Tag Archives: Money to travel

How does one get the money top travel long term? Or like a recent question that we got from a German lady who wrote:

“I love the idea of getting out of the rat race and spend my whole life travelling. But there will be food and gas that I have to buy. Where do I take the money from, when I’m not working?”

It is a very easy question to ask but much more complex to answer. It really depends on a lot of factors and your personal situation.
We are all unique with unique talents living our own unique lives. Therefore there is not one answer available that suites all. And as long as you are hoping for someone to give you the one and only answer you run a big risk of being disappointed. What works for us may be impossible for you or the other way round.

A very sad thing we have noticed through the years when we’ve been asked these question, is that our answers may even be more discouraging than encouraging. We can literally see the light and hope vanish from people’s eyes as they hear our answer and they often say something like: “Well we can’t do that”. They take our answer as the only way and then they use it as a reason to why it is not possible for them to do it.

And this happens no matter what our answers have been. Through the years our circumstances have been varying and accordingly so have our solutions been different to how we have made it possible to travel.

It is very important to us to do our best to support anyone who has a desire to go on a long journey. All our long journeys have been extremely rewarding to us and we wish that more could have a similar experience. That is basically why we started writing a book and also this website in the first place.

So nowadays we are very careful to offer quick solutions that have worked for us. We believe it is much more helpful if we can support, encourage and inspire you to find the quick solution that is tailor made for you.

To do that you will basically have to take a look at your own situation and also what you want your extended journey to look at.

We have met so many long term travelers through the years. From the wealthy ones, who stays in hotels and eats in restaurants every night to those traveling on a very limited budget and gets away with spending less money than at home. Yet others even make money traveling and can literally return home to a bigger bank account than they had when they left. Actually, money doesn’t have to be a problem after all… Even if you doubt this we are convinced that it is definitely a possibility for you to.

Someone said:

” You don’t need money to make money – you need creativity”.

We would change that to:

“You don’t need money to travel around the world – you need creativity”.

Our book: Extended World Travel is our attempt to, in the best way possible, support you to create the dream trip of your life, the perfect journey that suites your personal circumstances.

For you who are really determined to make your trip happen and are interested in getting some extra support, Maria will soon start to offer travel coaching. This will of course for natural reasons be a very limited offer and only on a first comes first serve basis. If you want to you can express your interest in an email to Maria at maria@extendedworldtravel.com .

The other day we decided to watch “Long Way Round” with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman again. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, this is a TV documentary of Ewan’s and Charley’s journey from London to New York on motorbikes. As the title suggests, they took the long way by setting off through Europe and then heading east through Russia and Asia all the way to Bering Strait where they would fly the motorbikes to Alaska. Mounting their bikes again in Anchorage they would then ride them across the American continent to New York.

Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman from Long Way Round

Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman from Long Way Round

First of all let me say that I do enjoy watching the DVD’s although this is probably something I would never undertake myself. But that goes for a lot of things I guess :lol:. Even if it is about an extended journey both in time and distance the focus is definitely on the adventure part. It’s for big strong guys and maybe not something where you would bring your kids along.

Still, it‘s very entertaining to take part of all the ups and downs. They try to cover everything from the planning and preparation to finally arriving in New York. You definitely get the feeling that a journey like that is not just fun all the time. There are also struggles and obstacles to overcome before as well as during the trip. But despite that and all the hardship, I suppose it’s an experience they wouldn’t want to have been without.

Right now as we are watching it they are stuck in the mud in Mongolia questioning why they are there and why they are doing this at all. They probably found an answer for it or they must have forgotten about it quickly since they later took on a second challenge of riding their bikes from England to South Africa. Putting themselves through all that hardship once more must mean it was worth it somehow for them.

So let’s see if there is anything interesting that we can take away from this:

• For anyone concerned about the very common money to travel issue. Here is for sure a way of doing it that doesn’t take money out of your pocket but rather put money into it. Well, that’s just my guess but I would be very surprised if it wasn’t the case since the TV documentaries seems to be big successes as well as the books. Sure it helps that Ewan is a famous actor (Star Wars, Moulin Rouge and other films) but still it wasn’t just a walk in the park for them either. All it takes I believe is a good idea!

