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How to Save for a Round the World Trip

Published 30 March 2016

Rosie Cox

Rosie Cox

So, you’ve decided. You’re going to travel. You’ve got your destinations chosen and your route set. All that’s left is the matter of paying for it…

How much do you really need?

To give you an estimate cost of travelling (which can vary widely, depending on your destinations and the level of luxury you need) the ball park figure is around £1,000 a month (not including pre-trip expenses). Of course, in cheaper countries such as those found in Asia, you can get by, comfortably, on a lot less. Then again, if you want to go skydiving in Australia and glacier hiking in New Zealand, you need to allow considerably more.

Now, that figure is just what you should aim for whilst you are on the road, let’s not forget the all-important…

The Sydney Opera House and city buildings lit up at night

…Pre-trip expenses

When you decide to save for a RTW trip, do not underestimate the amount of cash that you need to spend before you’ve even stepped foot on the plane, which brings us to the obvious: plane tickets.

If you can be flexible, look around for the best deals that stop at your main destinations. Don’t worry if the route doesn’t include every destination on your list: overland travel is the norm in many places.

For example, you want to go to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore, grab a flight that drops you off in Singapore, travel up for a few weeks and  fly onwards to your next destination from Bangkok. Use the cheap (and sometimes cheerful) buses and trains that connect the whole region.
Next are the other major costs: vaccinations, travel insurance and visas – my latest trip set me back almost £400 in visas before I’d even left the country! Add these up and you could have quite a sizable figure. Add the things you may need to invest in prior to leaving, such as a backpack and walking shoes, and you could be surprised at quite how much you need to spend to even get yourself away. Still, the bright side is once these major expenses are paid for, you never have to think about them and there is no going back!

So with pre-trip expenses taken care of, savings must commence. There is a wealth of ways (no pun intended) you can save for your trip and here are just a few.

Have a set target each month

Be strict with yourself here – but not so strict you have to miss out on everything and end up becoming a social recluse – and set yourself a savings target. Quantitative targets are great as they mean you can really measure and track your progress. Set up a direct debit from your main bank each payday, or if your wages vary aim to save a certain percentage. As you see the total figure steadily climbing each month, knowing you are getting closer and closer to your ultimate total, and dream trip, is incentive enough to keep going!

Open up a high-interest savings account

Whilst we’re talking about banks and accounts, it is wise to open a savings account with a high interest rate. If you’re not familiar with all the jargon that comes with the world of banks, a quick Google search will soon provide you with various money saving forums that will point you in the right direction. Once you’re all set up, sit back and enjoy the free money as it rolls in each month. The more you add to your savings account, the more interest you will earn. The interest I accrued during my recent saving stint paid for accommodation in Paris, for 5 nights, and 2 people. And, it took all of 5 minutes to open.

Sell everything you own

Okay, well, not literally, but selling unwanted possessions can make you a few bob. Ebay is a great way to sell your unwanted stuff; a few photos and good description later you could be onto a winner. As the saying goes – one man’s junk is another man’s treasure! Though you may not rake in thousands, it all adds up and depending on how much you sell and how much time you have, you could make a few hundred which can go a long way when you’re on the road.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Making yourself miserable is no good. If you’re going away on a dream trip, the experience of a lifetime, you don’t want to spend the months building up to departure wallowing in your own existence. Instead, if you feel you need a treat, or fancy a meal out one evening, by all means do it. Just not every night or every day. When saving I would always allow myself to maintain some kind of social life – saving does not have to mean you are trapped at home; you just have to make your decisions more wisely.

 

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