Author Topic: Nomadic Budgets  (Read 8189 times)

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #50 on: December 05, 2017, 07:24:24 AM »
That thread was great. Would love to hear about anyone travelling in Mexico or central/south America.

I don't believe in precise budgets, but I like to divide expenses in those categories:
A- Rent
B- Everything else / necessities: food, utilities, gym, amortized clothes, furniture and electronics, insurance, medication, tools, passport fees, a few restaurants (cuz you have to), etc.
C- Fun money: expeditions, tourism, bars, dining, hotels, trips/plane, etc.

What we've found is that although we set a rough budget per day (or per week or per month):

1) our lifestyle inevitably adapted to that budget
2) over time, the average spend can and will regress towards the allocated budget

Our budget in this case is an upper limit of $40 per person per day. In Northern Alaska and Norway, this was impossible to stick to - a campsite in Norway was $30/day. In northern Alaska, gas was close to $6/gallon and the distances to travel were vast. But whatever we blew in the far north (or Switzerland or Singapore), we made back in places like El Salvador, Cuba, Thailand.

Even in expensive places, we adapted - staying in a hostel or camping in the most highest COL areas. Eating lots of groceries and also spending less time in HCOL. Then in LCOL areas, we recouped the costs or if we'd done especially well, we lived like kings for awhile. Eat out a bit more often. If we needed to plan for an upcoming expense, maybe we'd stay in a hostel for a while so the money saved will afford us a cruise in the Galapagos Islands, or a ticket to attend a MotoGP race...

If you're tracking the spending, you can always course-correct and alter your lifestyle to fit the budget.

In many ways, the budget question seems to be like the arguments around 4% SWR. Some people treat that number like it's gospel: "You have to withdraw 4%. Nothing more, nothing less."

The reality is that nothing is ever set in stone. You don't have to spend the entire daily budget every day (just like you don't have to take out 4% SWR), and the flip-side is that if you do over-spend, you can always tighten your belt and claw it back at a later time.

I wouldn't let the budget control you too much. Barring catastrophic circumstances, you can always control the spend by altering your lifestyle. It depends on your willingness to balance out your comfort and the desire to see those far away, exotic places.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 02:23:51 PM by EndlessJourney »
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Hirondelle

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #51 on: December 05, 2017, 10:19:41 AM »
EndlessJourney; I love your mindset and flexibility to adapt to the different areas you travel and think about it, without letting it control you too much.

Loved the photos and stories too btw :)

vine

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #52 on: January 04, 2018, 12:26:18 AM »
About $25 per person per day average is my all inclusive number for travel in cheap to moderately priced countries. I definitely don't gravitate towards touristy things, but I don't avoid them either. If you plan on spending much of your time back home than increase that significantly for things like health insurance, storage, whatever.

I am intentionally front loading the cheaper countries towards the beginning of retirement in hope that it allows my stache time to do its magic. At some point I'll ramp up that number and spend more time in more expensive destinations.

The advantage of a nomadic lifestyle is that you can really pick and choose what to spend depending on where you are and what interests you.

limeandpepper

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #53 on: January 04, 2018, 03:27:54 AM »
Reporting in!

We are coming up to the end of a trip, and my partner estimates by the end of 143 days he'll have spent about 8000 AUD (or 6270 USD). I am a bit more frugal and my expenditure will likely be around 7000 AUD (or 5490 USD). These figures include flights as well as travel insurance and vaccinations, not just the usual daily costs of accommodation, transport, food, activities etc.

Our itinerary over the 143 days is: Australia - Malaysia - Korea - Japan - Hong Kong - Macau - Thailand - Malaysia - Australia. (With Australia being our home base, not one of the destinations.)

I haven't gotten around to adding it up but (for just my portion) I'd say flights cost me a bit less than AUD$1000, travel insurance just over AUD$300, vaccinations around AUD$50, leaving approximately AUD$5650 for everything else during the 143 days, i.e. AUD$40/day (or USD $31/day) excluding flights, travel insurance, and vaccinations.