• I said before that this is probably something I would never do myself, the obvious reason being that I am not really a motorbike person. But more importantly than that, I wouldn’t want to exclude my family to that extent. My personal choice would rather be to come up with an adventure that could include my wife and kids as well. Why not get on a motorbike and put the kids in a sidecar and tour Europe or the US for six month instead? It wouldn’t of course be the same but it would for sure be great for the family bonding.

• My third point is time. Give yourself plenty of time! Watching Ewan and Charley in Long Way Round often being stressed because of a tight schedule and not having time to stop and enjoy the present moment, kind of takes away the point of traveling in the first place. Traveling is not a race to me. It’s not about getting somewhere quickly or visiting the greatest amount of countries or cities so you have a nice and big photo album to look back at when you get home. No, it’s about enjoying the journey when I am out there traveling.

Still I enjoy watching the DVD’s tremendously. I am very grateful to Ewan and Charley for making this journey and documenting it all so I can enjoy the adventure from the comfort of my sofa.

What I would love to see in the future though is a documentary of an extended travel adventure with a family. To see how they experience it and what their challenges and rewards would be. I am sure it would be something that would inspire other families to set off on their own adventure as well.

Maybe a film like that has already been made and I just don’t know about it? If that is so we would be very pleased if someone would tell us about it. And even if it has been done I still think there is a market for a new one if someone is looking for a sponsored long term travel adventure with their family…

Maybe something you would like to do?

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When we were planning our first extended journey we basically had no money to travel at all, actually quite the opposite. We had overwhelming debts as our business was down the drain and couldn’t even keep our home. Still, it was in this desperate situation that the idea of going on a longer journey first did strike us. We had heard of WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and the possibility to work on farms a number of hours per day in exchange for food and lodging. And we could even do it as a family…

Not having money to travel can feel like being stuck. But there is always a way out!

Not having money to travel can feel like being stuck. But there is always a way out!

It didn’t turn out that way in the end though and we didn’t go WWOOF-ing in New Zeeland at that time as was our initial plan. But we did go on a longer journey. Life took some unexpected turns and we took off in an old (very old) campervan on a 5 month journey through Europe instead.

Looking back now, I realize that it was actually when we were experiencing the lack of money that our desire to go on an extended journey with the family was first brought to life. Prior to that situation, we had hardly ever thought about it. We were just so preoccupied with living our everyday life with all it included, like taking care of family and home, work and school and then just running out of energy at the end of the day.

Interestingly enough though is that the lack of money, which is the most common reason why long term travel is out of the question for most people, was actually the reason we left on our first longer journey.

How can that be you may wonder? Well, when we considered the possibility of WWOOF-ing in New Zeeland, we realized that once we’d arrive there, we would almost be able to “live for free”. We have some friends who did just that, WWOOF-ed around Europe for five years with literally now money (they even became parents along the way:grin:). This possibility just wasn’t available if we’d stay at home.

This is something that is so hard for most people to understand; you don’t actually need a lot of money to travel long term! It can be a lot cheaper than staying at home. Traveling short term though can often be very expensive.

And this is not something that just we are saying. It has been confirmed to us by other long term travelers over and over again. Here is a great article that describes how you don’t need money to travel to go on a long journey. Another example is this man which we’ve mentioned before and who twittered himself to the other side of the world.

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Travel insurance is not the most inspiring thing, at least not to me. It won’t get me anywhere, I will probably, or should I say, hopefully, not use it and it will cost me a lot. Still it’s definitely not something I want to go without.
We have always been well protected when we have gone on any kind of journey. And we’re very happy for the fact that we’ve never had to bother any insurance company with anything when we’ve been away (I’m sure they are too:lol:). There is this one exception though, a long time ago when our family consisted of only me and Maria and Viktoria was only soon to be. Maria and I had for the last couple of years been flying down to the Alps for a week or two to do some skiing. This year though we decided to drive and at the same time take the opportunity to visit some friends on the way. But only a few days after arriving at the ski resort Maria had some complications with her pregnancy. Maybe because of too much activity (the fact that she was 5 month pregnant didn’t hold her back from skiing both downhill and cross country and go swimming – on the same day, hmm) or the altitude, and was hospitalized for a week before being flown back home to Sweden. Everything was taken care of and arranged and also of course paid for by the insurance which was a great relief. I just don’t want to think about how much it would have cost us if we hadn’t been protected!

