I’ve had to make a lot of arrangements for this trip. All the way from the bank, post office, and final utilities, to coordinating with friends and paying potentially-sketchy internet companies on the Internet to unlock my iPhone (I’ll let you know how it goes once I’m abroad).
This usually requires giving a little context about the situation. When you ask your doctor for sleeping pills, antibiotics, and 6 months of birth control, they tend to ask what you need it for lol 😛
My typical response is “I’m leaving to travel through Southeast Asia for five months“. As soon as the words leave my mouth, I usually get a “Ohhhh I wish I could afford to do that!” “Ohh, I’m so jealous! I could never do that.” It’s a nice warm and fuzzy feeling that you too could share!
SPOILER: It’s not that expensive.
TRIGGER AND TANGENT WARNING: You can do it!
Guys, let’s have a moment together here. As friends, I have to tell you – you can absolutely go travel if you want. If you take the time to put it together, you absolutely can. It’s scary. It’s sometimes rough. It’s occasionally unstable and stressful too. Beyond all that though, it’s simply the bees knees. If you’re one of the people who says “Oh I wish I could do X”…go do it! Make a ‘it’s all FUBAR’ plan, and go do it. Take it slow and ask questions if you have them 🙂
The only way to make it happen is to take the plunge!
Thanks for listening. I want you to be able to achieve your dreams. I want to empower you, be straight with you, and maybe even inspire you. Seriously, no bullshit, if little po-dunk-no-degree-out-of-shape-Zoom can do it, you can too.
Returning to the Budget:
All of you know that I’m a pretty thrifty gal. I buy used clothes and items. I’ve had the shirt I’m wearing today for at least 4 years. I don’t [often] go out drinking. I invest in video games that keep me home. My roommate and I kept a good system for groceries and cooking so I rarely have to eat out. Just having a roommate cuts down on rent and other costs of living.
This allows me to save a lot of money. I save my money like a dragon hoards gold. The curse of being a yard-saler (sailor?) … “maybe I should save my money for when I find something I really, really want.” Thanks mom for only giving me $2/week to spend at yard sales – save those quarters, girl!
Show me the numbers:
There were a lot of costs I paid ahead of time. This is my number one tip to you – pay as much as you can ahead of time.
Everything I’ve already paid:
- Roundtrip flight to and from Bangkok, Thailand from San Francisco = $599.68 through Air China
- 4 nights stay at my hostel in Bangkok: my own room with a fan = $18.00 USD (SEE? So cheap!)
- Travel insurance for 5 months through World Nomads = $291.00 USD +$8.00 Foreign transaction fee (exactly why I switched Capital One 360..no foreign transaction fees!)
- Passport = $125
- Burning Man Ticket – $390
- Misc. gear and supplies = ~$60
Grand Total of Pre-paid costs: about $1,400
I just want to note that my decision to quit my job and travel was well timed around tax return season. Large chunks of cash were incredibly helpful in allowing me to pull this off. Also, I sold almost everything I own which was a nice boost.
I’ll be leaving the states with about $4,500 in hand.
I’m not sure if that’s enough for 5 months in Southeast Asia or not.
I’ll focusing on cutting costs by getting two months free accommodation by working at a Cat Cafe in Vietnam and teaching English while in Thailand. I’ve also got plans up my sleeve to make money (more on that later). I tricked myself into saving some of this. Ultimately, you learn to live with what you’ve got so I think I’ll be fine!
Here’s a quick breakdown of what I think my top costs will be.
- Visas and other paperwork fees
- Re-up on supplies – shampoo, stomach medicine etc.
Naturally, my thriftiness will continue to prevail abroad as well as stateside. I’ll be staying in hostels, couch surfing, and taking my time. Essentially, a lot of busses/trains, no trinkets/souvenirs, shoddy accommodations, and street food. Also, no A/C.
It’s going to be about 122 days. Typically, most people recommend $30/day for Southeast Asia. With $4,500 that will be about $36/day. We should be good!
My FUBAR plan is a credit card with a $2,500 limit on it.
No matter what happens, I’m going to be true to my rules of the road and tell myself it’s all going to be okay – and it will.
Do you have any money saving tips for travel gear or while traveling? I’m all ears!
If you’d like to join me on the adventure,
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