The Cost of Travel

by Roy on May 20, 2009

“I’d love to travel, but I just don’t have the money.”

Have you ever heard anyone saying anything along these lines? Maybe you’ve even said it yourself.

Whenever I hear something like this I am reminded of a common misconception that all travel is expensive. I estimate that two people, on a self supported bicycle tour, camping four or five nights a week, cooking their own food, and abstaining (in the main) from alcohol, could theoretically live on an average budget of $10 a day. I do not expect that we will be able to live quite as frugally on our tour, as the odd splurge here and there keeps us sane and enjoying ourselves.

Our budget therefore will be a more extravagant $20 per day for the two of us combined. Here’s a guesstimate of the breakdown:

Taking an average of 4 night camping and 3 nights spent in hotels per week, eating frugally, cooking mainly for ourselves and allowing a little for entertainments, I hope we can average US$20 per day for the both of us.

Let’s take it a step further and work out how much we’ll need per month, per quarter and even per year.

$20 per day

X 30 = $600 per month

X 12 = $7,200 per year

Add an additional 25% to this figure gives an extra $1,800 for overheads/insurance/unknowns

All in, that’s a total of $9,000 per year. When you consider that a two week package tour can set you back $3,000, this 9k doesn’t sound so expensive after all.

Now I’ll be the first to admit, US$9,000 is a good amount of money for anyone to gather together, however it is not beyond the reach of the majority of Westerners. Here an example of just one mental tactic to save money.

For each and every hour you work, put $5 in a jar. Every time you get paid, work out how many hours you worked, times this number by five and put that amount into a jar.

Say you work 40 hours a week. Each and every week you would put $200 into the jar (40hrs x $5/hour = $200). In three weeks, you’d have $600 – one month’s budget. To get the full 9k by using this method you’d have to work for 45 weeks, about ten months. Not that difficult really is it.

So you may not have the money to travel right now, but this time next year, where are you going to go?

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