When I first decided to take an #adultgapyear, I knew I was going to be unemployed and largely drawing from my savings. I sold almost everything I owned and rented out my house. But I still had a mortgage, insurances and other things to cover back at home, so those expenses had to be covered as well. But let’s set aside the USA expenses and look at how I budget while on the road.
Before my first flight was booked, I read a lot of different blogs about round-the-world travel. I tried to ascertain how much money I would realistically need each day, factoring in I’m not 19 and willing to couch surf and eat ramen every day. 😊
I wanted to also build in a "sunny day fund” for those moments when I wanted to dive into an adventure and it just didn’t fit my budget – SCUBA dive in the Red Sea, enjoy a wine tasting tour in the Duoro Valley, go glacier trekking in Iceland. It’s important to have a budget, but I didn’t want to look back on this year and wish there were things I did. I quickly realized that I didn’t need an epic meal every day (don’t read a bad meal, just cheap eats 😊) but having experiences are what one remembers.
So without further ado, I set my daily budget at $75/day which means ~$2,250/month and $27,375 for the year. My sunny day fund had an additional $7,625, bringing my full year budget to $35,000.
So how does that work?
I usually breakdown my budget a few ways. I know I have only $75/day, but that also includes flights into the country, car rentals, bus tickets, etc. – not just daily expenses. So, I usually need to combine my total days in a country (or to the next flight) into one trip.
For example, I flew into Portugal and knew I would be in the country for 2 weeks. My flight was $210. So I broke that up over the 14 days --- $15/day was deducted from my $75 --- meaning I now have $60/day to use. I then booked a hostel for $20/day, taking my daily budget down to $40/day. This is the budget I now have for daily transportation, food and activities while in Portugal. I keep track of all my spending on my favorite app – Tricount – that keeps a running total for this “Portugal trip.” I know in 2 weeks my total budget is $75 x 14 = $1,050, so I am constantly watching my running total in Tricount to see where I’m at. Some days I might spend less than my remaining $40/day and others I might overspend, but as long as my total spend in the 14 days in $1,050, then I’m right on target.
Keeping an overall “country trip” budget also allows for me to splurge on day activities. Maybe one day I join a wine tasting and spend more than my allotted daily budget, but then the next day I keep my budget low wandering around a park or partaking in free activities around the city. Budgeting is a little bit of a daily moving target, but if you keep track, you can stay on budget and still create some amazing travel memories.
Comment below if you are planning your own #adultgapyear or want to take an extended trip around the world! What's on your bucket list?