Sweden has, and I am rather grateful for that, a publicly paid health care system. It has for us personally permitted a lot of freedom. We haven’t been forced to hold a steady job or to pay a lot of money out of our own pockets in order to get the benefits of healthcare. And since Sweden is a member of the EU we can travel throughout Europe and still receive health care protection. On top of that, there is usually a 45 day travel insurance included in your home insurance policy. This obviously covers most travel insurance needs for most Swedes. When we’re going on an extended journey and outside of the EU we can buy an extension of the travel insurance we already have.

I am well aware of the fact that the health care system can look very different in other countries. Therefore it is very difficult to give any general directions for what is best to do and I have no intention of even trying.

All I want is to make it clear that you include the cost of travel insurance in your travel budget. You don’t want to find yourself in a place a long way from home needing medical assistances and not having the funds for it. Whether or not you should seek medical advice should not be a financial decision. It’s much better then to include the cost for travel insurance upfront and if you don’t need it then the better.

For a calculation of how much your travel insurance may cost you this little tool from World Nomands Insurance is a great way to start. World Nomads is the recommended choice for travel insurance both by Lonely Planet and Rough Guides and who are we to recommend anything else:roll:?

Travel Safely!

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Another area where you need money to travel is of course for living. One way or another we all need something to eat every day. And we usually want some money to buy nice things, do fun stuff and to get around once you’re in a new place.

Having dinner with new friends in New Zealand

Having dinner with new friends in New Zealand

As in our previous money to travel posts, there are also many alternatives when it comes to these expenses. It is possible to live on a small budget while you’re on the road. It is even possible to cut your cost of food down to zero which is probably cheaper than it is at home for most of us.

First of all it’s important to remember that no matter where you are, be it at home or out traveling the world, you will still have to cover the cost of living somehow. This is no extra cost that’s connected to you traveling and in that way not really money you need to travel. It is just money you need to live.

The most obvious way to keep the living costs down is of course to travel to low cost countries where your home currencies take you a longer way. And to really keep the expenses low – live like a local.

I remember when I was in my youth and spent 3 weeks in Thailand. This was long before it had become the huge tourist destination it is today. I ate at street food stalls and my cost for food was next to nothing. Then one day I passed a European restaurant and decided to try it for a change. It turned out that the prices were European too and I spent more money on that one meal than I otherwise did for probably a week.

If you come from a wealthier part of the world there’s always a risk that people will try and take advantage of it and charge you more than they would a fellow countryman who knows what things really should cost. Even so it is still possible to cut your food budget down to a level well below the one you have at home. And often it doesn’t bother me that I have to pay a little bit more than the locals since I choose to view it as free contribution and a way for me to share my welfare with them. I kind of prefer to support local business men than just giving to beggars.

But you don’t have to travel to low cost countries to keep your cost of living down, there are ways to live very inexpensively even in western countries.

When we for example traveled North America for 3 months using Network Travel and stayed in people’s homes, we not only had a low cost, or rather no cost, for accommodation but also for food since people wanted us to join them at meal time. We always offered to pay our part but were usually not allowed to. What we often did instead was to buy and cock some of the meals.

Organized network travel like WWOOF is another way to cut food costs. It is part of the whole deal with doing WWOOF-ing. In exchange for your work a number of hours a day you get food and accommodation. We have some friends who lived this way, WWOOF-ing around Europe for almost 5 years. They even become parents during this time and only decided when the kid was a couple of years old to settle down in one place.