Cost per day for Malaysia is the least, mainly because we were staying with my family for most, though not all, of the time, and also because it is cheap anyway. Next cheapest is Thailand. Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Macau are the more expensive destinations, and among those I would say Korea is the cheapest and Japan the priciest, with Hong Kong and Macau somewhere in between, though I might need to confirm with proper calculations. But also we were moving around quite a bit in Japan, and not so much in HK/Macau. If we had stay put in just one city in Japan, it might actually be cheaper there than HK/Macau.

---

A few years ago we did an itinerary of similar duration of Australia - Malaysia - Myanmar - Thailand - Taiwan - Malaysia - Australia and that cost us less because the destinations were cheaper, plus the AUD was higher at the time.

vine

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #54 on: January 04, 2018, 09:33:02 AM »
Reporting in!

We are coming up to the end of a trip, and my partner estimates by the end of 143 days he'll have spent about 8000 AUD (or 6270 USD). I am a bit more frugal and my expenditure will likely be around 7000 AUD (or 5490 USD). These figures include flights as well as travel insurance and vaccinations, not just the usual daily costs of accommodation, transport, food, activities etc.

That's interesting - at the six month mark in my adventure I was right around $40 usd per day. Eventually I started traveling slower and things got way cheaper. Travel (flights, buses, car rental, whatever,) is the most expensive part of traveling.

Gimesalot

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #55 on: January 04, 2018, 09:47:00 AM »
We aren't planning on a full-time nomadic lifestyle but more like living abroad for the rest of our lives.  To make our budget, we picked a mid-cost city, which also happens to be our first stop.  Our very luxurious lifestyle comes in at $75 per day for two people.  We figure that this is a good average for us to be stable at anywhere in the world.  So of course Western Europe will probably run us more, but we would only stay a few months before heading somewhere that is significantly cheaper, for example Eastern Europe. 

limeandpepper

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #56 on: January 04, 2018, 11:58:18 AM »
That's interesting - at the six month mark in my adventure I was right around $40 usd per day. Eventually I started traveling slower and things got way cheaper. Travel (flights, buses, car rental, whatever,) is the most expensive part of traveling.

Yeah, for sure. This trip for us has been a mix of fast (a different city approximately every week) and slow (in one city for 4 weeks). It's a bit hard to choose between the two sometimes. Generally I think for countries I'm visiting for the first time I tend to want to check out what the different cities/towns/villages are like, but for countries I've explored before then I would be more content to stay put in one place.

I read some of your post history and your travel life sounds interesting!

Brokenreign

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #57 on: January 05, 2018, 11:30:45 AM »
I am really enjoying this thread!

SailorDan - how did you start off sailing? I'd love to get into it but it seems like such a massively steep learning curve for someone with no background.

EndlessJourney - I've been using your website as a sort of "future life manual" recently. Hoping to do a RTW ride next year (on a bike with about 1/4 the displacement of yours mind you).

Gushing over - best contribute something!

Wife and I bought an older class B campervan recently and plan to spend the summer and fall (4 months) backpacking and canoeing/fishing in Western Canada and camping in between. We're budgeting ~ $1000 CAD/month ($4000 total) which is comprised of:

- $245 for backcountry passes and reservation fees. You can buy an annual wilderness pass in Canada which covers all the nightly backcountry campsite fees for the national parks and only have to pay the reservation fee for each trip.
- $500 for campsites. We're budgeting an average of $25 per night and around 20 nights. We're hoping to offset the cost with some boondocking but that's pretty difficult to do in national parks, which is where most of our backpacking is located. It's not worth driving far to save camp fees due to the beastly gas consumption of the van. I have a bike rack and bike with panniers to ride to get groceries, retrieve the van after a one-way backpacking trip.
- $1,125 for gas. The van only gets 13-15mpg and we will likely drive about 5000km. Average cost of gas is $1.25/L.
- $300 for maintenance and insurance. Pretty much everything was redone in the van before we bought it and it's working well. I can do most work myself. Insurance is very cheap for RVs.
- $1600 for food. We make our own backpacking food for very little money but usually crave sushi or something with massive amounts of saturated fat after each trip. Resort town restaurants tend not to be cheap. Our dog's food is about $30 a month as well.
- $300 for equipment fixes/replacements etc.

Anyway - that seems to be a fair budget for someone doing mostly semi-free outdoors activities.

ixtap

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #58 on: January 05, 2018, 11:44:15 AM »

SailorDan - how did you start off sailing? I'd love to get into it but it seems like such a massively steep learning curve for someone with no background.


