How to Travel in Luxury

… Without Busting Your Budget

One of the questions every traveller has before leaving home is, “How much money will I need?” It’s a good question, and one we’re currently analysing backwards and sidewards, because when you LEAP out of your comfort zone you’re forgiven to question whether you will be able to afford it for the long term — or like forever.

So how are we dealing with this whole budgeting scenario right now?

Is it possible to budget for a nomadic lifestyle, and if so how do you do that?

John and I are currently reading many location independent blogs, books, and articles. One of the books I read last week was Nomadic Matt’s, “How to Travel the World With $50 a Day.”

I loved Matt’s book, because it was choc-a-bloc with useful tips on travel budgeting.

From luxury, no-expenses-spared traveller to budget-conscious nomad.

Until now, John and I have never had to worry about our travelling budgets. We freely travelled the world; as backpackers and business entrepreneurs + never once had to count the dollars, or question whether we could afford a specific souvenir, an organised trip, or a meal.

To be honest I don’t want to be one of the suckers who arrive in Machu Picchu — only to be stuck at the entrance gate, because he can’t afford the entry fee. It doesn’t make sense to go travelling + then worrying about whether or not you can afford the donut with the cup of coffee.

When we travel we don’t want to worry about costs, because we work hard + travel is our way to enjoy the fruits of our labour. However…

Seeing we’re about to embark on a trip that will last for years (if all goes to plan), we have to be a little more cautious + come up with some semblance of a budget (if only to keep us on track!).

We aim to spend $50/day — per person.

And we’re going to report from the road as to whether this is possible or not, for us.

Unlike Matt who likes to couch surf on other people’s couches for free we have no intention to doing that (unless we receive an impromptu invitation from new friends, of course). But we’re not going to budget for “FREE sleeps.”

Instead we plan on finding affordable apartments: on sites like AirBnB, and settle in a place for a minimum of 30 days, to keep costs down.

We also plan on staying with local host families where possible — you pay them money in exchange for a bed, and a chance to explore new cultures + languages.

From Queen Elizabeth luxury cruise travels to watching our expenses in Japan.

We probably picked the two worst spots to start our travels as far as budgeting goes — a cruise on the world’s most expensive luxury cruise liner, the Queen Elizabeth, followed by a 54-day stay in Japan.

Bring on the challenge, I say!

This means that right from the get go we’re already way over our budget. By the time we arrive in Vancouver, Canada (82 days into our odyssey) we’ve already budgeted for spending $70 a day per person.

Our current budget includes:

  • A 14-day cruise with the QE from Brisbane to Yokohama, Japan (all meals and balcony cabin included)
  • An apartment for rent at $30/day for the entire stay of our Japan itenary
  • 2 x JR passes (rail travel)
  • $40/day for food budget
  • A 14-day cruise from Yokohama, Japan to Vancouver Canada (all meals and balcony cabin included)

We’re currently clocking in at around $70/day per person, including all the bits mentioned. Here’s what we haven’t budgeted for yet: cruise cocktails, entry fees, and other bits + pieces we don’t know about yet.

We plan on lowering the average expenses per day over the long term!

We may be hitting the road (or the high seas) with a larger budget, but we’re confident that we’ll manage to lower our daily spend over the course of a full year’s worth of travel.

One of our plans is to travel through Central America. And based on what we read, we already know that the average daily spend is way lower in those regions than it is in places like Japan, or North America.

The only way to know for sure is to get there first, and then to recalculate our actual budget.

What do you think? Is it possible to travel the world for $50 a day? Have you done it? Please share your thoughts below.

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