. That is the best way of negotiating the price you really want. Most of the prices start from 4000 Riels ($1) no matter how long your ride is.

Shared taxis are a nightmare. These are ordinary cars which can carry up to 8 people (passenger sitting next to the driver pays double). Car rental is horribly expensive. Road conditions also leave much to be desired – but the main routes (kept in good condition) are mostly sandy, rocky and dangerous. The only place you should go by car with a driver is to Phnom Kulen near Siem Reap. Prices are high but as long as you travel with more than 3 people, they are still affordable.

3. Grab local street food, avoid restaurants with foreign food

You are in Cambodia, so use this opportunity and eat as much local food as possible. As you will notice, street food is sold everywhere, nearly 24/7 and there is a great variety, ranging from noodle soup to any rice meals, so there is no way you will not find the food that you like. Are you a big fan of fruits and vegetables? That’s great. You can find vegetable and fruit markets on every corner. Bargain a lot in order to get as low price as possible.

Take some fellow travelers with you so you can order more dishes and pay less and the bill will be shared. Never dine out in restaurants where foreign food is being served. These are the most expensive places where you pay some extra money for the service. Want to have a nice burger or a pack of fries? Wait till you get back home, it will taste much better. Swap your McDonald’s meal for a huge bowl of rice – it’s much healthier and cheaper!

4. Learn some Khmer

Depending on how long you are planning to stay in Phnom Penh (or any place in Cambodia), knowing some basic Khmer words can help you a lot, especially with haggling. As you probably know, going off-the-beaten-path places is much cheaper, but also more difficult when it comes to interactions with local people. Therefore, in order to understand people and be understood, buy a mini dictionary and try to learn some words by heart. Keep practicing every day and you will see how much your language skills will be appreciated by locals. The more words you learn and the more Khmer you can speak, the cheaper prices you can bargain.

5. Pay in local currency

Khmer people can be really tricky. They quote the prices in American dollars, but give you the change in their currency – riel. By doing this, they make you think the prices (in comparison to the prices in your home country) are still very low so you don’t need to bargain.

That is the most common rip-off in Cambodia. Before you purchase anything, check how much money locals pay for it and then you will know how much you should pay for it. You will probably pay more as Cambodians think it is unfair for foreigners to pay the same amount of money as locals, but you can at least know how far you are from the fixed local price.

Cambodia is still inexpensive compared to places in Western Europe, but you can keep your costs down – and immerse yourself more in the local culture – by keeping these tips in mind.

 Agness Walewinder is a Polish vagabond who, after graduation, left her comfort zone and set off for a journey of her lifetime to China in 2011. She has been constantly traveling the world since then (slowly, but surely as she says), living like a local for less than $25 a day. She is a passionate photography and adventure blogger sharing her life enthusiasm and travel experience with everyone around. Follow her adventures on etramping.com, on Facebook or on Twitter.

 

Travel in Style by Housesitting
Monday, January 7th, 2013

One thing that often holds people back from taking a career break to travel is the worry that long-term travel only involves living out of a suitcase on a limited budget. Taking that career break is all about adventure, which inherently means a rougher lifestyle, right?

Not necessarily. I am writing this today from Santiago de Chile, where my partner Dani and I are housesitting for two adorable Scottish terriers in a luxury condo in one of the most exclusive areas of the Chilean capital.

The owners have gone to spend the holidays with their family in Ireland. In exchange for keeping their home and pets safe, we are not paying a penny for our accommodation. While we love the free rent (who wouldn’t!) there is much more behind why Dani and I have become such avid housesitters over the past two and a half years. Housesitting allows us to travel full time and yet live a life filled with all the creature comforts most people have to give up when traveling long-term. 

During the seven weeks we are spending here in Santiago, the two of us have a three-bedroom, four-bathroom condo all to ourselves. Rather than a private room in a hotel or hostel, our condo is bright, sunny and we even have a fully-furnished terrace to spend time on, plus a swimming pool downstairs. There is also plenty of space for both of us to work out everyday, which means we can maintain our workout routine, which is difficult to do in hostels. The space is great for us as a couple, too. Traveling with your partner is such a tremendous privilege, but stuffing ourselves in small hotel rooms night after night, month after month, can be stressful.

Housesitting also frees up our budget. We are able to opt for higher quality food items at the grocery store, and we don’t have to say no to specialties like delicious cheeses and quality wines (though, being in Chile right now, even cheapie wine is delish). Rather than eating only in budget restaurants, we splurge more often on highly recommended places. On Saturdays, we walk to the nearby organic market (which we would have never found if we had stayed at a city center hotel) to pick up our fruits and vegetables for the week and then cook up any number of fun and healthy recipes. Having our own kitchen is such a blessing, especially because they are usually fully stocked with appliances like bread makers, blenders, crockpots and other fun items. During periods of heavy travel, we often have to grab whatever food is available and go, but when housesitting, we can stay healthy by being in full control of what we cook and eat.

