In two weeks we are leaving on our Bike Expedition and a much-asked question is how we saved money on this journey. If you want to travel for long-term like us, it is obvious you need to save money to cover your expenses. How however much depends a lot on your travel plans.
Create an overview of your expenses
To prevent unexpected costs it is important to create a good and proper overview of all your incoming and outgoing costs. Make a document and note all your current expenses and the ones you are going to have while traveling. For example rent, (health)insurance, pets, car, tv, mobile, internet, gym etc.
Setup your travel plans
Make a list of all the places you want to see, the visa’s you need and an average price of the tickets for plane/train etc. A very high expense during your trip will be accommodation and food, so it is very important to decide on how you want to spend the night. Are you going to sleep in a luxury hotel, or choosing for a more low-budget Couchsurfing or camping option? Are you going to prepare your own dinner or buying in a restaurant?
We chose to do our journey low-budget, so we can travel as long as possible. Since we’re going to cycle, we don't have a lot of transport costs. We want to camp in the wild as much as possible, use Couchsurfing or Warmshowers.org to cut out the accommodation expenses. We are also cooking dinner ourselves by yourself. We came up with a daily budget for food & accommodation at about € 20 per day for two persons and two dogs.
Scratch all the things you don't really need
Ask yourself, do I really need this … or is there a cheaper alternative? You can have a membership at the gym for € 30 a month or you can do exercises at home or take a run in the woods. Another example, we only use Netflix to watch tv, it saves us € 20 a month. It is not much but it saves € 160 on a year. And if you have more of those things you can save lots of money in one year.
Look for other options
We are not so fast attached to a place or city, so the past 4 years we lived in more than 6 different houses. The biggest costs per month is rent, which can also become your best chance to save money on. At first, we lived just outside the city center for € 750 per month for 40m2 and a very small balcony. To cut down the costs, we moved to a cabin in the woods and even lived in an old pharmacy shop. Our current house costs us around € 350 per month, so we could save an extra € 400 per month.
Tip! A very big cost-saver is to buy the items you need during your travels in sale or second-hand. Start early (like a year before leaving) to collect the items you need with traveling, many shops have great deals when a new season is coming. For example, we bought our tent with a 40% discount.
Sell your stuff
Items you don’t really need anymore? Sell them, the more you sell, the less attached you get to items. After all, when going on a world trip, you can’t keep and need all your old stuff. So the best way is to sell them in the months before your journey starts. Start early to prevent items not being sold before you start your journey!
Make a back-up plan
It is always good to have some backup savings. For example, if there is an emergency and you have to fly back to your home country. Or just to have some starting money when you finished your trip.