People often email me to ask “How Much Money Do I Need to Go Travelling?” I thought I’d answer it here as a blog post which, hopefully, will be helpful to other people too. It’s the first in a series of FAQ blog posts that I hope will be useful. Let me know if there’s a question you’d like me to answer.
I remember well the frustration of earning terrible money in a very boring job. So I sympathise! The question of “how much money do I need?” is one that I can answer easily, though not by giving you an actual number.
- Save up as much money as you possibly can. Work hard. Live cheap.
- Do not be so hung up on saving money that you never actually leave. For young people life will only ever get more busy, more complex, with more ties to stop you leaving. Better to leave today, live on instant noodles and sleeping wild in a tent, than never to go at all.
Google will tell you everything you need to know about how to save money. Here’s a few pointers though: make a note of everything you spend money on. Try to cut back as much of them as you can. Stiffen your resolve by remembering this: “one beer in a pub costs as much as a day cycling through India. Upgrading your phone costs as much as a lot of cycling through India. And so on.”
Google will tell you how to earn money when travelling. It’s up to you to decide whether you’d prefer to live cheap and keep moving, or whether to stay somewhere and work for a while. There are pros and cons of both. I’d recommend you read Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. And this site is a handy guide to budgeting on your travels in different countries.
I realise this is not a very concrete answer, so here is my honest opinion on the matter of money:
- Block off a chunk of time when you will go away. Save as much as you can before that date. And then go. When you return, repeat the process. I’d rather do two cheap adventures than one adventure whose only difference was a posher level of food and accommodation. Just go. Being a dirtbag is a great time of life!
I have written a more detailed post about Money and Adventure here.