Author Topic: Nomadic Budgets  (Read 4282 times)

travelawyer

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Nomadic Budgets
« on: November 03, 2017, 09:43:08 AM »
It's my goal to FIRE and then become a nomadic family, slow travelling the world, with at least annual visits back to visit family in the US.  We have one child now, but hope to have two, and plan to FIRE in 6 years.  My DH and I disagree on how much stash we need (I won't tell you our opinions, you would totally side with him :)).  The problem is that it's hard to budget for such an entirely different lifestyle than we currently have.  I expect housing costs to be about the same using monthly airbnb rentals, health insurance to go way up, transportation costs to go down (no more cars, and using travel hacking to pay for flights), but I also feel like we would end up spending way more on food and "experiences" (museums? renting a kayak or bike? Spanish lessons? wine tasting? a helicopter ride? cruise to the Galapagos?) so we could enjoy the various places we are visiting.

I know there at least a few nomadic families on the Forum, and I've looked at some of your blogs, but I don't really have a good idea about what people are doing with their time while traveling, and how they are budgeting.  Do you always cook?  Do you stick to just cheap experiences?  Would be interested if anyone was willing to share their nomad budgets.

spartana

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2017, 09:52:03 AM »
Posting to follow. Sorry no help from me. I'm FIRE and contemplating becoming nomadic full time (currently am as I sold the house 3 months ago and have been travelling in US in a vehicle,  camping). I'd just travel  in N. and S. America as I have a small dog unless I decide its easy to take her overseas and travel by overland routes via bicycle rather than have multiple flights. Mix short term stays with longer term rentals  I don't have family to go back to so that saves money and I wouldn't carry insurance in the US either or own a vehicle - both saving money. So main expense would be lodging/apt rentals. Very curious what others budgets look like. I tentatively budget $2000 - $2500/month but so far its been under $1000/month (single woman no kids) and camping. If I mainly stick to camping while travelling and do apt rentals for long term monthly stays I imagine I could budget closer to $1000-$1500/month.

ETA: I mostly go places where I can do outdoorsy things like hike, climb, bike, etc... and don't generally do tourist things that cost a lot. I do stay in or near some cool town (again generally camping but occasional budget motels) where I can do town and social things if/when I want.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 10:25:24 AM by spartana »
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Caoineag

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2017, 10:05:26 AM »
Also posting to follow. We are planning on a max of $2500 per month but don't set out for 6 more months. I suspect our eating out urge will go away since we use that as compensation for working (and we do like to cook, just don't have the time). That includes full freight health insurance and traveling way too fast within the US (also hoping the urge to travel quickly will recede once we are fully retired). Ask me again in about a year or so and I might have real numbers for you.

ixtap

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2017, 10:08:07 AM »
As they say in the cruising world, it takes as much as you have.

Just like your current budget, your nomadic budget will depend on the choices you make. A cruise to the Galapagos for a family of four, well I have only looked into the National Geographic cruises, but that would add up to my non housing budget. For a couple, it probably wouldn't be too difficult to find some cruisers willing to take you for a fee, but for a family of 4, even that might be difficult.

Do you picture your short term rentals as three bedrooms in a great location, or one bedroom with good public transportation?

What possessions do you picture having with you?

How often do you plan on moving? Have you looked into a take your home along option, such as RVing or boating.

Where do you plan on starting? How adaptable are you in what you eat? Have either if you ever learned a foreign language to fluency?

You speak a lot of doing all of the touristy stuff. What about getting to know the locals?


onewayfamily

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2017, 04:35:54 AM »
Our spending goes up and down depending on what type of travelling we're doing.
Lowest: Campervan for 6 months in Australia (housing/transport costs close to zero, not including gas, as we sold the van for almost what we bought it for at the end of the trip).
Highest: 6-weeks in a rental car and AirBnBs in Europe

In all cases we try street food wherever we are but for most meals we're buying at the supermarket and cooking ourselves.
Experiences yes - we're mostly focusing on cheaper experiences that we enjoy, like touring around the city centres, hiking in the regional areas etc.
You can get AirBnBs pretty cheap if you stay for 28 days or longer as that's where the 'monthly' discounts start - I've seen as high as 70% monthly discounts - which is crazy as it means it's cheaper to stay for 28 days than it is to stay for 10 days - at the SAME PLACE! There are also weekly discounts but they are much lower usually.
The other thing is travelling in cheaper areas will make everything cheaper (obviously) - so if you focus most of your travelling on the South America, Africa, Asia and South-East Europe you'll find you can live on $1-2k a month easy, including travel expenses and lodging.
We FIRE'd at age 28 (me) and 29 (Mrs. OneWayFamily) and are now trying to travel to every country on Earth - it takes longer with 2 toddlers!

If you'd like to keep track of where we're at - check out our photos @ Instagram or our lame attempt at a blog at onewayfamily.com

spartana

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2017, 09:01:04 AM »
^^^this. Not only do you get big discounts at vacation house rentals on monthly tentals but bigger discounts if you do multi month and off season. For example a 3 month rental at a ski town off season (late spring or early fall) can he 75% or more in savings over a shorter term  high season rental. And while there may not be skiing there are still great outdoor opportunities and good weather. Some forum member have done long term house/pet sitting gigs for free in awesome places.
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RetirementInvestingToday

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2017, 03:48:05 AM »
...transportation costs to go down (no more cars, and using travel hacking to pay for flights), ...
Anybody who is FIRE'ing (my definition: work is 100% optional forever) needs to be looking at having enough annual income to last maybe 40-50 years.  If slow travel is an essential part of your plans is it prudent to depend on travel hacking as part of your budgeting process?  I'm thinking if that current method of attracting punters into credit cards et al shifts to another method could your travel dream rug be pulled out from under you.  Then all of a sudden your back at work or cutting back on your dreams.

My example of something similar.  Here in the UK I'm currently entitled to receive a State Pension at 68 years of age.  I'll also have access to my private pension at age 55.  The UK government has form in changing the rules around this area so I assume in my planning that I can't access my private pension until age 60 and that I'll never receive a State Pension (age will continue to rise or it will become means tested given the indebtedness of the UK).  If it goes to my plan I need to change nothing and if it doesn't then I have cash to burn.  For me it's preferable to work a little longer at peak'ish earnings rather than carry the risk that I'll be looking for lower paid work (my current skills will become redundant) in 5-10 years.  I'm do this on top of a planned 2.5% withdrawal rate so I do admit some might consider me a little risk averse.
45 years of age, UK based (for now) and FI.  Will FIRE in mid-2018.  A lot more detail on my blog http://www.retirementinvestingtoday.com/

LAGuy

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2017, 11:53:13 PM »
I'm 3 months in to my SE Asia trial live abroad trip. I have a 6 month lease in Bangkok and so far have been taking about one short trip a month of just under one week. I've been spending just under $2500 all in (ACA included) a month for a single male. I don't drink much nor do I have a "girl habit" that many of the other expat men have for reference sake. The travel has been by far my biggest expense at about $700 or $800 a trip. When not on a trip I'm usually just "chilling", going to the gym, playing my computer games and sometimes socializing. Socializing in Bangkok at least tends to involve large quantities of alcohol so I don't do it more than once a week.   If all I did was live my life in Bangkok under $2000 a month would be a breeze. A $3000 budget would be more prudent and allow as much travel as you like. Over $3000 would probably start to feel quite luxurious. I feel that nomadic or expat life is probably slightly cheaper than a modest US retirement in a mid tier city. I also feel if that's your goal for retirement, you need to plan for an eventual US retirement in case it's either not for you, or maybe you just get old and decide you'd rather die in your home country. As such, I think the best course of action is to plan for what you think a reasonable US retirement looks like to you and then think about how that same budget would fit for you on the road.

spartana

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2017, 12:55:41 AM »
LA Guy good point about making sure you have enough money to return to your home country and provide for yourself based on that economy if needed/wanted. I do hear stories about nomads or expats who's very barebones budget covers expenses in another country but who can't afford to live in their home country again without working full time. Especially if gone many years and housing prices have increased greatly. This was/is definitely a concern of mine when I decided to sell my paid off home in HCOL O.C. to either travel full time or rent or buy in a LCOL area (haven't decided what I'll do yet). Want to make sure I have enough income to move back if I want too at any point in my life.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 12:59:21 AM by spartana »
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LAGuy

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2017, 02:01:03 AM »
LA Guy good point about making sure you have enough money to return to your home country and provide for yourself based on that economy if needed/wanted. I do hear stories about nomads or expats who's very barebones budget covers expenses in another country but who can't afford to live in their home country again without working full time. Especially if gone many years and housing prices have increased greatly. This was/is definitely a concern of mine when I decided to sell my paid off home in HCOL O.C. to either travel full time or rent or buy in a LCOL area (haven't decided what I'll do yet). Want to make sure I have enough income to move back if I want too at any point in my life.

