How Much Money Do You Need to Travel: Our Travel Budget and Savings Strategy

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We spread out visiting sights in order to save money
We spread out visiting sights in order to save money

If you’ve ever wondered how much money do you need to travel long-term or even indefinitely, I hope this post will be useful for helping you to plan your travel budget.

For me, the travel part is almost – but not quite – secondary. It’s the planning and plotting, scrimping and scrounging required to even contemplate a really long journey that excites me.

We aim to travel until my son is 5, which is school age in New Zealand. We will spend the majority of our time in lower-cost areas such as Latin America and Southeast Asia.

We plan to circumnavigate the globe, stopping in Asia on the way to visit Dave’s family in Ireland. From there we will head to Mexico via North America.

Taking into account our normal travel style – renting houses or apartments for reasonably long periods of time, having a coffee at a cafe a couple of times per week, eating at a Cocina Economica for lunch and cooking dinner at home, spreading out visiting major sights and using public transport to get around – I think we could get by comfortably on $60USD per day. So day to day life comes in at $21900USD or 27022NZD per year.

Then there are travel costs. We will use frequent flyer points to get to our first destination. After those have run out we plan to use low-cost airlines and/or buses and trains to get where we need to go.

Plus we like to travel slow and spend at least three months in each location so we won’t be moving around a lot. For travel, I have budgeted 2kUSD per year. Plus an additional $5k USD to get us home from wherever we are.

So far, our budgeted travel costs come to $52,800USD ($65,148NZD).

Two years worth of travel insurance is another cost; current rates on WorldNomads are around $1500NZD per year for a family. $3k for insurance – ouch! 

The other major cost is resettlement. We own our house (or rather we own a piece of it and the bank owns the majority) so we don’t have to factor a rental bond in. For resettlement, we have budgeted $2500 NZD which will buy us a cheap car. 

Another $5k will go towards living costs in case we cannot get jobs for a few months. We have also factored in two years of storage costs which come to around $4k NZD but we will negotiate hard on that when the time comes.

Our budgeted insurance, resettlement and storage costs come to $14,500NZD ($11,750USD).

So the total required for two years away and resettlement costs comes to approximately $79,648 NZD. 80K is our goal. Right now we are 70.58% there, we still have a whopping $23,477.41 left to save.

I’m looking forward to the challenge.

About Emma Healey

Emma is a recognised family finance and budgeting expert and founder of Mum's Money. Her advice has been featured in Readers Digest, Yahoo Finance, Lifehacker, The Simple Dollar, MSN Money and more.