With the money we save on accommodation while housesitting, we also opt for nicer buses or flights when we can and stay in better hotels when we get back on the road.

After 12 housesits on four continents in under three years, we feel confident in saying that, while each one is unique, one consistency we have found is that we almost always end up living in places that tourists would spent hundreds of dollars a night to experience.

We lived on a remote Caribbean beach in Mexico for two months, looking out every day at crystal clear water and working from hammocks. We didn’t just travel through Tuscany, we cared for four cats and a Bed and Breakfast which we had all to ourselves for ten days. In the hot Arizona summer we swam in our own private pool every day, and we will probably never drink water as fresh as we had in our housesit in the Bavarian Alps, where it literally flowed from the top of the mountains down out of the taps of our cottage. No matter where we have housesat, we can live like locals, go sightseeing and explore, but at the end of the day rather than return to a hotel room, we can sleep in our own comfortable bed in our own (temporary) house.

Some people housesit exclusively, but we prefer to apply only when we see an opportunity that fits in with our travel plans. There was no plan to housesit in South America, for example, but we saw the Santiago opportunity listed on one of the housesitting websites we use, so we applied and were accepted. The more experience we get under our belts, the more often we are accepted for sits. Every time, we recharge our batteries for just long enough and then get the itch to get back out and travel.

In this way, housesitting helps us maintain our zest for long-term travel. 

Curious about how we find all of these great housesits? There are several websites you can sign up to, but which to choose varies by where you are looking to housesit. We have done a full analysis of the top 20 sites in our book, Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting.  You will also find over 100 pages packed with step by step details on how to get started and how to get your first housesit, even with no experience. Break Free shows you:

♦ How to find housesitting opportunities

♦ How to write a stellar profile

♦ How to be an excellent housesitter and get great refereneces

♦ How to deal with issues of insurance, contracts and emergencies

The book also includes samples of profiles, application letters to model yours after and full checklists that both housesitters and homeowners can use (and print!) to make sure everything is covered before, during and after the housesit.

Dani and Jess are a German-American couple who left their adopted home of London and set off to travel the world in 2010. With the motto ‘Two Girls. One Globe. No Regrets’ they have since traveled through North America, Europe, Mexico, Central America, South East Asia and now South America, while running their travel website GlobetrotterGirls.com. The girls are digital nomads, street food junkies, public transportation masters, LGBT travelers, hotel enthusiasts, street art lovers, vegetarians, and avid housesitters.

Housesitting: The Last Frontier in Budget Travel
Monday, November 5th, 2012

MeetPlan….Go ahead and extend your travels for a few months longer.

Or, Go ahead and cut your travel budget in half.

Either way, we’re about to make your travels a whole lot better.

Picture this: Living for several months in a beach-side bungalow on a Caribbean island, filling your days with scuba diving and sipping cocktails on your patio while the fresh ocean breeze washes over you. Or how about spending a few months bouncing around Europe, wandering mouth agape through the streets of Rome and then cycling through the quaint French countryside, returning each night to a cozy residence filled with all the comforts of home.

Now, imagine doing this all for free.

It’s called house-sitting, and it may just be the last frontier in budget travel. House-sitting is essentially an exchange of services – you take care of a property (and often pets) in exchange for free accommodations while the home-owner is away.

Not only can you travel on a much slimmer budget (or, enjoy a much longer period of travel), but you can gain an experience like none other. Forget racing on and off tourist buses to see the big sights – instead, immerse yourself in a local neighborhood and really get a feel for life in another land. Enjoy a slower pace of travel and your own space to relax in after a long day of exploring.

We’re currently on our eleventh house-sitting job in three years, and it is our favorite way to see the world!

We’ve been able to explore nine different countries from one week to six months, and have easily saved over $30,000 in the process. We’ve strolled on that Caribbean island, taken care of a 10th century manor in Ireland, and immersed ourselves in a remote corner of Turkey. And even though there are moments when it isn’t all that glamorous – when we’re chasing other people’s pets through muddy fields or cleaning up after a tropical storm – it has given us authentic local experiences that are impossible to beat.

From taking a two week vacation, to a year long career break, to a perpetual life of travel, there are house-sits for everyone, and they are all guaranteed to give you a truly unique travel experience.

Learn how to get started today!

We’ve put our extensive house-sitting experience into How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World – an eBook jam-packed with information on how to become a house-sitter. It includes:

♦ A thorough analysis of the house-sitting websites to help you decide which to join;

Recommendations on how to write a successful profile and application letter, including examples;

Tips on how to be a good house-sitter;

Plenty of resources to help you plan for your house-sitting gig;

A discount to one of the major house-sitting sites that almost covers the cost of the book!

And much more!

Click here to buy How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World for just $19.99.

Dalene and Pete Heck are a Canadian couple who sold everything in 2009 to travel the world. They have spent over half of the last three years house-sitting in places like Ireland, Belgium, Turkey, Spain, Honduras, Canada, London and New York.You can follow their travels at hecktictravels.com, and find them on Facebook  and Twitter.

Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go