Yeah, you see plenty of it first hand out here. Bitter old boys who can't even continue drinking themselves to death until the next pension check comes in.

On the travel hacking, I wonder how worthwhile it even is? I live a pretty nomadic life but for the most part my flights are super cheap short hops. Maybe I do 2 transoceanic flights a year where I can use my credit card miles. I mean, it's nice to save a few bucks but if you've got the time anyways (because you're not working) you're probably not paying top dollar for flights anyways. I know some people swear by it, but they're often doing things I wouldn't have done anyways...guess it's nice to rack up the miles and stay 2 nights at the Paris Hilton, but seems like too much work for me when I could just get a AirBnb or cheap pension for 30 or 40 bucks a night. That's not to say I don't use the credit card sign up miles and bonuses, but I just don't go crazy with them. Besides, I also feel they kind of drive you to spend or at least pull spending forward to meet your signup requirements (hey, I needed a new computer anyways, I'll go ahead and buy that now and knock out this bonus!).

limeandpepper

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2017, 08:08:19 AM »
I'm 3 months in to my SE Asia trial live abroad trip. I have a 6 month lease in Bangkok and so far have been taking about one short trip a month of just under one week. I've been spending just under $2500 all in (ACA included) a month for a single male. I don't drink much nor do I have a "girl habit" that many of the other expat men have for reference sake. The travel has been by far my biggest expense at about $700 or $800 a trip. When not on a trip I'm usually just "chilling", going to the gym, playing my computer games and sometimes socializing. Socializing in Bangkok at least tends to involve large quantities of alcohol so I don't do it more than once a week.   If all I did was live my life in Bangkok under $2000 a month would be a breeze. A $3000 budget would be more prudent and allow as much travel as you like. Over $3000 would probably start to feel quite luxurious.

I would think that $2k - $3k is already very luxurious, especially in Bangkok! Though I don't have to account for ACA so I'm guessing that's a sizable chunk?

limeandpepper

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2017, 08:13:58 AM »
I know there at least a few nomadic families on the Forum, and I've looked at some of your blogs, but I don't really have a good idea about what people are doing with their time while traveling, and how they are budgeting.  Do you always cook?  Do you stick to just cheap experiences?  Would be interested if anyone was willing to share their nomad budgets.

My partner and I are not FI and not quite nomadic, but we have done a couple of multi-month mini-retirement trips, say 4 - 6 months traipsing around. We usually spend about a month in each country, and divvy our time up between various cities/towns/villages. I don't consider that to be strictly slow travel, but I would say it's slower than how most people travel.

We generally go to more affordable places. While I enjoy cooking at home, I rarely do when we travel - I like to try various local foods that are prepared by people who know their stuff! We do definitely supplement with groceries from shops, though - checking out the different things in supermarkets around the world is fun!

We do mostly cheap things (happy to mostly walk/bike/scooter around), but will splurge for an experience if we think it's really worth it. It's very subjective. For example, we decided to do a safari in Nepal, and we decided not to do a hot air balloon ride in Myanmar. If we were really rich we'd probably also have done the latter, though.

Budgets - we don't really have a budget. We have numbers in mind and we're delighted if we come under the estimates, but are also fine with going over for worthwhile things. We just assess potential purchases as we go along. Plus prices vary a lot depending on the country. Thailand is cheap, Japan not so much.

I think we mostly just look at our net worth and go, we can afford to go on a big trip now! And then we research prices of various destinations so we have some idea of which places are within our means, how much we can expect to spend, and work things out from there.

ixtap

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2017, 08:25:52 AM »
We have set our numbers based on our current spending, but we expect to spend half that in our first couple of years of slow travel. This will provide a buffer as the stache grows that means we don't have to live our later years barebones.

terran

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2017, 03:35:04 PM »
I'm 3 months in to my SE Asia trial live abroad trip. I have a 6 month lease in Bangkok and so far have been taking about one short trip a month of just under one week. I've been spending just under $2500 all in (ACA included) a month for a single male. I don't drink much nor do I have a "girl habit" that many of the other expat men have for reference sake. The travel has been by far my biggest expense at about $700 or $800 a trip. When not on a trip I'm usually just "chilling", going to the gym, playing my computer games and sometimes socializing. Socializing in Bangkok at least tends to involve large quantities of alcohol so I don't do it more than once a week.   If all I did was live my life in Bangkok under $2000 a month would be a breeze. A $3000 budget would be more prudent and allow as much travel as you like. Over $3000 would probably start to feel quite luxurious.

I would think that $2k - $3k is already very luxurious, especially in Bangkok! Though I don't have to account for ACA so I'm guessing that's a sizable chunk?

LAGuy, why is it that you're using ACA instead of travel insurance? Are you back in the US too much for travel insurance (30 days per year I think)?

life_travel

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2017, 09:25:28 PM »
Not FIREd yet but planning slow travel once we pull the cord  Our budget will be lean $1500-2000 per month and that is in AUD. Luckily we love budget travel style and LCOL countries so we might do 6 months in cheap countries and 1 month in a more expensive one.

LAGuy

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2017, 09:36:12 PM »
I'm 3 months in to my SE Asia trial live abroad trip. I have a 6 month lease in Bangkok and so far have been taking about one short trip a month of just under one week. I've been spending just under $2500 all in (ACA included) a month for a single male. I don't drink much nor do I have a "girl habit" that many of the other expat men have for reference sake. The travel has been by far my biggest expense at about $700 or $800 a trip. When not on a trip I'm usually just "chilling", going to the gym, playing my computer games and sometimes socializing. Socializing in Bangkok at least tends to involve large quantities of alcohol so I don't do it more than once a week.   If all I did was live my life in Bangkok under $2000 a month would be a breeze. A $3000 budget would be more prudent and allow as much travel as you like. Over $3000 would probably start to feel quite luxurious.


I would think that $2k - $3k is already very luxurious, especially in Bangkok! Though I don't have to account for ACA so I'm guessing that's a sizable chunk?

LAGuy, why is it that you're using ACA instead of travel insurance? Are you back in the US too much for travel insurance (30 days per year I think)?

That's exactly right. I still work in the US some. I'm only part-time FIRE'd. I go back and do contract work in hospitals (like a traveling nurse, but my profession is in the laboratory). My ACA is just over $200 a month, no subsidy (I'll get one, but I don't know what yet as this is my first year living like this and my prior years income was too high to qualify).

