You guys, I’m not gonna lie, temporary unemployment is awesome. Especially with the surprise summer we are currently experiencing in Britain. I’ve lived and worked for my PhD in London for four years now and as soon as I submitted my thesis last month the sun came out. It’s like a sign from god, right? Stay out of the lab and enjoy yourself. How can I argue with that?
But then I can’t shake this niggling feeling that I shouldn’t be lying in the garden every day eating cherries and reading summer novels. There’s something more important.
It’s not exactly like I’ve got a job lined up in September: au contraire! I am actually leaving on a round the world trip in less than three months and my budget isn’t as cushy as I’d like it to be. To be honest, neither I nor my boyfriend Simon got anywhere near our dream budget for this trip.
So why am I calmly lying in the garden and not freaking out right now I hear you ask? Well, let me assure you, I have done my fair share of freaking out. I’ve had stomach aches, night mares and panic attacks (ok maybe not panic attacks) but after months and months of number crunching and researching the costs of other peoples’ trips I realised I will never know how much money we’ll need to travel for a year until we hit the road.
Of course you can make detailed budgets for every country and research the cost of activities like elephant rides in Thailand and zip-lining in Costa Rica (which I did). But the most important thing is to stick to your budget and be flexible. Why flexible? Well, when it comes down to it we will have what we have and we will have to make it work somehow. If that means cutting down my ideal Disneyland trip to two instead of three days (Simon is rejoicing) or spending more time on Fiji’s main island instead of the surrounding island groups, well then so be it.
We have already booked our place on the Inca trail and our round the world tickets months ago so we will have to stick to our route in some way. But we can still change the length of time spent in certain places, so we can stay longer in a cheap country like Malaysia and cut our time in Australia which is much more expensive. And there are many other ways of cutting down while on the road.
For example we have signed up for wwoofing (Worldwide opportunities on organic farms) and are hoping to cut our costs by working on some farms in Central America. This scheme allows you to work for 4-5 hours a day on an organic farm and get free accommodation and food in return. This will be a great way to extend out travels even when funds are running low.
And then there is the real ace up our sleeve: the Australian working holiday visa! When we found out about this (and that I am still eligible at my advanced age) it was like finding the holy travel grail. The visa will allow us to extend our stay in Australia for a bit by working for a few weeks (or months) to fill up our travel fund. We can then afford to carry on travelling in cheaper countries like Thailand and India.
So for now I’ll just lie in the sun for a bit longer and enjoy the freedom. After all, it doesn’t cost a penny to soak up the sun. As soon as we start travelling I will update our real-life country-by-country budgets for you to find out what it actually costs.
Stay tuned for my upcoming post about how I saved money for my trip and some guesstimations of the costs of a 12-month-17-country RTW trip!
Are you saving for an upcoming trip? How do you plan ahead? Or have you been on a RTW trip? What was your RTW budget?