So you’re sick of your job, or your significant other just broke up with you, or you’re just bored of your daily life routine, and you want to do something unique, something adventurous. You feel the need to get out and see the world, but not through the lens of a few weeks of vacation, but an entire year’s worth of travel. Well then, look no further my friend. Prepare the brownies. Lube the pen. Clear your preconceptions. And drill a hole in your bank account. It’s time for TTP’s guide on how to travel the world for a year. The guide will be broken into three parts, the first of which is the planning for the journey, the second is the preparation, and the third part is for the duration of the wanderlust.
Guide on How to Travel the World for a Year Part 1: The Planning
First of all, if you’re reading this, I would like to congratulate you on taking the first step towards traveling the world for a year. It’s a scary decision to make. Scary because you do not know what’s on the other side. For those who have traveled for a while in the past, like say, 5+ months, a year’s worth of travel would not be that much of a change. But for everyone else, it can be as scary as the first time having sex. You think you know what you’re doing, but you have no idea on how to even begin. Luckily, this guide on how to travel the world for a year is here to help you by taking you through steps by steps on how I did it, and things I discovered in hindsight that I wish I knew when I began my journey. And since I’m already 13 months into my trip, I can say it has worked out quite well! Before we begin, a word of advice.
Tip #1: This is not for everyone. Some people are not meant to continuously travel for a year. Perhaps they like civilization too much or like everything to proceed smoothly, and if things don’t go their way then they get flustered. If that person is you, then a year round the world trip is not for you. It’s fine. Stick to your 2-4 week yearly vacation. Not everyone is meant to climb Mt. Everest.
Travel & Travel or Work & Travel
In order to travel for a year around the world, you have to decide on the most important thing before your trip begins. Do you want to travel for a year on savings, or do you want to work and travel, starting off with your savings but eventually working or volunteering along the way to save money.
Tip #2: There’s no right or wrong way to do this. This is definitely more of a personal decision. Some people, like myself, see traveling as a way to get away from doing work, and so would prefer to just straight up travel without working. Others, because they have little savings, or because they like to experience a little bit of the local flair, would prefer to volunteer for free housing and food. As long as you’re not working at a hostel or guesthouse, either decision you take would be fine. As to why I just said the last sentence, I’ll get back to it below.
If you would like to just travel without working, or at least give yourself the option to be able to do that, then the most important thing you can do as of today is to do a little bit of accounting. Basically, take how much you’re making and then subtract on how much you’re spending, and the result would be how much you’re saving monthly.
I(ncome) – Exp(ense) = S(avings).
Pretty simple mathematics right? Now, the next question you have to ask yourself is where you want to go. From personal experience, here’s the average daily expense per country in USD. You can convert to your local currency using websites like xe.com. If you have suggestions on what to fill in for the regions I’m missing, either send me an email or comment in the section below.
East Asia (Korea, Japan): $40
Southeast Asia (Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, etc): $20
South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, etc): $25
Australia/New Zealand: $60
Western Europe (France, Germany, UK etc): $50
Northern Europe (Norway, Sweden, etc): $60
Central Europe (Poland, Czechia, Hungary, etc): $35
Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, etc): $30
Balkans (Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia): $30
North America: $50
Central America: $35
South America: $35
North Africa: $35
Southeast Africa: $35
The above daily spending rates are the base rate. To see the true average daily spending, you have to consider what kind of traveler you are. There are 3 types of traveler, which has a multiplier effect on the above daily rates.
Types of Traveler
The Grunge Traveler: 1x of daily rates.
Accommodation: Dorms in hostels or couch surfing or camping.
Food: Street food in Asia and poor countries. Sandwiches or kebabs in Europe and rich countries.
Transportation: Walking or public transport or hitchhiking.
Entertainment: None except a few drinks here and there.
Luxury: Splurging on food once every 3 weeks.
The Comfort Traveler: 1.5x of daily rates
Accommodation: Dorms in hostels and once a week privates. Hotels at least once a month.
Food: Mainly street food and cooking. Sometimes restaurant food. Maybe fine dining once a month.