$2k-$3k is certainly plenty of money just for Bangkok. I do spend less than that here, but that $2 to $3 budget includes quite a bit of travel. I also opted for a more mid range apartment; all in with rent and utilities I'm paying probably around $525 a month so I can walk 50m to public transit. Also, not everything is cheap here...I like a good gym and for whatever reason gym memberships are kind of expensive...like $75 a month. To me, Bangkok is a great city to live large for not a lot of money; I don't really like to live on the cheap here...if I wanted to do that, I'd probably have just stayed in the US. Since I'm still accumulating my stash; well, technically more like just waiting for what I have to drift up to my final FIRE number while I earn my yearly living expenses from what little work I still do; I still keep my spend on the lower side, but ultimately I'd like to live a bit more luxurious here. The first thing I'd probably spend some more money on is a swankier place and fill it with some pricey goodies (but nothing so stupid as buying a car). And as soon as one needs anything western here, your COL is going to shoot up...those things often cost more here as they don't really do Target and Walmart here. But really, for me, those things are for further in the future. For now I intend to stay nomadic, but part of the purpose for my nomadic travels is to perhaps identify a place I want to settle down in somewhat permanently and as I travel I've been taking notes on how I might like to live in the various places I see and stay in.

life_travel

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2017, 12:33:40 AM »
Great report LAguy, that's what we are planning to do, travel and see where we would like to settle ( or not !). I guess we'll have to think about the budget too but since my DH will be 53 I don't want to work more and more to give us that safer , higher amount . So if we would feel that $1500-2000 is not enough, we will probably both do casual work 1-3 months a year .

travelawyer

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2017, 04:33:25 PM »

On the travel hacking, I wonder how worthwhile it even is? I live a pretty nomadic life but for the most part my flights are super cheap short hops. Maybe I do 2 transoceanic flights a year where I can use my credit card miles. I mean, it's nice to save a few bucks but if you've got the time anyways (because you're not working) you're probably not paying top dollar for flights anyways. I know some people swear by it, but they're often doing things I wouldn't have done anyways...guess it's nice to rack up the miles and stay 2 nights at the Paris Hilton, but seems like too much work for me when I could just get a AirBnb or cheap pension for 30 or 40 bucks a night. That's not to say I don't use the credit card sign up miles and bonuses, but I just don't go crazy with them. Besides, I also feel they kind of drive you to spend or at least pull spending forward to meet your signup requirements (hey, I needed a new computer anyways, I'll go ahead and buy that now and knock out this bonus!).
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My idea of travel hacking is actually similar to what you are doing it sounds like--I've never gone crazy with it.  I stay under the Chase 5/24 so I can get my biannual southwest companion pass, and pay for a couple of international vacations with miles on other cards (flying to Japan in 2 weeks paid for with Chase Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus).  But for these purposes it's totally worth it! I estimate our family saves about $5000 per year this way. 

But to the PP who commented about building travel hacking into my budget--it certainly wouldn't blow it up if this went away, although I'm anticipating some form of this to stick around even if the methods change. I'm assuming the worst on healthcare (no ACA) and a somewhat bad scenario on social security, and I don't want to assume the worst about everything....



travelawyer

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2017, 04:46:40 PM »

You speak a lot of doing all of the touristy stuff. What about getting to know the locals?

Where am I going to meet the locals except at the local bars and restaurants? ;)  But seriously, I've never understood the jab about "getting to know the locals", I don't really meet local strangers right now, why would I assume I'm going to while slow traveling?  You mentioned later in the thread that you are expecting to retire and travel cheap--what are your plans for getting involved in the communities you will be visiting? 

But, yes, I do love the touristy stuff! I think that's part of the travel experience for me.  Like I don't want to go to Africa and not be able to afford a safari, or go to Bordeaux and say "well, can't afford any wine, guess I'll go on another free hike."

LAGuy

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2017, 03:33:47 AM »
Great report LAguy, that's what we are planning to do, travel and see where we would like to settle ( or not !). I guess we'll have to think about the budget too but since my DH will be 53 I don't want to work more and more to give us that safer , higher amount . So if we would feel that $1500-2000 is not enough, we will probably both do casual work 1-3 months a year .

So in US dollars, your budget for a couple is $1150 to $1500 a month? On the high end of your range that's $750 per person (and by even listing the range, I have to assume that you're hoping to hit the low number). I have to say that sounds extremely low. I mean, I can imagine a budget that would survive that...living in like Chang Mai or some Cambodian village and doing absolutely nothing otherwise. And forget luxuries like air conditioning or new clothing from time to time. But that's not really "slow travel"...more like "no travel." The second you need a plane ticket...budget blown. Phone fall in the Mekong? Budget blown. Australian dollar does one of its periodic nose dives? Budget blown. Emergencies? Insurance? I don't think I'd leave a comfy well paying job in Oz to live a life like that. I mean I do see backpackers doing it all the time. I ran into one skint Argentinian girl in the Dominican Republic that was hitchhiking her way across the country living off of hot dogs and candy and using couch surfing for her accommodations (i.e. sex) so anything is possible, but do you really want to live the rest of your life like that? Living as cheap as you can in the armpits of the world never to travel in the 1st world again? If it's a shit job you're leaving on the other hand, and you do plan to do some work while traveling (teaching English) then by all means give it a shot, however. Personally, for a couple, I'd probably want to target a budget of no less than $3000 a month US to give you enough cushion for anything that might come your way.

StetsTerhune

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2017, 04:13:46 AM »
100% agree with LAGuy. I backpacked when I was younger for about $700 a month. Fun as hell when I was 24, but even at that age it wasn't sustainable. Now my wife and I spend ~3k a month living nomadically. If I could only spend half that, I would work longer or get a base somewhere cheap. Likely the former.

I have met too many long term travellers who are completely burned out on it, but can't afford to do anything else and/or have nothing to go back to. Becoming that may be my biggest fear.

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2017, 05:07:44 AM »
Where am I going to meet the locals except at the local bars and restaurants? ;)  But seriously, I've never understood the jab about "getting to know the locals", I don't really meet local strangers right now, why would I assume I'm going to while slow traveling?  You mentioned later in the thread that you are expecting to retire and travel cheap--what are your plans for getting involved in the communities you will be visiting?

There's absolutely nothing wrong with not getting to know the locals. It's your trip, you can do whatever you want while you're on it.

However, to answer your question about where to meet locals, there's tons of stuff you can do while you're slow traveling if you've made a town or city your temporary home.

We've been on the road for almost 6 years now, slow traveling the world by motorcycle. We've pursued all of our interests and hobbies whenever we stop for a while. We took Spanish school in Mexico and when our language skills got good enough, we then joined a language exchange club in Guatemala with locals who wanted to practice their English. We'd meet up in coffee shops and we'd practice Spanish while our partner responded in English and we'd correct each other's grammar and improve our vocabularies. Best of all, it was free, except for the price of a coffee or two.


Practicing Spanish in Guatemala

In Medellin, Colombia, we found a group that got together and practiced AcroYoga in the local park. They were all Spanish-speakers, but when you're doing an activity it's not really about having perfect grammar or the best vocabulary. Again... free. The best part is that we met some people that we got together socially with for dinner or drinks after Yoga was finished.


Acroyoga in Medellin

We lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand for 12 months in total (over two winters), so we really got integrated into that community. We joined a beach volleyball club that met at the local university every week. My hobby is photography, so I joined a photography club. My Thai is not very good, but there were many locals who spoke very good English, so I could converse with them. Free. My wife joined a hiking club and the only cost was the bus rental that took them to the trails and back, less than $5 a week.


Hiking club in Northern Thailand


I love playing music. Jamming with our host in La Paz, Mexico

Recently, we spent 3 months in Japan. We hooked up with a predominantly ex-pat motorcycle group that hosted monthly get togethers in bars/restaurants and group rides out in the countryside. There were some Japanese riders who also spoke English, so we got to know some locals without having to learn Japanese in such a short time. Free, except for the cost of a pint of beer and gas money.

We have a blog that has a pretty wide readership in the motorcycle community, so we get invited to a lot of local people's houses for accommodations or just a warm meal. While we were in Costa Rica, our host invited us to watch the local team play soccer against powerhouse Mexico. They managed against all odds to beat them and the resulting celebrations spilled out into the streets. Very fun!

Everyplace we stay, the host always takes us to "this place I know that has the best tacos/schweinshaxe/roti/pad see-ew/etc. that the tourists don't know about". And it's *always* better than the tourist traps.


We also volunteer our time. We were in Croatia for five months and opened up our apartment to foster stray dogs, before they are adopted


In Thailand, we volunteered at a dog shelter to walk dogs to help burn off their energy (and also to play with them! :) It was a super-rewarding experience!


