‘You don’t have to be rich to travel well’
- Eugene Fodor
Taking a sabbatical or extended trip can be an amazing experience. But as we all know, that experience can come at hefty price. While one of the most exciting aspects of a trip can be the planning phase, the amount of money required to partake in such an adventure can make us all think twice about each and every detail.
First and foremost, you need to know where you intend to visit. Some regions of the world are much more expensive than others. Europe, the U.S. and Australia are obvious examples of more expensive destinations. Consider visiting cheaper locations such as Latin America, southern or eastern Asia, or parts of Africa for better value for money.
Your travel style will determine your budget, both in terms of accommodation and for transport. Creature comforts such as private bathrooms are available in hostels and usually at a better rate than hotels. Shared accommodation and bathrooms may be the only option available for certain activities, such as trekking Mont Blanc as this is the format for the refugios.
Transportation will be one of the largest portions of your budget. Primarily because of the flights. The best value way to travel is to travel slow – with local transport. Travel like the locals and you’ll get the best possible price.
When leaving on an extended trip, the travel costs might not be the only expenses to drain your budget. You will need to carefully consider what you are leaving behind. Think how you will fund your outgoings back at home before you leave, or minimise every possible expense (for example renting out your home). Do this and it frees the mind, allows for spontaneity in your travels, and gives you a better basis on which to return.
Other costs will include visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, equipment notably (but not exclusively) a head torch, money belt, several padlocks, power adaptors, sturdy boots, luggage, food and drink, sightseeing, entertainment, shopping, communications, laundry and activities.
Beware the hidden costs! Airlines charge passengers to switch the dates or locations of previously purchased flights. If you plan to purchase an around the world ticket, or even just one ticket, then try to be very sure of your plans when choosing the locations and dates.
Cash or Currency Cards, Dollars or local currency? Take them all. The best strategy is to have a mix of funds and a selection of cards and a dummy wallet for that time should someone try to rob you. The US Dollar is a universal currency and will help in almost all situations (especially an emergency!). Today’s currency cards allows you to load a card with several currencies that you can then take out from local ATMs, many now without fees (fees are often on loading the card) . Always keep a spare credit card/bank card for emergencies.