So just like we write about in the other blog posts on money to travel, there are ways to keep the cost of living within very reasonable limits. It all comes back to what kind of journey you want. And this is a choice you have when you plan your trip.

Do you want to spend years before you’ll go on that journey to save money so you can have a lazy time spending it all? Or are you willing to travel in a way that keeps your expenses down and makes it possible for you to go much sooner?

Only you know which choice suites you the best.

Our experience is that when we travel in a more economic way, we have more social interaction and a better experience of the local culture and way of living than what we get when we just pay for everything. But then of course what we want out of a journey can be different from time to time.

Only you know what you need and what kind of travel experience you are looking for this time.

When you try to calculate what kind of money to travel you’ll need, even rather cheap accommodation often sums up to big numbers. But, and you have probably guessed this by now, there is an endless number of variations to this issue as well. We have written about some of the different ways to stay on our Travel and Accommodation page.
Cost of accommodation
Of course, a journey with a 5 star accommodations requires a totally different budget than if your choice is hostels. But even hostels cost something. There are also other ways to cut your cost, even for cheap accommodation…

Some of the ways to drastically cut down on your accommodation budget can be Home Exchange, House Sitting, camping in the wild or Network Travel

We, all 5 of us, once spent almost 3 months in the US only using Network Travel. It not only kept our accommodation budget to a minimum (as good as zero) but it also gave us a way to travel that took us off the beaten tracks. This also gave us the possibility to meet with people we otherwise wouldn’t have met and be a part of their lifestyle and traditions. It was a journey where we met many old friends as well as many new ones.

It all really comes down to what your travel plans are. How flexible are you and how important is cheap accommodation to you? Is it just a place to sleep or does it in a way lay the foundation for your entire journey? Or put the other way around, is it the size of your budget that determine your choice of accommodation and therefore the character of your entire journey?

With a big travel budget a hotel might be the easy choice but maybe not the choice that will give you the most valued memories.

With the multitude of ways to find a place to stay you surely realize that it is impossible for us to give a price estimation that makes sense to everyone. But we want of course to give you a little hint of how you can estimate what the cost may be for you.

Our suggestion is to start at the top and see what figures you come up with. A hotel booking engine, like the one below, is a way to find out just how much hotel nights in different countries and cities may cost you.

Likewise if you are interested in finding out what the price of hostels may be you can use this booking engine:

Some different aspects that may have an effect on the price for accommodation is also of course if:

• You travel off season – It is all a matter of supply and demand. Demand is usually biggest during school holidays.
• You travel off the beaten track – If you find the hidden places it is also possible to find prices at a different level.
• You travel to “Cheaper Countries” – Going to a country that has a favorable exchange rate is also a way to keep the cost down.
• You stay for a longer time – Buying quantities is a way to get a lower price also for accommodation nights.

As we mentioned in our previous post on this topic, we have split the costs up into different categories to look at them separately. The first one we’d want to look at is the actual travel cost. The traveling can of course be made in many different ways. In another earlier post, we mentioned some of the more common ones, like flying, driving, sailing, cycling and even walking. Yes, we’ve been reminded that we’ve left some out like motor cycling and hitchhiking. We are sure there are even more…
RTW ticketAnyway, some of these ways may not be so suitable for an around the world journey even if there are examples of people using them. Just a quick search on the internet and we found: an English man who drove around the world recently, a Korean woman who walked around the world for 6 years. And then of course, on motorcycle we got the famous actor Ewan McGregor who rode his motorbike the “Long Way Round” with his friend Charley Boorman.

For, what we hope, understandable reasons, we can’t possible cover all the different ways of transportation at this point. We may get back with an in depth look at the man who drove and the woman who walked, but for now we will focus on the most common way, flying.

Make a search on the Internet and you will find endless of hits for round the world tickets. But basically they all come down to the three major airline alliances Star Alliance, One World and Sky Team.

One World we think has the coolest booking engine, where you can go all the way to actually buying the ticket. This is great when you are looking for what the actual prices may be. Many of the other booking services have extra charges which you don’t know about until you’ve contacted them for the exact price. To do a test, we did some quick searchers for a RTW ticket including stops in Stockholm-Los Angeles-Honolulu-Sydney- Mumbai-Stockholm over a 6 month period. The total price on offer for that was US$ 3 150.