I am sure Sailor Dan will also answer this question, but there are so many ways to get into sailing. You only need to be near a body of water with sailors on it.

Free:
-Look at meetup.com and craigslist for people looking for crew on their boats
-Put up your own free ads offering to crew
-Find out where the local racers are and try hanging out (although this is a common suggestion, in fact many marinas are gated)
-check out library books on sailing
-check out learn to sail videos on youtube

More spendy:
-take lessons. DH and I actually took our first lessons at a kid's sailing camp that does an adult weekend at the beginning of the season to get things up and running. We got room, board and lessons for the same price as just the lessons at most places.
-join a sailing club - there are often clubs which offer free or discounted rentals (once you have paid the club and monthly fees), with an introductory lesson.

Medium spendy:
Get on craigslist and find a super cheap, small sailboat and put it in the water. Push the tiller and pull the lines. Obviously, this will go a little better if you have already read some books or watched some videos. Either way, wear your life jacket and expect to get wet.

Brokenreign

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #59 on: January 05, 2018, 12:04:37 PM »

SailorDan - how did you start off sailing? I'd love to get into it but it seems like such a massively steep learning curve for someone with no background.


I am sure Sailor Dan will also answer this question, but there are so many ways to get into sailing. You only need to be near a body of water with sailors on it.

Free:
-Look at meetup.com and craigslist for people looking for crew on their boats
-Put up your own free ads offering to crew
-Find out where the local racers are and try hanging out (although this is a common suggestion, in fact many marinas are gated)
-check out library books on sailing
-check out learn to sail videos on youtube

More spendy:
-take lessons. DH and I actually took our first lessons at a kid's sailing camp that does an adult weekend at the beginning of the season to get things up and running. We got room, board and lessons for the same price as just the lessons at most places.
-join a sailing club - there are often clubs which offer free or discounted rentals (once you have paid the club and monthly fees), with an introductory lesson.

Medium spendy:
Get on craigslist and find a super cheap, small sailboat and put it in the water. Push the tiller and pull the lines. Obviously, this will go a little better if you have already read some books or watched some videos. Either way, wear your life jacket and expect to get wet.

Much appreciated! I remember reading that Jacob at ERE volunteered to help crew a boat to learn how to sail. That would also aid in my sad lack of upper body fitness. I will add this to the to-do list for year 3 of post-FIRE haha.

electriceagle

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #60 on: January 05, 2018, 08:18:09 PM »

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).

I'd love to hear about this. My profession is in the laboratory, but I find a fair amount of remote knowledge work that I can do from my computer. I'd be interested in getting into an actual lab periodically, though.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 08:36:24 PM by electriceagle »

SailormanDan

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #61 on: January 07, 2018, 06:48:48 AM »
SailorDan - how did you start off sailing? I'd love to get into it but it seems like such a massively steep learning curve for someone with no background.

I got into the boating life at a very young age so my appetite for being around water only grew over time.  In the past I had taken sailing trips but never gave it much thought.  One day I decided to figure out how a boat can sail into the wind - well, they can't sail directly but pretty close.  I took a 2-day ASA sailing course, just the basics, and was hooked.  You can learn thru various other methods (as Ixtap describes, thank you) but for me the hands-on learning from someone experienced was the key since I wanted to buy a boat and live full-time on it in the immediate future.

The learning curve is steep only because the terms are unique. Who says galley, berth, starboard, halyard, tack, clew, etc?  Once you get the terms down and you spend a few hours understanding how a sail captures wind and catapults a boat then you are well on your way.  I could teach someone to sail a boat in just a few hours.  It will take me an entire lifetime to learn proper sail trim in various weather conditions as well as boat plumbing, electrical and engine mechanics and a host of various other items that need to be learned over time.  Hope this helps.
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eliza

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #62 on: January 07, 2018, 03:07:48 PM »
PTF.

I'm planning on FIRE-ing on $100/day.  I'm hoping to establish a home base in the mid-west, but travelling ~6 months a year.

StetsTerhune

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #63 on: January 09, 2018, 03:59:47 AM »
I just looked at my (couple of 2) spending for 2017, posting here hopefully it's worth something to someone.

