Logistics of RTW travel – part 3: How to create your savings budget

Now that you know how much money you’re going to actually need for your trip, creating a savings budget is pretty simple (actually sticking to it may be another story…).

STEP ONE
Take your summary from STEP EIGHT when you did your spendings budget back out again:
TRANSPORT: $4,600
ACCOMMODATION: $2,850
SPENDING: $2,400
INSURANCE: $400
COSTS AT HOME: $1,700
TOTAL FOR TRIP: $11,950
STEP TWO
Work out what cash flow you already have going towards your trip. For example, you may have already started saving a bit, you may be entitled to some holiday pay while you’re away, or maybe you know that you’re going to be getting a half decent tax return.
NEED: $11,950
MINUS:
Annual leave pay $2,000
Already saved $1,500
Tax return $500 (approx)
TOTAL: $4,000
STEP THREE
Easy maths: how much do you need between now and when you want to start your trip?
Currently: January 2017
Travel starts: January 2018
Need: $7,950
STEP FOUR
Break it down to less scary numbers:
1. Need $330 per person, per month for 12 months
2. We both get paid fortnightly, so we each need to put away $165 per pay
And that’s pretty much all there is to this part! Like I said, once you know roughly how much you’re expecting to spend on your trip, it’s super easy to work out what to save. Sticking to the budget can be hard, but one of the best things I’ve ever done was to open a separate travel bank account. Now, every pay day, whatever I need for my next trip goes straight into that separate account, not to be touched until I start booking and paying for it!

Logistics of RTW travel – part 2: How to create your spendings budget

Happy new year! Just like that it’s 2017… and if you’re like most people who make New Year’s resolutions, chances are that you’re in the high percentage who vow to live a fuller life (yes, you can Google stats on resolutions). And further to that, for a lot of people these days, living life to its fullest involves adventure and exploration and travel, myself included.

For better of worse, once I get a dream into my head, it can quickly escalate into an idea, and a pretty concrete plan on how to turn it from dream to reality follows shortly thereafter. I’m an auburn-haired Italian Scorpio – all of the traits for being head-strong/stubborn are with me. That’s why I wanted to start my 2017 blogging with something practical and helpful for the other adventurers and dreamers out there; the next part in my how to travel series 🙂

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Now that you know where you’re going and how long for, its time to start on the budget. Yes, its tedious. Yes, it can take a bit of the romance and spontaneity out of travelling. And yes, some people can get away without it. But when you’re planning to travel for 4 months while keeping up with your mortgage repayments and bills back at home, not taking out a personal bank loan, and not using a credit card so you return completely debt free (and you’re not rich), you have to budget.

This is a daunting task, and unfortunately the point at which most people give up on their travel dreams. That annoys me because while it may be a little time consuming, it’s actually not that difficult. There are a lot of different methods people use to budget for travel, be it short or long trips, but this is the method I use.

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It’s a two-parter, working out first how much money you’re going to need for your trip, and then how you’ll save it in time. Today, we’ll start with part one (duh). Again, this was all done using my Evernote app, which I highly recommend – alternatively, open up a new word document to get planning!

*** Before you start reading, please note that I’ve used a quick, three week example rather than my own itinerary, because it’s way too long, and I’m also basing this all on a 2 person trip. Adjust as needed 🙂

 

STEP ONE
The first step is to set out a template that you’ll be able to fill in – there are obviously several ways to do this, but here’s how I set mine up:

*** TRANSPORT ***
FLIGHTS:
01 January : Melbourne – Los Angeles
02 January : Los Angeles – Calgary
08 January : Calgary – Ketchikan
12 January : Ketchikan – New York City

HIRE CAR:
7 days hire Calgary (02 – 08 January)
TRANSPORT TOTAL:

 

*** ACCOMMODATION & SPENDING ***
LOS ANGELES (01-02 Jan)
– Accommodation:
– Sightseeing:
– Food:
– Other spending:

CALGARY (02-08 Jan)
– Accommodation:
– Sightseeing:
– Food:
– Other spending:

KETCHIKAN (08-12 Jan)
– Accommodation:
– Sightseeing:
– Food:
– Other spending:

NEW YORK CITY (12-20 Jan)
– Accommodation:
– Sightseeing:
– Food:
– Other spending:

ACCOMMODATION TOTAL:
SPENDING TOTAL:

 

*** INSURANCE & VISAS ***
Insurance:
Visas:

TOTAL:

 

*** COSTS AT HOME FOR 3 WEEKS ***
Mortgage/rent:
Utilities (gas/water/electricity):
Insurance (home/car/health):
Phone:
Other:

TOTAL:

 

STEP TWO
Now that you have your template, the hard work begins. With the flights, I’m fortunate enough to be able to do it all myself, given that I’ve worked as a travel consultant for several years and know exactly what I’m looking for. I know this is obviously not going to be as simple for others, so there are two ways to approach this:

1. For the bigger international flights (for example, our big ones will be Melbourne to Los Angeles, New York to London, Rome to Osaka, Bangkok to Melbourne), enlist the help of a travel agent. Shop around until you find one you are comfortable with and trust, because its a mammoth task, and the right partner can make it a hell of a lot easier and fun, rather than stressful.

2. For the “smaller” domestic flights, like Los Angeles to Calgary and Calgary to Ketchikan, get on a website like SkyScanner, Kayak, Webjet etc, and check them out yourself. Flights are generally released 10 months or so in advance, so if your dates aren’t available, just compare a few random dates to get a rough price range.

If you have trains or hire cars, do the same for them, too.