Transportation: Walking or public transport. Sometimes cabs.
Entertainment: At least a drink a night. Sometimes tours.
Luxury: Shopping, massages, once a month.
The Fancy Traveler: 2x of daily rates
Accommodation: Privates in dorms always. Hotels at least once a week
Food: Mainly sit-down restaurants. Fancy dining once every two week.
Transportation: Private transportation everywhere. Walking only when exploring.
Entertainment: Plays. Music festival. Movies. Expeditions. Tours.
Luxury: Tour guides whenever possible.
As an example, say you fall under the comfort traveler. You intend to spend 6 months in Western Europe, and 6 months in Southeast Asia. The math goes like this:
$50 (base rate) * 7 (days a week) * 26 (weeks in half a year) + $20 * 7 * 26 = ($9100 + $3640) * 1.5(multiplier) = $19110.
Disclaimer #1: The above rates and estimation are very rough estimates. At the very least, it should give you an idea on how much you would be spending. Estimate accordingly.
Because my year of wanderlust (#yow for those interested in following me on social media) was just of travel and not working, I can only give you guys advice on how to do it that way. For those interested in working while traveling, there are many ways to do it. One is work away (good starting point here: https://www.workaway.info/), in which you volunteer to work at a place in exchange for room and board. Done this way, you can save quite a bit of money while also able to see the world. Upside is that you get to see and help out a local community. Downside is that you’re either taking jobs from what local people could be doing or you won’t have time much to explore around the country, as that would require money.
Which brings me to my next point. If you do happen to decide to work while traveling, especially in developing countries, please do keep in mind as to what job you’re doing and making sure you’re not stealing jobs from locals who could actually use the money. Most of the time, this relates to hospitality jobs, so working in hostels or things similar. Know that by working in hostels in a country of say, Thailand, you’re taking away a source of money that a local, definitely poorer than you, can use. Because if no foreigners work for free at a hostel, then the owner would have to eventually hire locals. So just keep that in mind. Don’t be a job stealer, especially to people who are poorer than you, who, if you’re reading this, probably have an opportunity to work in a more developed country earning a higher salary. The above of course does not apply to more skilled position like teaching English and what not, since that’s something that cannot be done by a local (well, I guess it can, but the accent and idiom usages might be a little off base. But I digress).
Tips on how to save and earn more money
Regardless of how you choose to travel for the year, it’s time for you to start either earning more money, or saving more money. Here are some ways that you can either earn more money or save more money.
Tips on how to earn a supplement income:
- Picking up recyclable materials to recycle for money (e.g. cans, glasses, plastic bottles, etc.).
- Mowing people’s lawns.
- Transcribing audio online. If you google “transcribe to make money” on google, you’ll come across a few services that can pay you out per audio transcribed. It’s easy money. But definitely not fast money if you’re a slow typist. (Sample place to start: http://www.transcriptionjobs.info/top-7-transcription-companies-for-beginners/)
- English or math works best. Good pay too if you’re living in a high demand area.
Tips on how to save money:
- Spend a week writing down all of your spending per day. Doesn’t matter what it is, write it down. Once you have a record of what you’re spending money on, time to cut out stuff that does not help you in your daily life.
- You don’t necessarily have to cut it out completely. But cut it out 50%. If you buy a $3 coffee from Starbucks every day, then do it every other day. Even better, just brew your own at home man. It’s cheaper and will probably taste better.
- Same with alcohol. Cut back your alcohol consumption by 50%. So you can still have fun, but instead of going out both Friday and Saturday, just go out one of the days. Also, don’t eat dinner before you drink. Dangerous, but you save money on the dinner, and it’ll take you less alcohol to get drunk. Win win!
- No more junk food. Your wallet and abs will thank you.
- Cook more at home. Eat less outside (this is a no-brainer, but must be mention)
So after all of that, the next thing is patience. Your savings won’t explode overnight, but with some discipline, you will be able to save up enough money for your round the world trip. On the next part to the TTP Guide on How to Travel the World for a Year, I’ll talk about the preparation for the journey. Until then, save well.
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