If you are reading this you either followed our “how to finance your World Trip” series or you stumbled upon this post by chance. If this is the case, you’re probably toying with the idea of taking a big trip. Maybeyou are researching on how to scrape up the required travel budget.
There are plenty of methods on HOW to finance a big trip. A lottery jack pot is one. So is a fortunate heritage. Or -more likely – you scrape up until your funds are somehow meeting your requirements. Easy Peasy? Not really. But absolutely possible and with some organisation easier than you might think at first. Follow our step-by-step guide to create your own budget and saving plan. After you drew your scratch line, focus on increasing your monthly saving amount. We put together more than 20 valuable tips on how you can cut down your monthly costs, Check it out if you haven’t already.
Being able to finance an extended trip isn`t something that is heavily depending on luck (*). It sounds corny but taking a family gap year is more a question of priorities, sacrifices, compromises, determination, more sacrifices and knowing how far one is willing to go to realise this dream.
In this last part of my “How to finance your World Trip” series I am introducing you to families that managed to put in practice budget and saving plans. It is not
Meet Cat from The Compass is Calling
Taking time off to travel as a family was something we felt we had to do. We had been living to work, and the balance was just not healthy. Making the decision to take the time off was easy. Planning and saving for it was the tough part. Because both of our jobs were location dependent, we didn’t have the option of becoming digital nomads and working from the road. We would have to leave our jobs to travel, and have no income for whatever amount of time we determined to take.
We started small, by creating a household budget identifying all our expenses, and planning to put EVERYTHING extra into savings for our time off. Our saving account was even named YEAR OFF so that every time we looked at our bank statement, or online account, it would remind us of why we were making the sacrifices we were.
We set a goal for our account. Having a goal was critical, because it gave us something to reach, and showed us what “success” was for our specific goal. In order to reach that goal, we made some decisions regularly to NOT do things like eat out, or go to the movies, choosing instead to deposit the money we WOULD HAVE spent on these things that day into our savings account. It was rewarding to watch it grow, and because we were all on board with the goal we consciously took these steps to achieve it.
How far would you go to reach your goal?
As we got closer to our departure, we sold things. First through garage sales, then took bigger steps. We sold a car and then a house. Eventually we sold everything we owned with the exception of a few boxes we stored at a family member’s house. We were so surprised at how relieved it felt to get rid of things. What we had thought was important before, we realized it was just a thing. It didn’t make us who we were, and wasn’t helping reach our goal of taking time off – it was actually holding us back. Before leaving, the sense of freedom we experienced was incredible – JUST by getting rid of stuff!
Now, we are on the road, in our motor home, and loving every minute of tis lifestyle. It’s a tight budget, but we don’t need much anymore to make us happy! We are living our dream and that’s the most important part of this whole adventure!
Meet Mary from TheAbbottses and profit from their expertise in saving up a travel budget
Last year we decided to try and fulfil our dream of taking the kids to Asia. We knew it would not be cheap, and had set a budget for all 4 of us.
Things we did before travelling:
Spring clean our finances and have a weekly spending budget. Go through your direct debits and monthly outgoings – cancel anything that is unnecessary and have a good think about what you are spending.
Book flights months in advance using a comparison site -flights are cheaper booked furthest in advance as possible.
No spend summer! As we were travelling in the October, the summer prior we did lots of free ideas such as teddy bears picnic, disco bath, walks, free local events etc instead of our usual expensive days out. Bizarrely, we didn’t feel we had missed out at all and had a blast.
Reduce our food bills – this involves a lot of meal planning and organisation.
Set up a holiday account that I could transfer money over to every month and see the money grow. We set an target of 200 per month- sometimes we put in just that, sometimes we managed to put in more.
Go self catering! We are used to using supermarkets abroad and rarely eating out so this was no problem.
Research, research, research! This saves on the unpleasant surprises and means you can bring everything you will need
Use a good travel credit card – which means no fees on foreign transactions
Travel like the locals -avoid costly trips and use local transport!
Thank you Cat and Mary for sharing your experience and tips and save travels! 🙂
(*) in this context, “luck” is used to represent a contrast to “choice”. However, I am lucky to be born and raised in western Europe, with the privilege of education, nutrition and shelter as a basic right. I am not taking this for granted or consider it deserved. I know that even in my poorest times I am wealthier than many people ever will be. In this context, being able to move freely and wondering about how to take a year off is nothing but luck.