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STEP THREE
Update that part of your template…

*** TRANSPORT ***
FLIGHTS:
01 January : Melbourne – Los Angeles
Emailed travel agent, $950-$1200 one way per person

02 January : Los Angeles – Calgary
Checked SkyScanner, $180-$300 pp

08 January : Calgary – Ketchikan
Checked SkyScanner, $290-$400 pp

12 January : Ketchikan – New York City
Checked SkyScanner, $350-$450 pp

HIRE CAR:
7 days hire Calgary (02 – 08 January)
Auto with aircon through Avis, approx $500
Plus gas

TRANSPORT TOTAL: approx. $4600

 

STEP FOUR
Research accommodation next. Again, don’t worry too much about the exact dates; you’re just looking for a rough price range. Use sites and apps like Airbnb or Booking.com to compare options, and fill in what you find.

 

STEP FIVE
Look at any anticipated sightseeing costs, as well as a guesstimate on what you might spend on food and other stuff (shopping, souvenirs, etc). The easiest way to guess at this would be working out how much per day you might spend on food (eg $30 per person per day) multiplied by how many days you’re away for. Again, it doesn’t need to be precise, just a rough estimate.

*** ACCOMMODATION & SPENDING *** for 2 people
LOS ANGELES (01-02 Jan)
– Accommodation: $150 (at airport)
– Sightseeing: –
– Food: $50
– Other spending: –

CALGARY (02-08 Jan)
– Accommodation: $800 (2 nights Calgary, 5 nights Banff)
– Sightseeing: $150 national parks pass
– Food: $200
– Other spending: $200

KETCHIKAN (08-12 Jan)
– Accommodation: $500
– Sightseeing: –
– Food: $250
– Other spending: $300

NEW YORK CITY (12-20 Jan)
– Accommodation: $1400
– Sightseeing: $40pp 7 day metro pass
$35pp Top of the Rock tickets
– Food: $500
– Other spending: $600

ACCOMMODATION TOTAL: $2850
SPENDING TOTAL: $2400

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STEP SIX
Factor in travel insurance! Get a few quotes, compare what they all cover you for, and add that in. Also, costs for any visas.

*** INSURANCE & VISAS ***
Insurance: $400
Visas: N/A

TOTAL: $400

 

STEP SEVEN
Lastly, some of you may still need to factor in costs at home. For my quick three week example, not so relevant, but absolutely necessary for our 4 month trip! It’s probably a safe assumption that most if us do the internet banking thing these days, so just check your last few debits, and add anything else that is applicable.

*** COSTS AT HOME FOR 3 WEEKS ***
Mortgage/rent: $1200
Utilities (gas/water/electricity): $250
Insurance (home/car/health): $250
Phone: $80pp
Other: –

TOTAL: $1700

 

STEP EIGHT
Now that you have all that information, put it all together in summary form:

TRANSPORT: $4,600
ACCOMMODATION: $2,850
SPENDING: $2,400
INSURANCE: $400
COSTS AT HOME: $1,700
TOTAL FOR TRIP: $11,950

 

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Hold onto all of that now, because you’ll need it for the next step of creating your savings budget!

I always wanted to go to Disneyland.. let’s start with EuroDisney!

Hi, I’m Jess, and sometimes I’m a 6 year old kid in a grown woman’s body. Whatever.

I’ve always wanted to go to Disneyland. I realised I wanted to even more when I realised that every member of my family bar me had been to a Disneyland; dad and my youngest sister went to Disneyland in California a few years ago when my sister was in America on a basketball trip and dad went along. Mum and my other sister went to EuroDisney on a trip they took to Europe a few years ago. Apparently I was forgotten about.

As with most things in my life, once I realised, my attitude snapped to “stuff it, I’ll get myself to Disneyland!” and found a way to weasel a few days in Paris to our already packed Egypt/Euro trip last year. Luckily, husband is also a child at heart!

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

First things first – I point blank refused to do anything until I had a set of ears perched upon my head. Into the gift shop we went, I grabbed my Minnie Mouse ears, and joined the line behind one very excited little girl, clutching her princess costume like it was the crown jewels. The man at the counter was as excited as she was, as he put her purchase through, and proceeded to help her into her new princess dress over the top of her little jeans and coat, and settle her tiara on her head, while mum looked along with gleaming eyes and a beaming smile. This was big, because usually I really don’t like kids, especially when they hold me up. That’s when I realised that regardless of your actual age, everyone is a kid at Disneyland!

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

I got pretty excited at Alice’s tea party set up – and yeah, those ears didn’t come off all day, despite the horrible headache they started to give me! While we were waiting our turn for me to jump on the chair to get this photo taken, I noticed a lady giggling in my general direction… apparently, after looking around, I was the only adult to be seen wearing ears…. meh!

 

One of the highlights though had to be Sleeping Beauty’s castle… it is gorgeous inside, particularly the stain glass windows…

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

Anyway, enough of the photos… the point of this post, other than allowing me to re-live one of the most fun days I’ve had in a very long time, was that there is a world of possibility out there. And it might seem big, it might seem small, simple, unachievable, unimportant in the scheme of things, selfish, life changing, whatever. If you want it, please find a way to do it. Visiting Disneyland was in no way my biggest goal in life, but it was something fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things that I did want to do. If going to Egypt was my proof that I could make my big dreams come true, then finally getting to (a) Disneyland was my proof that little dreams are important too, and, everyone else be damned, if you want those little dreams, then just go for them. Even if you are the only idiot over 10 years old running around in Minnie Mouse ears. Screw it.

 

Also, I’m finally actually going to the original, California Disneyland this year, as part of another dream – a 6 week trip around the USA, with stops in Canada and Mexico  : ) Ain’t nothin gonna stop this dreamer now!