Spent total of $41,000. Of which $10,000 was on housing. (I don't have a break down of any other categories).

This was year 3 of being permanent travelers, and probably the first year that I felt was truly sustainable. We are reasonably frugal, but don't track spending at all (other than housing, which I track in detail because it's so interesting to me).

2017 broke down as: 2 months in southeast Asia, 3 months in South America, 2 Months in North America, and 5 months in Europe. We don't really like to move around the globe that much, but we had commitments (mostly weddings) in all 4 of those continents that went for and then stayed.

We have done much cheaper than this in the past, but long term haven't felt like it was sustainable. You can do hostels, or crappy bungalows when you're young, or when it's a short term thing. it really wears on me when I know it's permanent though. Now we go for nice, but simple places, with some genuine luxury thrown in (when we can do it for a reasonable price), and quite a bit of camping when that makes sense.

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #64 on: January 09, 2018, 03:52:25 PM »
Reporting in!

We are coming up to the end of a trip, and my partner estimates by the end of 143 days he'll have spent about 8000 AUD (or 6270 USD). I am a bit more frugal and my expenditure will likely be around 7000 AUD (or 5490 USD). These figures include flights as well as travel insurance and vaccinations, not just the usual daily costs of accommodation, transport, food, activities etc.

Our itinerary over the 143 days is: Australia - Malaysia - Korea - Japan - Hong Kong - Macau - Thailand - Malaysia - Australia. (With Australia being our home base, not one of the destinations.)

I haven't gotten around to adding it up but (for just my portion) I'd say flights cost me a bit less than AUD$1000, travel insurance just over AUD$300, vaccinations around AUD$50, leaving approximately AUD$5650 for everything else during the 143 days, i.e. AUD$40/day (or USD $31/day) excluding flights, travel insurance, and vaccinations.

Cost per day for Malaysia is the least, mainly because we were staying with my family for most, though not all, of the time, and also because it is cheap anyway. Next cheapest is Thailand. Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Macau are the more expensive destinations, and among those I would say Korea is the cheapest and Japan the priciest, with Hong Kong and Macau somewhere in between, though I might need to confirm with proper calculations. But also we were moving around quite a bit in Japan, and not so much in HK/Macau. If we had stay put in just one city in Japan, it might actually be cheaper there than HK/Macau.

---

A few years ago we did an itinerary of similar duration of Australia - Malaysia - Myanmar - Thailand - Taiwan - Malaysia - Australia and that cost us less because the destinations were cheaper, plus the AUD was higher at the time.

That works out to almost exactly $30k/yr for a couple.

Did you have any running costs back in Aus that you are not accounting for? While we would probably get rid of our apartment, I can still see having to pay for some storage and a few other odds and ends regardless of where on the planet we were.

limeandpepper

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #65 on: January 09, 2018, 09:48:54 PM »
Did you have any running costs back in Aus that you are not accounting for? While we would probably get rid of our apartment, I can still see having to pay for some storage and a few other odds and ends regardless of where on the planet we were.

We are fortunate that we have family members who are willing to let us keep our stuff with them temporarily because they have lots of extra unused space. We actually bought an apartment and rented it out just before we left, so I guess there are running costs of owning an apartment and real estate management fees, but we have a tenant in there so that covers those and then some. We plan to move into that apartment upon our return and live there indefinitely, so in the future I suppose if we go on such a trip we'll just keep our stuff in there and not rent the place out? Hmm.

Reader

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #66 on: February 04, 2018, 10:40:30 PM »
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.

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.

Thanks so much for your super inspiring post! That's exactly the type of slow travel i aspire to when i FIRE!

Mrs. Rocker

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Re: Nomadic Budgets
« Reply #67 on: February 11, 2018, 03:45:31 PM »
We are full-time nomads living in a motorhome following the weather to avoid the extreme heat and cold as much as possible. We post our expenses and experiences on our blog Off Our Rocker RV. See link below. We do eat the majority of our meals in the RV as that is our preference and not out of necessity. We buy what we want when we want but are naturally frugal and not big shoppers. Not much room in the RV for unnecessary purchases anyway. We do travel slowly as there is no rush and it gives us more time to explore areas. Less stress that way as well. We love our crazy RV life!
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