Money and Worldtrips
We have been asked many times, how we can afford such a trip. Actually, this usually was the second question after the one about our planned route.
Of course, money may be one of the most important tools for an overland trip. You have to save money to buy a car, buy the equipment and have the possibility to finance a life with a shrinking bank balance. But there are different thoughts of money and world trips. Read ours!
Decide which type you are, this also influences your kind of traveling. What’s your comfort zone? Which activities you don’t want to miss, are you willing to compromise?
Low budget traveler
Living the most basic life, sleeping in the car/tent as often as possible, spending as few as possible, don’t be interested in expensive excursions etc.
Middle budget traveler
Liking the basic life, but allowing oneself a good treat/excursion etc. from time to time, maybe sleeping in a hotel sometimes, cooking for oneself most times or eating street food.
High budget traveler
Don’t care for costs; sleeping in hotels and eating in expensive restaurants more often, going on organized excursions.
Most overlanders like us, are between low and middle budget travelers. The low budget includes that we mostly don’t have to rent a room, but have it just with us. The most expensive parts are costs for fuel and all the bureaucracy (at the beginning of course the vehicle and the gear). But we also want to have the possibility to visit all the places we want, eat the local food (in fact that probably won’t be very expensive) and allow ourselves some good treats from time to time.
We are calculating with 1800 € per month (for two persons, including fuel, food, costs for sleeping, visa, health insurance etc.) for our trip to Australia. Additionally there are costs for following:
- Vehicle and all the equipment
- Extra expenses on the road (e.g. traveling through China and Myanmar with a guide, flying and shipping back from Australia, and different shipping during the trip)
- Deposit for CDP: hopefully we can use this money as buffer after we returned home
- Buffer for accidents etc. on the road
- Buffer for flying back home in case of emergencies
- Photohop Abo/Cloud Abo
- Money stock for coming home and don’t find a job immediately: maybe we can use the deposit from CDP for this case
In total, that’s a quite huge amount of money, we calculate for our trip! Be both worked for 2,5-3 years full time and had some savings from the childhood. When the bank accounts are empty, we will come back, but we hope with this calculation, we stay safe and still have some buffer.
We will report about spending each month/country on our trip.
Access to money
There are different ways to get your money for spending it in the world.
Cash from home – changing in each country
This might be the most important way of having access to your money: Have it just right with you! Obviously, there is a downside of having a big amount of money ready for stealing. But in many areas you won’t be able to get money from an ATM. The only possible way is paying cash. Sometimes it’s possible to pay with Dollar/Euro, but mostly you should change it where you get the best rates. Start comparing the rates and fees at the local exchange office, the hotels, at the filling stations and the dusty back parlor in the side road, and pick the best – and safest – one. Do the same when you leave the country. Keep in mind that you can’t change coins – invest in a souvenir or an extra dessert.
For transportation in your car, you should have your money separated in different hidden spots and fill them in the big cities, where you can get Dollar/Euros in the bigger banks.
This way of using money for traveling is kind of out of mode, and basically, we never used it, not even for travels ten years ago. If this is your favorite way and you highly recommend it, just leave a comment or write an e-mail!
Credit card and ec-card
The most common way of access to your money usually is via ATM. The local bank ec-cards normally charge a pretty high fee for withdrawal outside the origin country. More and more banks offer credit cards free of charge for withdrawal abroad. On the other side, there are banks with the offer of paying via credit card for free.
Another important point is: Don’t use just one credit card! Normally, you have a certain limit to withdraw in one day. What to do when you need more, for example for expensive repair? Also try to have different kinds with you. The best accepted ones are VISA and MasterCard.
Once in the USA Anna’s credit card got frozen from the credit card company for security reasons. So remember to inform your bank company about your planned trip.
Having this in mind, we decided the following method: We both have two credit cards. In Germany, the most common bank for withdrawal for free all over the planet is DKB. We have used their credit cards for many years now and are really happy. You just need to start a check account online, and have enough money on the credit card account, when they debit your withdrawals every month. Unfortunately, it is only available for German citizens. Recently, they changed their product. From now on, you need to have 700 € income on your account per month.
The second credit card we have already used for different trips is Advanzia Bank’s “gebuehrenfrei”. This one allows us to pay by credit card everywhere without any fees. The starting procedure is as easy as with DKB – just start online. You receive a bill every month and have to transfer your money from your check account, until the 20th of the coming month. It is very important, however, to do these transfers on time. Otherwise, sky-high interest rates apply!
In both cases we are able to withdraw and pay everywhere we go without a fee – but always keep in mind all your bills and payment deadline, otherwise you have to pay high fees for overdrawing.
Before starting for our trip, we both worked full time for 2,5-3 years, saved the most of our income and didn’t spend a lot. That would allow us to travel for around two years without the need of working in between (when we don’t want to). But of course, there are some ways to make some money during and with traveling. We are (not yet) the experts in this topic, but know some possible ways. Maybe we will try different kinds as well.
There are many many bloggers out there, who live from the income of their blogs and what comes with it (books, speeches, workshops etc.). The most common way (for starters like us) is, making some money with advertisement on your website, like Google Adsense (mostly – and recommended – fitting to your topic, like travel) and affiliate marketing (recommending gear and other stuff, linking to the sales page like Amazon and earning some money, when someone buys it via the link). But as always, it’s a long way to the point, where you can financially survive with blogging. As we are beginners, there will follow reports about our experiences. But at this point, more important for us is to write about our travel, stay in contact to friends and family and help other overlanders and travelers in planning their trip! If we get the money for an extra coffee each month, we are more than happy right now!
Depending on your job, you might be able to work during traveling as freelancer. There are different job boards in the world wide web. They offer jobs for web designer, authors, photographers, translators etc. In most times, a laptop and WiFi every now and then is enough (only the second one could be a problem on some back roads). Maybe your boss, according to your job, company and length of travel, can offer you an ongoing employment for the time of your trip in this way.
Work and travel
Well known from adolescents and young adults after finishing the high school or during the studies. There are different organisations helping to realize this. Or you just start with bell ringing. It’s more common in more developed countries like Australia or Canada where there are special Visa for this way of traveling (as in Australia the Working Holiday Visa for people aged until 31).
Volunteering (board and lodge)
Also a common way of getting the mind free after school or between the daily work routine. Anna worked in Bolivia after high school and could live and eat at her workplace in the day care center. For us, this is an option for our travel, when we discover interesting projects, where we might help with building, teaching, cooking, reading, giving (medical) advise etc.
What do you think about our budget plan? What are your experiences about money and worldtrips?