Sometimes we sing for our supper. This is us doing a presentation of our trip in Mexico City


Doing a presentation to a classroom of Croatian schoolkids

We normally do presentations to fellow motorcycle riders/travelers. These kids had such different questions about our trip. They wanted to know about camels in the Sahara Desert, cobras in the souks in Marrakesh, blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos, all the different animals we've encountered all over the world! :)

We've had very frank discussions with German locals about the Syrian refugee crisis. Then we've had the same dialog with our Greek hosts about it. Very different viewpoints. We've talked to people in England about Brexit. And then to Scots. Again, very different views. Many of those views are under-reported and under-represented in the mainstream news, for fear of political incorrectness, but when you get people alone in the homes, talking over a bottle of vino or cerveza, you get the true sense of what people really feel outside of the headlines.


We heard music coming from inside a warehouse while walking around Holguin, Cuba

When we peered inside, we saw these dancers and musicians rehearsing for a show later on in the week. They gave us a personal invitation to their concert! We made friends with one of the dancers and got together with him after the practice. Over a few beers, he became very candid about living under the Cuban government and how the people really felt about it.

Speaking out against the government is punishable by fine or imprisonment. Neighbours and family members are encouraged to report against one another. The stuff he was telling us about is not something that you'll read about in the papers or see hear about in touristy places. Obviously, these aren't pictures of him...


Our friend's dance troupe in concert!

Getting to know the locals instead of being spoon-fed what the tour companies want you to consume is like like reading the entire book, instead of just glancing at the cover. While the covers are nice and glossy, sometimes the real soul and the truth of a place lies just beneath the surface and it takes just a bit a time but certainly not a lot of money to open the book.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 08:20:16 AM by EndlessJourney »
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spokey doke

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2017, 08:32:18 AM »
following (and envious!)...

We are a dog family, so that puts some serious limits on our range, but at least we can focus on learning Spanish to support our most likely adventures abroad...
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spartana

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2017, 12:13:09 PM »
Great report LAguy, that's what we are planning to do, travel and see where we would like to settle ( or not !). I guess we'll have to think about the budget too but since my DH will be 53 I don't want to work more and more to give us that safer , higher amount . So if we would feel that $1500-2000 is not enough, we will probably both do casual work 1-3 months a year .

So in US dollars, your budget for a couple is $1150 to $1500 a month? On the high end of your range that's $750 per person (and by even listing the range, I have to assume that you're hoping to hit the low number). I have to say that sounds extremely low. I mean, I can imagine a budget that would survive that...living in like Chang Mai or some Cambodian village and doing absolutely nothing otherwise. And forget luxuries like air conditioning or new clothing from time to time. But that's not really "slow travel"...more like "no travel." The second you need a plane ticket...budget blown. Phone fall in the Mekong? Budget blown. Australian dollar does one of its periodic nose dives? Budget blown. Emergencies? Insurance? I don't think I'd leave a comfy well paying job in Oz to live a life like that. I mean I do see backpackers doing it all the time. I ran into one skint Argentinian girl in the Dominican Republic that was hitchhiking her way across the country living off of hot dogs and candy and using couch surfing for her accommodations (i.e. sex) so anything is possible, but do you really want to live the rest of your life like that? Living as cheap as you can in the armpits of the world never to travel in the 1st world again? If it's a shit job you're leaving on the other hand, and you do plan to do some work while traveling (teaching English) then by all means give it a shot, however. Personally, for a couple, I'd probably want to target a budget of no less than $3000 a month US to give you enough cushion for anything that might come your way.
I don't know if I agree. If a couple where splitting your $525/month all utilities included apt and chose to reserve any expensive travel until they were moving on anyway then having $1000-$1500/month for everything else can be pretty luxurious. That can be a nice budget even in expensive places in the US if you can get inexpensive rentals and be carless and get high ACA subsidies. Of course if you take expensive side trips or trips home that add hefty transportation costs to the budget or expensive hobbies or activities then yeah its easy blow any budget.

ETA: nice to see back on the forum Endless Journey. Enjoying your stories and photos as always.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 12:14:52 PM by spartana »
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Padonak

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2017, 05:48:45 PM »
LAGuy, great post! I visited Bangkok a few years ago, considering moving there at some point as well, at least for a few months.

Where about in Bangkok are you renting an apartment for 525/month all in? I mean approx location (MTA/BTS stop).

How much more expensive is it if you rent month to month? 

What are the biggest components of your budget other than rent and trips around the region? You mentioned you don't drink or go out that much, yet it looks like you're spending about $1500/month plus rent and travel. Is food expensive there?

LAGuy

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2017, 10:49:21 PM »
LAGuy, great post! I visited Bangkok a few years ago, considering moving there at some point as well, at least for a few months.

Where about in Bangkok are you renting an apartment for 525/month all in? I mean approx location (MTA/BTS stop).

How much more expensive is it if you rent month to month? 

What are the biggest components of your budget other than rent and trips around the region? You mentioned you don't drink or go out that much, yet it looks like you're spending about $1500/month plus rent and travel. Is food expensive there?

I stay near the On Nut BTS. Lots of expats stay around here so easy to make new friends.

My apartment rent is $450 a month. If you want to go a bit further down the BTS you could get it down to $300 a month. If you then stayed outside of walking distance to the BTS (10 minute moped ride) you could drive that down to about $225 which is about the lowest I've seen in Bangkok for "expat style" apartments. Of course, you could get a Thai style place with shared bathrooms and such if you really wanted to drive it down.

It's a little hard to track exactly where all my money goes here because everything is done in cash. In the US I pay for everything by card so it makes tracking a lot easier. Also, I had to pay a number of things upfront for 6 months (gym, internet, apartment deposit) so some of those things are working their way through my monthly spend and I'll have a better idea of how everything shakes out after my 6 months are up. But to break it down best I can, gym is $75 a month. Internet is $25 a month. Electricity is $60 a month. Water is $2 a month (lol). ACA is $205 a month. So, right there you've got about $820 a month in fixed costs. I also needed to kit out my place with some stuff and that ran about $250 one time expense (sheets, towels, utensils, a decent office type chair, etc). Thai food here is cheap with a meal running me about $2, and I also make my own breakfast while eating out lunch and dinner. Some days I eat western food though, and that's definitely not cheap and is on par with what you'd pay in Los Angeles with a meal easily running up to $15. I don't drink much, but I do drink some and a night out with some friends can easily run $30 to $60 and even more (again on par with Los Angeles) if you go to some of the swankier places. Cocktails at Sing Sing Theater, a popular place not far from me, run about $10 to $12. Then travel expenses...I was just in the Philippines for 11 nights visiting some friends. Flights weren't much (BKK to Manila round trip was like $200 and a couple of flights in country was just under $100). But what was murder in the Philippines is hotels are expensive and kind of crappy. Hotel in Manila was nice, but nearly $100 a night. El Nido, Palawan was about $50 a night for basically a spartan room with 4 sad walls. Then I stayed 3 nights with friends. It adds up, but travel is definitely the big bite. I'm sure I'd be under $1500 a month just living in Bangkok.

For month to month apartment, you're probably looking at AirBnB. When I was looking at that I seem to recall you were probably looking at $500 a month and up, with most of the places similar to what I've got now more like $600 or $700.

I know some people might balk at those numbers (I thought Thailand was cheap?!...you spend how much on cocktails?!?!), but I've said this before on other threads. Bangkok is an inexpensive place to live and your money goes far...but it's not necessarily a cheap place. Bangkok is going to be zero fun if you're not willing to splurge on some cocktails at a rooftop bar sometimes. Or go to all you can eat meat (and all you can drink beer, urgh) at Best Beef with your pals. If all you want to do is live cheap, Chang Mai is a better spot where you can get your $150 apartment and hangout with broke ass digital nomads living off of spaghetti and Krating Daeng (Thai Red Bull).

