How I saved enough money to travel for 9 months

Travelling is one of my biggest passions. When I’m not on vacation, I’m constantly thinking of where I want to go next and what I want to see. One of my biggest goals was to quit my job and travel for an extended period of time!

In September 2018, I quit my management position with a developer in Vancouver and my husband & I traveled for 9 months! One of my goals through doing this was to inspire other people to do the same. In my opinion, life is too short to wait until the perfect moment to do this - there will never be a perfect moment. There will always be some excuse not to go and before you know it - you’ll have missed your opportunity

A lot of people asked us - how are you going to pay for that? Is someone helping you out? What are you going to do with your apartment and your car? You’re going to miss so much of people's lives here!

This article is to help YOU plan an extended trip and get past these questions that you might be asking yourself so you can travel like I did.

First things first is you need to make yourself a budget! I made one in excel and broke it down by country and the amount of time we were going to spend there. Since different countries cost different amounts this was really useful.

We went to the following countries and here is our budget and breakdown.

Japan - 18 days - $6,000

Nepal - 18 days - $3,800.00

India - 35 days - $4,000

Thailand - 14 days - $2,600

Malaysia - 7 days - $1,350

Vietnam - 30 days - $3,700

Australia - 21 days - $5,300

Patagonia - 14 days - $3,900

Portugal - 10 days - $3,000

*Note: In some of the countries we did some more expensive activities than in others. For example, in Nepal we did a 10 day trekking trip and in Australia we rented a car for 10 days. Remember to add in these costs into your budget so you can do them.

How we saved the money

The total we were planning on spending was $33,650.00. That’s a lot of money but we felt it was worth it so we started planning.

We took what we made currently and started figuring out how much we NEEDED to live off of while still enjoying Vancouver. We were able to determine that if we saved about $1,000/month we would be able to go in just under 3 years while still doing what we liked to do in Vancouver. This didn’t include receiving any bonuses from our current employers at the time.

What I would suggest is seeing how much you spend now and where you can save. The biggest area we saved in was eating and drinking out! Instead of going out twice in one weekend - we would just go out once. That easily saved us an extra $400/month! We also started making extra food at dinner so we could take the leftovers for lunch. That again saved us $600.00 together (based on us both eating lunch out everyday for $15.00). Another area that saved us money is we started to make our own coffee at home. Yes it sounds small but we bought a travel tumbler for $30 and saved that $5/day on coffee - in a month that can save you $100.00 Right there - that’s over $1,000.00/year - Money you could save to go travelling.

Depending on where you want to go and for how long will obviously dictate how much you’ll need to save and how soon you can go. We found Vietnam, Thailand, India and Nepal to be the most budget-friendly locations whereas Austalia, Japan, Patagonia and Portugal were definitely some of the most expensive.

We also saved money by staying with people!! We were lucky enough to stay with someone in India for 1 week, in Australia for 10 days and a few days in the UK during our layover to Portugal.

Another thing we did was start our trip from the place we could get the cheapest flight to. Luckily there was a sale on flights to Singapore with a layover in Japan for $500 each one way. Keeping an eye on flights definitely helped the budget so make sure you’re being aware of them and be flexible on where you want to start. We didn’t take buses to get many places but did train quite a bit and we rented a car in Australia and Patagonia. Depending on how you like to travel - this can impact how much you will be spending.

Another way to offset costs is to see if you can do any online work. We were lucky enough to be able to bring in a small amount of money each month from working online. We didn’t assume we were going to make anything so anything extra we made we spent it on things we maybe weren’t planning on doing. One trick if you’re going to do this - get a SIM card in the country you’re going to be working in. The WiFi was never great (except Japan where it was the fastest I’ve ever seen) but with our phones and making a personal hot spot - we were always able to get some work done and never had to rely on the WiFi

To Summarize

  1. Make a budget
  2. Research the places you want to go and determine how much it would cost to spend a day there.
  3. Are there specific activities you want to do in each country? How much will that activity cost you?
  4. Look at accommodation and determine your budget for this - are you okay with hostels or do you want to stay at fancy hotels?
  5. Determine how much you need to save and open a savings account and start saving each month slowly
  6. Keep an eye on flights
  7. Book your first flight!
  8. Stick with your goal - yes 3 years was a long time to save but we stuck to it and we followed through. It was one of the best decisions we ever made.