Budgeting for Your Travels
Tom Griffiths, founder of gapyear.com writes...
Are you good with money; especially with planning and budgeting? I thought not - in fact, who is? Sorting out finances and deciding on a strict budget is something that most people struggle to do. However, there is a simple and effective way to do it.
This guide is going to subtley build you up to the fact that you're going to have to get your pen, calculator and brain in gear to do a bit of simple maths. We're talking money here, everybody's hated subject. You need your bank balance to be bigger than Everest and fatter than Pavarotti at an 'All You Can Eat For A Fiver' contest. Also, you need make sure your cash lasts. You don't want it running out at inconvenient times like halfway up a mountain in India when your donkey has stopped and needs another 50 Rupees worth of carrots before it can take another step...
Can I afford to travel?
Quite simply, the answer is yes. However, up until now you've probably been fooling yourself on this one - saying that it'll cost too much and you won't be able to save a decent amount in time. Frankly this is rubbish. You are only having these thoughts, because you've probably never really addressed it properly. Ok, now's the time...
How much will I need for a six month round the world trip?
Let's break it down. You know that it is going to cost you upwards of £800 for the ticket, £120 for insurance and then a couple of hundred for odds and ends, like backpacks, clothes, jabs and other stuff.
Your Gran has given you a £5 WH Smith voucher towards the cost of it all for your birthday and is in the process of knitting you a big woolly sweater to take away with you, unaware that 15 tonnes of green wool may struggle to find space in your 65 litre backpack. However, you thank her for the effort whilst declining your Grandad's old canvas army hammock to 'sling up under a tree like they used to do in Genoa in 1944!' You promise to send them a postcard.
How much does it cost to go around the world?
You know the expression: 'If I had a pound for everyone that asked me that I'd be a millionaire!'... well, guess what! There is no set cost for a round the world trip and there never will be. Some people will spend £1,500, others will spend £15,000. So, if you have this question on your mind, forget it. Time to think about things a different way.
What you need to do is work out how much you may need for your whole trip, from the time you leave home to the time you get back. If it works out to be more than you are going to have in your bank before you go you have three options:
- Earn more here before you go.
- Get a job and earn some more cash overseas.
- Spend less time away or make cutbacks on your trip.
Simple. You see, there isn't a lot of rocket science to this and it's not as difficult as some people make it out to be. To be honest, most people get so stressed about it that they usually make a complete hash of it.
The next step
To make sorting your travel finances as easy as possible, at gapyear.com we've created a FREE Travel Money Planner. It's simple, easy to use and is proven to get you thinking the right way about budgeting, saving and spending with a RTW trip in mind. Made up of a series of sheets, we recommend you download the entire planner, print it off and stick all the different charts up on your wall. They'll help you curb your pre-trip spending, logically work out what you'll spend on the road and determine how much you'll have to spend on essentials before you leave.
Most importantly though, don't treat this part of your preparation as a test or drag. Have a go at it when you are in a good mood and you'll enjoy the thought of working out how much money you are going to need. This stuff - along with all of the other pre-trip prep - should be one of the fun bits of your gap year, so treat it as such.
Finally, if the amount you calculate you'll need to have the trip of your dreams turns out to be much more that you thought, don't panic. Chill. Things will work out fine, as you will find a way. Whatever you do, don't be put off going just because a few numbers freak you out. If you do, you will miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime. Good luck and have fun.
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