Edit: oh a few more expenses. I have a cleaning lady that comes once a week for $60 a month. I go to massage at least once a week for about $10 for an hour so call that $50 a month. And before some scolds come here with their face punches, remember this is why people come to live in Thailand...so they can have the things they don't have in the West at reasonable prices. If I wanted to go full bore Mustacian, this isn't the place I'd be doing it...you can pay zero dollars for a maid in either Bangkok or the US so why come to Bangkok if that's how you want to live?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 10:59:41 PM by LAGuy »

travelawyer

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2017, 02:40:25 PM »

I lived in Chiang Mai in 2009-2010 and was able to get a falang apartment (foreigner style, with a bathroom and a stove) month to month, and even get a real estate agent to help me shop for it.  It didn't seem to me that year leases were at all required, although I was looking for 10 months, and my friend for 6 months, so a 1 month stay may be completely different, or maybe the times have changed with the advent of airbnb to fill that role.

travelawyer

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2017, 02:44:48 PM »

Everyplace we stay, the host always takes us to "this place I know that has the best tacos/schweinshaxe/roti/pad see-ew/etc. that the tourists don't know about". And it's *always* better than the tourist traps.


Thanks for your post--was really helpful to get some ideas of how I could spend time exploring a new place without spending too much. It looks like you guys are having a lot of awesome adventures!  I think staying with locals can really make a difference, although that will be less of an opportunity for me with a family.

Cookie78

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2017, 02:55:40 PM »
PTF

Love the posts and pics!

Looking forward to some nomadic exploring next year after I sell a house. Like most of you, I don't want to get 'stuck' financially because I can't afford to go home, but I don't want to work longer than I have to. Lucky for me I like roughing it a bit.

aperture

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2017, 07:44:43 PM »
Getting to know the locals instead of being spoon-fed what the tour companies want you to consume is like like reading the entire book, instead of just glancing at the cover. While the covers are nice and glossy, sometimes the real soul and the truth of a place lies just beneath the surface and it takes just a bit a time but certainly not a lot of money to open the book.

Gulp - um loved that - more please.  Could you please post the back story for the endless Journey. I am interested in what you did before and how you broke loose.  I am slowly making it through your gazillions of posts on your website, so if you have a post there that tells the story of how you got on the road, I would love to read it.  Best wishes, aperture. 
Able was I, ere I saw Elba.

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2017, 01:13:14 PM »
Could you please post the back story for the endless Journey. I am interested in what you did before and how you broke loose.

Not that much to tell. I was in IT, my wife was in social services working for the government.

We both really love motorcycling. So much so that very early on, we made the decision to embark on an extended journey.

From our August 17th, 2007 entry in Munich:

Quote
We met a guy who just flew his BMW motorcycle in from Vancouver. He was nine months into a tour that just included riding from the southern tip of South America all the way to Alaska. As we waved goodbye to our motorcycles, our minds were abuzz with the logistics of doing such a trip ourselves.

The train ride back to Munich had us discussing what it would take to do a motorcycle tour for over year, possibly two, that would take us around Europe (properly this time), Eastern-Europe, Africa and Asia, and even back to the Americas (south and central). It probably won't happen for a few years, but I think we're both committed to this idea. Last year, after riding to California and back, the seeds were planted for this Europe trip. Now, at the end of this trip, we've got to up the stakes again. "Ride The World", indeed!

It wasn't just idle talk. It was something that had to be done, by any means necessary.

Any means necessary meant five years of scrimping and saving and taking advantage of the equity we built in our home during a local red-hot housing market.

And then from our June 14th, 2012 entry:

Quote
Neda and I got our motorcycle licenses together in the spring of 2004, as an engagement present to ourselves. We thought it would be a neat thing to do.

We took day trips, hung out at motorcycle meets, rode on group rides, did track days, took longer motorcycle trips, rode dirt bikes, became motorcycle instructors, took even longer trips, and then dealt with the aftermath, the ensuing ennui of "real life" - the anchor of a home, the jobs and the bills; the maintenance of everything we've accumulated in our collective seven decades on earth.

So the solution seemed logical to us: quit the jobs, sell our home and everything in it, and set out on THE motorcycle journey with no route planned, no end in sight and no return date in mind.

And here we are! Still on the road! :D


Sometimes we trade in horsepower for camelpower... in the Sahara Desert

If anyone's interested in our trip, there are over 10,000 pictures and videos on our blog: http://www.RideDOT.com/
Gene ♦ Six Years on the Road ♦  http://www.RideDOT.com

Cashonda

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2017, 05:54:34 PM »
Ooh I am loving this thread! And the stories from LAGuy and EndlessJourney. Cool.

I would agree with some others that your budget might be a bit low depending on where you will be traveling. In the least expensive countries you might be way under budget but in most places you would have to skip any non-free touristic things. Sure there are a ton of free things to do, but sometimes the ones that cost a bit of cash can be awesome!

But you know best the types of places you will be traveling and the styles of accommodations you need. So I would shop around now as if you are leaving tomorrow and see if you can afford lodging, food and fun as well as transportation and then some padding for unexpected surprises.

I was just traveling for several months and it was shocking how many other travelers I met who had lost their phones, wallets, luggage - you name it, they got robbed or just dropped their phone in the toilet. :) Or the cheap place they were staying suddenly became unavailable and they had to move. These unexpected events cost money.

I'll give you an example budget for my recent 3 month visit to southern Spain. Let's say you can find a place to stay for €500/month, which is totally doable in many places. Sure you might have to share an apartment with someone or stay in a place without a kitchen but maybe that's ok with you. (If you want your own apartment you will probably pay at least €700 and up.) So then let's say you have €1000 left over. Sounds like a lot.

If you cook all your meals (and don't drink booze) your shopping food budget might be €50/week or more depending on what you eat, so let's say $200 on food. YMMV

Stuff like insurance and cell phone plans could vary a lot. I paid about €25/month for a nice data plan. Let's just say $200/month if the insurance is quite high?

You will want to get around to see the place you are visiting. Maybe you can walk most everywhere, that's free.

But a few times a week I want to take the bus. Let's just say it was €1 a ride or €4/day, to take a local bus to get to something outside of walking distance. If you want to visit neighboring areas by bus or train it could be around €10-20. Maybe I'd do that once a week. Let's just say €30/week for the two of you. Maybe when you get to that new place you are visiting you want an ice cream or a beer. €3 each. €200/month on this aspect

Besides walking around and cooking all my meals I want to have some activities. I try to visit museums and monuments on the days and times that they are free of charge. But some of the best and most famous ones are very expensive. Maybe  €10-20 each for entry fee. Or more! How else am I going to spend my days? Maybe you have a hobby like photography, that's pretty much free if you already have the gear. Maybe you like to read books, but you better be getting your books for free! haha. Maybe you like hiking and camping and will only be spending cash on transportation and food.

Definitely getting to know local people is rewarding and interesting and they can often give you the best money saving tips as well. Or they can be so awesome and so much fun that you end up spending your month's budget in a week because you are going out partying with them hahaha.

What if you want to do something like local language courses or learn to cook or to dance? Maybe you really want to try that tourist boat that goes up the river that is €20. Or what if you want to go out for dinner or drinks with new friends. You could maybe do a few days of this per month and then your budget is done.

Does this sound like fun to you or skimping? Do you like to spend your days walking around looking at architecture, sitting in parks reading free books, and taking street style snapshots  or do you like to sit at cafes and drink wine and try local foods and go to museums. You just have to decide how you like to spend your time and the types of places you like to travel and decide what budget works for you.

life_travel

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #32 on: November 13, 2017, 09:33:46 PM »
House cleaner is definitely not nessesary for us , I don't mind cleaning and I'll be FIREd so I want to come to Thailand for culture, not cheap maids. Will be having massages though !
Our current budget ( excl my bus to work and mortgage ) is $2200 AUD so pretty sure we can do it cheaper . It does worry me slightly the lack of funds but I'm ready for an adventure !
It's not all luxury OR living in "pits of the world" too.. There is a middle ground there and like I said we don't mind budget travel, I find it interesting :)

life_travel

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2017, 05:03:44 AM »
Ooh I am loving this thread! And the stories from LAGuy and EndlessJourney. Cool.

