Starting in just a few short days (eep!), David and I will begin a new adventure, where we will be moving to one new country every month. A lot of people have asked us how we can afford to travel like this, so I figured we should do a quick post outlining our budget.
Until the end of 2015, here’s what our monthly budget will look like…
Our Monthly Country Budget (for two people)
- Rent: $800
- Food: $300
- Flights: $480
- In-country transport: $120 (airport to apartment, day trips, etc.)
- Fun: $200 (treks, classes, massages, date nights, etc.)
- Misc: $100 (currency conversions, medicine, toiletries, etc.)
- Phone: $20
Total Budget: $2,020 USD per month
Breaking it down like this makes it so clear to me that travel doesn’t have to be that expensive. In fact for us, it’s actually cheaper to be on the road than it would be if we were settled back in the states. When we used to live in Washington, DC, our one-bedroom apartment alone was $1700! That’s nearly our entire travel budget!
I always feel like we’re missing something when we sit down to do our budget, so just in case, we’ve rounded up all of the numbers above. Traveling always seems to end up being more expensive than we anticipate! If things turn out to be cheaper then, hey, we’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Based on our past/current spending habits, I think this $2k budget will be more than doable. Of course, it doesn’t leave much room for luxury items like, oh I don’t know, highlighting my hair or buying a new camera (*sob*) but I’m prioritizing over here!
For rent, we initially started off with a budget of $1000 USD per month, but after researching places on Airbnb for a while, we realized that $800 was totally doable. In fact, most of the places we’ve booked are actually closer to $600! The only one that didn’t fit our budget so far was the Canary Islands in Spain which cost a whopping $1k, but I mean…that view <3 Plus, we felt so proud of getting our other places under budget that we didn’t mind a little splurge one month.
Only $480 for flights?
This number is actually an average of the cash flight prices we will be paying for over the next few months. So, for example, our flight from Nepal to Germany is going to be pretty pricey, while our flights from Montenegro to Italy won’t be quite as expensive. That averages out to about $480 per month.
We strategically organized our travel itinerary in such a way that we won’t always be making huge, ocean-crossing journeys every single month. For instance, Germany, Italy, and Montenegro are all practically a stone’s throw away in comparison to our flight from Indonesia to Nepal.
Another way we’re keeping these flight costs down is by using credit card miles to pay for a lot of our travel. Our flight from Europe to North America, for example, will be paid for using American Airlines miles. These flights are 20,000 points per person, which is by far the best deal available for us.
What about student loans?
So that’s the catch…Normally, our student loan payments would be somewhere around $400 per month and that is a huge chunk of change when you’re on the road. So we’ve both put our student loans on an income-based repayment plan, which means that we will ultimately have $0 payments (since, sadly, we aren’t earning tons of money). The major major issue with this is that we’re still earning interest on the loans.
That interest will definitely be biting us in the butt in the future, but we are consciously deciding to take that hit later in order to have the life we want now while we don’t have kids or a house or careers. Not everyone would agree that this loan strategy is a great decision, but we’re doing what we think is right for us :)
No Travel/Health Insurance??
I know, I know…don’t bite my head off. But we actually have never had insurance on the road and it’s always turned out okay. And in a lot of places (like Thailand) I feel like it’d be cheaper to just go to the hospital when you need it rather than paying a guaranteed $100+ a month for the possibility of something happening. It’s just sooo expensive.
Watch. Now that I’ve said all this out loud, something will go terribly wrong and it’ll bankrupt us…But whatever. We’re gambling on this one and hope it pays off!
Bonus $25 Off With Airbnb!
We’ve been longtime Airbnb users, and I seriously don’t know how this next adventure would have ever happened without them. Seriously, we would not have been able to afford a fancy hotel or have wanted to stay in a gross hostels for months on end. They are seriously making our trip a reality.
If you don’t already have an Airbnb account, you can use this coupon link to sign up and you’ll get $25 off when you book your first stay of $75 or more! That could be one or two free nights in SE Asia! Airbnb isn’t paying us to say any of this (although we will get a small referral credit), but we just seriously recommend Airbnb and want to share the love!