“How much money do you need to travel?”
This is a question I’ve asked myself many times over the years. When I was younger, I thought it was an unreachable amount. As a university student, I gave up the chance to travel in order to work for $10/hour and contribute a small amount to my education. Money means a lot when you are pouring it into a chasm of debt.
Then, I moved to South Korea and saved $15,000 in one year without really even trying. I went backpacking in four countries over the course of four months, and returned home with around $6,000. This was enough to last me through a couple of months of unemployment and a move across the country. When I started working again, I literally had less than nothing. I owed more on my visa than I had in my bank account. I still would count myself luckier than most, a few hundred dollars was the extent of my debt.
That being said, my attitude towards money was completely different back then. To go from nothing to $15,000 in a year feels like winning the lottery. I’d never seen that kind of money. And I wasn’t afraid to spend it. That’s not to say that I regret any of my experiences, but that I may have splurged on a few too many cocktails and five-dollar coffees along the way.
Let’s talk numbers
I assume that if you clicked on a link called How much money do you need to travel?, then you might be expecting some numbers talk.
In my experiences working full time, I’ve been able to save at least 1000 CAD a month (roughly 800 USD) by using some of the tips I previously talked about here. That means saving 12,000 CAD (or 10,000 USD) in a year is not that big a stretch. This includes paying for rent and utilities, internet, food, phone bills, health insurance, along with putting a little in a retirement savings plan each month.
But, what does that mean?
Ten-thousand dollars is a lot and a little. It’s enough to live like a king in Thailand, or to contribute to a down payment on a modest condo in some Canadian cities. The truth is that it’s all a matter of how you choose to spend it.
I plan to travel long term with my $10,000 (I’m saying that amount now because I don’t have it yet, but I’m working on it). How? By budgeting. By visiting more budget-friendly countries. By trading work for board. By creating a small stream of income online.
So, how much do you need?
You can get very real, find a realistic daily budget for a destination, decide how you will get around, and multiply that by a duration of time.
Ecuador = 30 to 50 dollars/day (for most travellers, but can be more or less)
I want to travel there for 2 months. So,
(30 to 50) x 60 days = 1800 to 2000 dollars
Or, say you have 5000 dollars and want to go for as long as that lasts = 5000/(30 to 50) = 100 to 166 days ( or 3.3 to 5.5 months)
But, here’s the truth
If you want to travel long term, and you have some start-up funds, you will make it happen. It’s possible. That could mean spending some time teaching English in Chile, or working at a hostel in Australia. It could mean a lot of things that are only limited by your creativity and determination.
How much do you need? My answer? $10,000. Why? Just because that’s what I can save in the amount of time I’m willing to stay in one place.
How do you address this question? Let me know your thoughts!