I would agree with some others that your budget might be a bit low depending on where you will be traveling. In the least expensive countries you might be way under budget but in most places you would have to skip any non-free touristic things. Sure there are a ton of free things to do, but sometimes the ones that cost a bit of cash can be awesome!
When we plan on $1500-2000 per month , we plan to spend longer in LCOL countries, so say if we spend $1200 each month for 6 months we'll then have $1800-$2700 per month for another two..
Quote

But you know best the types of places you will be traveling and the styles of accommodations you need. So I would shop around now as if you are leaving tomorrow and see if you can afford lodging, food and fun as well as transportation and then some padding for unexpected surprises.

We love South East Asia and South America but we also have a lot of friends in Europe that can't wait to see us ( we keep saying to them soon! soon! :) so we'll be staying with them for free.
Other than that we stay in private rooms in hostels or for longer term will rent studios or 1 bedroom apartments. In more expensive countries we will couchsurf, it's a GREAT way to meet locals. We've been couchsurfing hosts ourselves for years and made a lot of friends.
Quote

I was just traveling for several months and it was shocking how many other travelers I met who had lost their phones, wallets, luggage - you name it, they got robbed or just dropped their phone in the toilet. :) Or the cheap place they were staying suddenly became unavailable and they had to move. These unexpected events cost money.

I'll give you an example budget for my recent 3 month visit to southern Spain. Let's say you can find a place to stay for €500/month, which is totally doable in many places. Sure you might have to share an apartment with someone or stay in a place without a kitchen but maybe that's ok with you. (If you want your own apartment you will probably pay at least €700 and up.) So then let's say you have €1000 left over. Sounds like a lot.

If you cook all your meals (and don't drink booze) your shopping food budget might be €50/week or more depending on what you eat, so let's say $200 on food. YMMV

Stuff like insurance and cell phone plans could vary a lot. I paid about €25/month for a nice data plan. Let's just say $200/month if the insurance is quite high?

You will want to get around to see the place you are visiting. Maybe you can walk most everywhere, that's free.

But a few times a week I want to take the bus. Let's just say it was €1 a ride or €4/day, to take a local bus to get to something outside of walking distance. If you want to visit neighboring areas by bus or train it could be around €10-20. Maybe I'd do that once a week. Let's just say €30/week for the two of you. Maybe when you get to that new place you are visiting you want an ice cream or a beer. €3 each. €200/month on this aspect

Besides walking around and cooking all my meals I want to have some activities. I try to visit museums and monuments on the days and times that they are free of charge. But some of the best and most famous ones are very expensive. Maybe  €10-20 each for entry fee. Or more! How else am I going to spend my days? Maybe you have a hobby like photography, that's pretty much free if you already have the gear. Maybe you like to read books, but you better be getting your books for free! haha. Maybe you like hiking and camping and will only be spending cash on transportation and food.

Definitely getting to know local people is rewarding and interesting and they can often give you the best money saving tips as well. Or they can be so awesome and so much fun that you end up spending your month's budget in a week because you are going out partying with them hahaha.
Totally agree, we are flexible though.. We don't feel we HAVE to do all expensive touristy things, it all depends.

Quote

What if you want to do something like local language courses or learn to cook or to dance? Maybe you really want to try that tourist boat that goes up the river that is €20. Or what if you want to go out for dinner or drinks with new friends. You could maybe do a few days of this per month and then your budget is done.
We'll have a separate fund for language courses which is $5000, all other smaller classes will have to come from the normal budget. I guess it's like being mustachian at home, when you choose to invite friends for potluck dinner instead of going to expensive restaurant or going with them to (inexpensive)restaurant but being mindful how much we spend.

Quote

Does this sound like fun to you or skimping? Do you like to spend your days walking around looking at architecture, sitting in parks reading free books, and taking street style snapshots  or do you like to sit at cafes and drink wine and try local foods and go to museums. You just have to decide how you like to spend your time and the types of places you like to travel and decide what budget works for you.
Yeah, that's pretty much us. Walking around looking at architecture, taking photos ( for DH), reading ( for me), finding local transport ( so say a local ferry instead of that $20 tourist boat:)

We do things that EndlessJourney mentioned, free things that are fun and with local people.

I appreciate all input in this thread though, and I'm very much aware that we are all different, there is no right or wrong way to FIRE..It would be interesting to see how it works out for us.

limeandpepper

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2017, 09:18:39 AM »
To add to the discussion about costs etc... my partner and I spent about $20 each per day in Thailand when we were there for a month (so approx. $40/day as a couple), a few years ago. We were in Korea last month and I haven't added it up but I think it was something like $50/day/person ($100/day/couple). Currently we're travelling through Japan and I'm roughly estimating it will probably end up costing about $80/day per person (or $160/day as a couple) on average. So it really varies! In all these countries we had the same travel style, we'd stay in each country for about a month, but move from town to town every several days on average - some places we might stay a week or more, some just for a few nights. We can reduce expenditure even further if we just stay in just the one city for the entire month, but at the moment this is how we like to explore. Overall we try to keep costs low but we also make sure we have fun! It helps that many of the things we enjoy happen to be free or cheap, and we're not particular fussed about things like alcohol - we get our highs from street photography instead. ;)

Cashonda

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2017, 10:50:46 AM »
Yeah, that's pretty much us. Walking around looking at architecture, taking photos ( for DH), reading ( for me), finding local transport ( so say a local ferry instead of that $20 tourist boat:)

We do things that EndlessJourney mentioned, free things that are fun and with local people.

I appreciate all input in this thread though, and I'm very much aware that we are all different, there is no right or wrong way to FIRE..It would be interesting to see how it works out for us.

Oh perfect! It sounds like your budget will totally work for you then.  I think the worry is that expectations might not match reality but it sounds like you have quite the do-able plan. And yeah I forgot to mention staying with friends - that makes things a lot cheaper as accommodations can eat up the budget.

Can't wait to hear more about your travels! :)

Hirondelle

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2017, 01:07:30 PM »
I'm miles away from FIRE, but I've been a 'nomad' for pretty much the whole past year. In the beginning I traveled fairly high-speed (2-4 days in a place) and spent about 800 euro's/month. That was for 9 countries in 5 months.
This includes some outrageous spending like 400 on a diving course and 200 on a jungle trek/ziplining experience. Oh, and plenty of beers. I stayed in dorms most of the time, but even private rooms would've been about $10-15/night. For me, experiences are more important than 'fancy' accomodation and I naturally prefer Asian food over (often poor quality) western food.

After, I worked as a teacher in Saigon/HCMC for a couple months spending a whole $12/day. Yes, I shared a room with some friends but I also had a really shitty motorbike that I paid too much for and required lots of repairs, probably accounting for 15-20% of my spendings. If I had lived in a nice apartment in expat neighbourhood, I would've paid about $250 on rent and have total expenses around $500, max $600/month. Note; that includes eating 'out' 2-3x a day (mostly streetfood), unlimited trips to the swimming pool, a biweekly pole dancing class, a phone plan with data, loads of coffee and beer in cafes and all the repairs on my shitty bike.

I'm really amazed by LAguy's spending as I just can't imagine a single way to spend $2500/month as a single person in Asia. I know Saigon is cheaper than Bangkok but $2500?! I didn't even get to half of that amount when living in HCOL Boston paying $800/month on rent. Not even trying to judge or face punch, just genuinely trying to understand how that is possible.

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2017, 02:43:41 PM »
I'm really amazed by LAguy's spending as I just can't imagine a single way to spend $2500/month as a single person in Asia. I know Saigon is cheaper than Bangkok but $2500?! I didn't even get to half of that amount when living in HCOL Boston paying $800/month on rent. Not even trying to judge or face punch, just genuinely trying to understand how that is possible.

+1

Traveled through many SE Asian countries and our budget was around ~$750/month per person. A bit more in Singapore and Malaysia, much much less in Thailand.
Gene ♦ Six Years on the Road ♦  http://www.RideDOT.com

LAGuy

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2017, 09:56:31 PM »
I'm really amazed by LAguy's spending as I just can't imagine a single way to spend $2500/month as a single person in Asia. I know Saigon is cheaper than Bangkok but $2500?! I didn't even get to half of that amount when living in HCOL Boston paying $800/month on rent. Not even trying to judge or face punch, just genuinely trying to understand how that is possible.