Another booking engine we tried offered, for a similar journey, a price range from US$2 350 – 3 150. But then, to get a more accurate price you had to contact them.

Anyway, this is a start. Our guess is that the lady taking herself around by walking did not spend that amount of money on shoes. But then, it took her longer to complete the journey. Instead of paying with cash she paid with her time and effort and got a totally different experience.

So what does this amount represent?

Well, to put it into some perspective, we checked what someone commuting in the London area had to pay on a monthly basis for a travel pass. If you live, for instance, within a 20-30 minute train ride of the very center of London, you would have to pay roughly US$ 200-300 a month. That would make US$ 1 200-1 800 for a six months period. And if you have the inspiration to go traveling for a year the amount of money you would save would be US$ 2 400-3 600. In other words your trip around the world would pay itself if you didn’t have to go to work!

We know there are probably a lot of objections to this comparison. But why? If you could make money by not commuting to an office in central London the money you were saving could actually go to a ticket that would take you all the way around the world.

The only trick now is to figure out how to make that money in some other way…

We are willing to admit that we are not RTW ticket booking experts and would therefore like to point you to someone who is considered the guru in this field – Edward Hasbrouck. Also check out his book The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World

That’s it for now. Stay tuned and we will soon take a look at some of the other costs…

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This is a question people often ask us and it would be great if we could just be able to easily give them a price estimation. But the amount of money it will cost to travel is unfortunately and luckily depending on a multitude of choices and decisions. Unfortunately we say because we can’t offer you a quick answer and luckily because it gives every one of us the possibility to travel around the world even though we may not have the money to start with.

What does it cost?

What does it cost?

There are, as we have already shown in previous blog posts and on this website, different ways of traveling which doesn’t have to cost any money, or at least not very much. Sometimes it is even possible to get paid to travel! Still, this is not for everyone and therefore we will make an attempt to describe how you can find out what kind of money you will need. What’s the point of finding out how much someone else needs? You’ll want to know what the costs will be for you….

To do this we have to take the whole question apart and look at the different pieces. On the How to travel page we did this by highlighting the different parts that make up what we call the Travel Stew:

• What to do while traveling
• Ways to travel
• Travel and accommodation

Relaxing on the beach can be great the first couple of days/weeks after having left a busy life, but what about the rest of your long term trip?

Relaxing on the beach can be great the first couple of days/weeks after having left a busy life, but what about the rest of your long term trip?

So before doing anything else, the best would be if you could describe your dream journey. Having a clear vision for your self will be a tremendous help to estimating the amount of money you’ll need.

The image of a dream journey is for many people a holiday with lazy time on the beach. And that is maybe OK if you only got a week or so at your disposal. But, and this is not just our opinion but the experience of a lot of travelers, it tends to get a bit boring if you are on an extended journey.

Anyway, before moving any further into the cost of traveling, you need to be clear on what you are looking for to buy. The same goes for traveling as for any other purchase. Buying something from the top of the line and expecting to pay a bargain price is not particularly common. You will either have to put up more money or lower your demands. But if you are willing to do that you can always find something suitable.

A couple of important aspects to take into consideration are how and when you want to pay. What we mean by this is that not everything has to be paid for with cash.

Sometime you can pay with your work, like for instance if you offer your time and labor in exchange for food and lodging by being a WWOOFer.

An alternative way to raise money if you are time rich but money poor is for instance to take a slow bus ride instead of a fast flight. You will get to the same destination but usually not at the same time.

And then you also have to take into consideration if you are willing to make some money during the journey or if you want to have it all in the bank before taking off?

So this money to travel issue is a major topic and we need to break it up into several posts. If you do have anything to add or specific questions don’t hesitate to let us know.

Please stay tuned for our follow up on the different aspects, and in the mean time do take the opportunity to look at what you want out of YOUR extended journey. Knowing that will take you a long way…

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