+1

Traveled through many SE Asian countries and our budget was around ~$750/month per person. A bit more in Singapore and Malaysia, much much less in Thailand.

I think the reason for that is a lot of you guys are using different "buckets" for your budget items and not including everything in your total monthly spend. life_travel has a separate account for education spending. I seriously doubt EJ that you've included all the costs of your motorcycles in that $750 a month figure (transportation, depreciation, fuel, storage, or renting if you're no longer owning them). The numbers I've given include everything plus the kitchen sink. It includes my ACA insurance. It includes my travel insurance. It includes all travel that I do, including flights to and from the US as well as my about once a month trips to more local destinations. And again, the breakdown on that comes to about $2200 a month total so far, with about $800 of that being on travel and about $1400 covering the rest of my life (living in Bangkok, insurance, etc). Yeah, no doubt if I chose to share a room like Hirondelle, go without things like a cleaning service, and ate street cart food every day, I could spend like $500 a month here. But once again, as I've said before...I didn't come here to NOT spend money. I can do that at home in the US. I came here to SPEND money because my money goes so far.

No doubt I can drive the travel expenses down as well. Stay in a hostel. Go to the market, buy groceries, and cook spaghetti in the hostel kitchen with the other kids. Drink the cheapest ass booze from a cardboard box (Spanish sangria anybody?!). I've done all that...and at 43 years old I'm done traveling like that. If that's other peoples idea of a good time, hey knock yourselves out! My point on budgets, however, is that the life you want to FIRE to? It's great and all for a year, but do you want to be doing that when you're 70?

Edit: here's another expense that I wonder if everybody is taking into account? Visa fees. Visa on arrival in Thailand is only for 30 days. You can extend for 30, but that's $60 and a trip to immigration. Or, you can travel in and out of the country ($). You can get a longer stay visa, such as a student of Thai language or Muai Thai boxing ($), or you could work as an English teacher, or you can get a longer term tourist visa that lasts for 60 days eligible for a 30 day extension. The longer term multi entry tourist visa is good for up to 6 months (9 if you return to Thailand the day before it expires and get stamped in for 60 more days and then extend another 30) costs $200, still requires $60 for the 30 day extension and after all that still will require two visa runs outside of the country to get full use out of it. For some of you guys, with travel expenses for visa runs and consulate services that's like 10% or more of your monthly budget right there.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 10:23:58 PM by LAGuy »

Hirondelle

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2017, 12:13:10 AM »
I'm really amazed by LAguy's spending as I just can't imagine a single way to spend $2500/month as a single person in Asia. I know Saigon is cheaper than Bangkok but $2500?! I didn't even get to half of that amount when living in HCOL Boston paying $800/month on rent. Not even trying to judge or face punch, just genuinely trying to understand how that is possible.

+1

Traveled through many SE Asian countries and our budget was around ~$750/month per person. A bit more in Singapore and Malaysia, much much less in Thailand.

But once again, as I've said before...I didn't come here to NOT spend money. I can do that at home in the US. I came here to SPEND money because my money goes so far.
I think that's the main point. You chose to live a more luxury life while not reducing costs as much compared to being in the US (or living the same lifestyle while heavily reducing costs - all depends on your previous lifestyle). And I think your average is still dropping as the initial flight and startup costs will be spread over more months.

Regarding costs; I did include visa fees/runs. Luckily Vietnam has a 3 month tourist visa so I didn't have to do them frequently.
My costs also include insurances, however due the Dutch system I hardly paid anything as I didn't have an income.

But you're right that I didn't include international flights and the costs of the TEFL course (I consider that month as seperate as I wasn't living in Saigon yet, neither was I traveling, but it was the most expensive month due to course costs). If I include those, I spent a grand total of 9200 over 11 months, 836 euros/month.

life_travel

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2017, 02:00:07 AM »


I think the reason for that is a lot of you guys are using different "buckets" for your budget items and not including everything in your total monthly spend. life_travel has a separate account for education spending. I seriously doubt EJ that you've included all the costs of your motorcycles in that $750 a month figure (transportation, depreciation, fuel, storage, or renting if you're no longer owning them). The numbers I've given include everything plus the kitchen sink. It includes my ACA insurance. It includes my travel insurance. It includes all travel that I do, including flights to and from the US as well as my about once a month trips to more local destinations. And again, the breakdown on that comes to about $2200 a month total so far, with about $800 of that being on travel and about $1400 covering the rest of my life (living in Bangkok, insurance, etc). Yeah, no doubt if I chose to share a room like Hirondelle, go without things like a cleaning service, and ate street cart food every day, I could spend like $500 a month here. But once again, as I've said before...I didn't come here to NOT spend money. I can do that at home in the US. I came here to SPEND money because my money goes so far.


Once again I appreciate your perspective and experience. Yes, I'll have a couple of "buckets" but other than language courses "bucket" the only other one is unexpected medical expenses. Smaller ones will be covered by monthly budget ( I hope?)

Quote
Edit: here's another expense that I wonder if everybody is taking into account? Visa fees. Visa on arrival in Thailand is only for 30 days. You can extend for 30, but that's $60 and a trip to immigration. Or, you can travel in and out of the country ($). You can get a longer stay visa, such as a student of Thai language or Muai Thai boxing ($), or you could work as an English teacher, or you can get a longer term tourist visa that lasts for 60 days eligible for a 30 day extension. The longer term multi entry tourist visa is good for up to 6 months (9 if you return to Thailand the day before it expires and get stamped in for 60 more days and then extend another 30) costs $200, still requires $60 for the 30 day extension and after all that still will require two visa runs outside of the country to get full use out of it. For some of you guys, with travel expenses for visa runs and consulate services that's like 10% or more of your monthly budget right there.
I know about visas and fees as I work in travel and arranging visas is part of my job :)
In saying that I'm not calculating them exactly as in most countries in South America we can stay 3 months visa free and even 6 months in Mexico.. costs in Thailand is cheaper so hopefully visa costs will be offset by cheaper living.
But since I'm a fan of buckets I may create another line of one off cash amount for "visas".

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #41 on: November 15, 2017, 04:53:55 AM »
I seriously doubt EJ that you've included all the costs of your motorcycles in that $750 a month figure (transportation, depreciation, fuel, storage, or renting if you're no longer owning them).

That figure is all in. We bought the motorcycles in Thailand then sold them when we were done. The delta between buy and sell was $700 and we kept them for 24 months, so the actual monthly cost was $29/month, licensing and registration inclusive. Service in Thailand was cheap. The oil change and 6,000km service was $20.

In total, we did 12,000 kms in SE Asia. Our 7L tanks got us 250kms. Price per liter back then was around $1. Total gas for the two year stint was $336, so an average of $14/month.
Gene ♦ Six Years on the Road ♦  http://www.RideDOT.com

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #42 on: November 15, 2017, 05:07:14 AM »
here's another expense that I wonder if everybody is taking into account? Visa fees. Visa on arrival in Thailand is only for 30 days. You can extend for 30, but that's $60 and a trip to immigration.

That's a very un-Mustachian way of doing things. If you get a Single Entry Tourist Visa before you arrive, it lasts 60 days and only costs $30. Getting anywhere by songthiew is dead cheap and the cost of a "trip to immigration" if you live anywhere within BKK or CMX shouldn't be more than a couple of dollars.
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LAGuy

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #43 on: November 15, 2017, 08:12:31 AM »
here's another expense that I wonder if everybody is taking into account? Visa fees. Visa on arrival in Thailand is only for 30 days. You can extend for 30, but that's $60 and a trip to immigration.

That's a very un-Mustachian way of doing things. If you get a Single Entry Tourist Visa before you arrive, it lasts 60 days and only costs $30. Getting anywhere by songthiew is dead cheap and the cost of a "trip to immigration" if you live anywhere within BKK or CMX shouldn't be more than a couple of dollars.

It's actually free I believe for the SETV for 60 days, with another 30 days costing $60. The problem with it, however, is in the name. Single entry - you can't go in and out without getting another one. And you can't get it in Thailand. That means every time you take a trip out of the country it requires a trip to the Thai consulate for another one. So you lose a day of your life or more waiting around in the consulate line in Vientiane or wherever you choose to go to renew. Or, you pay a visa renewal service to handle it for you (usually same day service as they know who to bribe). So, I'm not so sure it's "un-mustacian" when you add up the various costs associated with renewal of the SETV (limits your ability to travel outside of Thailand to get full "value" out of the visa; requires travel to a consular city; payment to visa renewal service; payment of several days stay in a city you don't otherwise want to be in should you choose not to pay the renewal "service"). I guess it depends on how much you value your time. To me, $200 is worth not having to travel to consular cities I may not want to visit and to have the freedom to come and go from Thailand as I please.

A good example: about a month after I arrived a friend messaged me that he was going to be in Bali for a few nights. So, I just hopped on a plane and went down there for a few days then was back at my place in Bangkok a few days later with another 60 day stamp in my passport. If I was on the SETV, first I probably would have told my friend I couldn't go for visa reasons. Or, if I did decide to go, I'd have to see if there was a Thai consulate in Bali, or I'd be looking at an extra trip to a consular city.

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2017, 08:31:33 AM »
It's actually free I believe for the SETV for 60 days, with another 30 days costing $60. The problem with it, however, is in the name. Single entry - you can't go in and out without getting another one. And you can't get it in Thailand. That means every time you take a trip out of the country it requires a trip to the Thai consulate for another one. So you lose a day of your life or more waiting around in the consulate line in Vientiane or wherever you choose to go to renew. Or, you pay a visa renewal service to handle it for you (usually same day service as they know who to bribe). So, I'm not so sure it's "un-mustacian" when you add up the various costs associated with renewal of the SETV (limits your ability to travel outside of Thailand to get full "value" out of the visa; requires travel to a consular city; payment to visa renewal service; payment of several days stay in a city you don't otherwise want to be in should you choose not to pay the renewal "service"). I guess it depends on how much you value your time. To me, $200 is worth not having to travel to consular cities I may not want to visit and to have the freedom to come and go from Thailand as I please.

A good example: about a month after I arrived a friend messaged me that he was going to be in Bali for a few nights. So, I just hopped on a plane and went down there for a few days then was back at my place in Bangkok a few days later with another 60 day stamp in my passport. If I was on the SETV, first I probably would have told my friend I couldn't go for visa reasons. Or, if I did decide to go, I'd have to see if there was a Thai consulate in Bali, or I'd be looking at an extra trip to a consular city.

You're getting your terms and dates all mixed up.

I assume you're American (LAGuy). For most westerners, due to a bilateral border agreement with Thailand, you are eligible for a Visa Exempt stamp when arriving into Thailand. This allows you 30 days in the Kingdom for $0, not 60 days as you suggest: http://www.thaiembassy.com/thailand/changes-visa-exempt.php

While this might seem like a deal, if you wish to extend your visa exempt stamp an additional 30 days, you will have to pay 1900B or $60USD. $60 for 60 days.

However, if you plan in advance, you can apply for a Tourist Visa (SETV) and get 60 days for 1000B ($30USD). Plus, same as above, you can then also get a 30-day visa extension for $60, which brings the total up to $90 for 90 days.

Where the cost savings come into play is the frequency of visa runs. Whether you get the visa exempt stamp or an SETV, you have to do a visa run anyway. An SETV is much more cost-effective, since you only do visa runs 4 times a year (every 90 days), as opposed to 6 times a year (every 60 days).

As for coming and going as you please, as of a couple of years ago, the Thai government was cracking down on the number of visa exempts and tourist visas in travelers passports (no more than 2 visa exempt stamps per calendar year over land borders as per the link above). For long-stay ex-pats in Thailand, it actually behooves them not to go in and out too many times because they may not be let back in again, if the count is too high.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 11:04:03 AM by EndlessJourney »
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LAGuy

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #45 on: November 15, 2017, 12:42:11 PM »
You're getting your terms and dates all mixed up.

I think we're both mixed up here, EJ. Neither one of us is talking about the same thing. The main point I was trying to make is that visas (and visa runs) are one more cost to be budgeted for. This isn't the thread for an indepth visa discussion, but for the record, I wasn't advocating for the 30 day tourist exemption as being a good idea. I'm on a METV myself and that visa does allow in and outs and costs $200. One of the reasons I got that visa is for the very reason you say here: Thai government crack downs on visa runs.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 12:45:27 PM by LAGuy »

spartana

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #46 on: November 16, 2017, 11:04:59 AM »
Well I bought the van to try nomading for a couple of years and now am trying to figure out a budget. It seems like it'll be cheap since I'll be camping (State and Nat parks mostly not boondocking) or short term.rentals, and won't be driving much and won't be eating out much or doing expensive sight seeing things.

BUT.... I do plan to do things like ski which is expensive, as well as board the dog fairly often so I can do things without her. No idea what that will cost or how often I'll do that so will assume an extra $1000/month to cover those kinds of things if needed. Otherwise I'm hoping to stick to around $1500/month for transportation, lodging, food and low cost fun with the other $1000/month for more costly things if I decide to do them. I figure some months I'll never use my allotted $1000 extra so can horde it all together to use for something more spendy if I want. Skiing in Aspen for a month? OK maybe not THAT spendy ;-).
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 11:06:50 AM by spartana »
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SailormanDan

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #47 on: November 17, 2017, 04:30:43 AM »
Nomadic life is a matter of personal preference and the differences can be far ranging, helicopters and Galapagos being an example.  When I made the decision to FIRE I wanted to satisfy two needs: FI and travel the world.  The best, and least expensive, way I could come up with this was to sell everything buy a boat and sail around the world.  Now most people would probably NOT want to do this but think of the advantages: no hotels as I have a floating home, no airline tickets as I can just drive the boat, no gas as I just use the wind, no eating out as I cook at home in exotic destinations while viewing the most incredible sunsets .  That alone takes care of 80% of the cost of travel.  Again, not for most but think of the possibilities.

When I first started out I was spending about $1,000 per month (single and very frugal).  Now I’m on a budget of around $1,700 per month (two people) and living quite normally.  We live in the Caribbean and are able to do most outdoor activities for free.  We eat very healthy on farm-fresh food but do occasionally dine out.  Our day is spent exploring the island, working on the boat and activities just sustaining our existence.  We definitely are NOT bored.  A trip to the grocery store, for example, is a half-day experience that includes getting the dinghy to shore, walking a mile to the bus stop, taking the bus, shopping for deals and making sure everything in your basket can fit into a refrigerator the size of a large suitcase.  Some would be frustrated and exhausted to do this every other week be we absolutely love it.  Besides, the one thing we have a lot of is time.

Yes, we still use airplanes and cars and trains and many other conveniences from time-to-time but we are able to keep to our budget as we pick the times (shoulder season) and destinations with relative ease keeping to low-cost countries/cities.  Family, friends, Airbnb, Hostels and Couchsurfing are all excellent ways to travel.  Due to hosting people on our boat from other countries we have been invited to stay (for free) with people in NYC, Israel, Greece, Morocco, Spain, Sweden and many, many more.  Letting go of the American mindset in traveling (first class for everything) is one of the greatest things one can do to experience the richness of different cultures. 

Hope to see you in the Galapagos one day! 

MgoSam

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #48 on: November 29, 2017, 12:37:02 PM »
Thanks Sailorman! That's incredible! I'm assuming you had a sailing background.

I love this idea, don't know if it is for me.

SailormanDan

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #49 on: November 30, 2017, 02:57:31 AM »
Nope, no sailing background. Boating and a love for the water, definitely yes. Had a mid-life change in plans and decided I needed to understand how a boat could sail into the wind (technically they don't but pretty darn close). Now I've been out at sea for 3 years. Hopefully many more. Just followed a dream and was passionate about living retirement on my own terms. So many people I know look back in life saying, "I wish I would have..." Not me!