Author Topic: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?  (Read 9286 times)

wealthviahealth

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How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« on: April 12, 2015, 09:06:55 AM »
I am a young whipper snapper at the start of my career with no dependents or anchors of any kind tying me to down to any one location or path currently.

Haven't yet done the whole "travel and explore the world" thing yet and am really starting to get the itch.

I am wondering how much cash folks in my situation would need saved up to feel secure enough to quit their job and to travel abroad for 8-12 months.

I have a student loan and car payments but am currently looking to sell my car to buy a cheap one in cash outright.
Since I would not be paying rent back in my place at the us I would also be saving around 10k a year from this alone and would be comfortable greatly reducing my payments on my student loan as well.


kpd905

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2015, 09:13:03 AM »
What is the balance, interest rate, and payment for your student loan?

arebelspy

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2015, 09:35:05 AM »
I'd probably say you could spend 12 months spending about 15k, maybe 20k (depending on where you want to travel and what type of activities).  I'd probably want a 10k buffer for when you get back to give time to find a job, get back set up, etc., personally, but that's up to you.

Add on top whatever payments you'll need to be making while you're gone (student loans, for example, if you kept the car any registration or insurance or whatever, etc.).

So I'd personally say 30k + payment totals for bills due back home.

But you could do it on half that, easily, if you're okay coming back broke.

But this is all assuming you're okay traveling like a broke student does, not needing fancy hotels, restaurants, etc.--staying cheap in hostels, airbnb, sometimes couch surfing, eating authentic but cheap street food, etc.--obviously the fancier you go, the more you'd need.  The region(s) you're in also have a great effect--Europe is more expensive than Southeast Asia, obviously.  And how much you move around via planes.  If you hop all over the place, plane tickets get expensive.  If you "slow travel" it's cheaper.

So it's all up to you and how you do it, but the above numbers are what I think are reasonable based on my research.
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PharmaStache

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2015, 10:12:40 AM »
Totally depends on where you go (western Europe vs SE Asia), how much you travel around vs stay in one place, how many activities you do vs just sticking with free stuff…you need to sit down and figure out your priorities and then do a rough budget around that.  I'm sure it could be done for 15k, but could cost 50k or more.  I spent around 20k in 4 months, but that was all over the world (so about 5k of that was airfare) and I did every activity available. 

Ricky

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2015, 10:38:48 AM »
I believe in quality over quantity. In my opinion, your question is phrased wrong.

It should be, "I have (or will have) this much cash, what is the best use of it when it comes to satisfying my wanderlust?"

Since cash isn't limitless, we don't know your salary, and we don't know your field, and don't know your interests, we can't realistically predict how much cash you should be able to have. You need a timeline.

Establish when you want to start traveling (in 2/3/4 months/etc...) Estimate your level of cash by that time. Look up the best bang for buck with that level of spending., and go. It doesn't matter if you're gone for 5 months of 12 months, it just matters how great of a time you have. Don't spend less over the course of 12 months for a mediocre experience when you could have the most amazing time in 5 months.

It would also be a good idea to have a game plan on where you want to be working/living when you get back.

yyc-phil

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2015, 10:43:21 AM »
What parts of the world interest you most? For example, if SE Asia interests you, traveling on a shoe-string budget not counting the initial flight to get to a central location (Bangkok is the best place to start such journey), would cost you around $500 a month, with a combination of beach huts/hostels, couchsurfing, volunteer farms/retreats (wwoof, helpx for example), etc, and traveling within the region via buses or train. On the other side of the scale, most of Europe is expensive, even on a budget, but there are ways to afford it by combining blablacar and hitchhiking for travel within, and couchsurfing for accommodation. Still, my monthly budget for a European trip would probably reach $1000.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2015, 11:11:18 AM by ykphil »

limeandpepper

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2015, 12:09:02 PM »
I am wondering how much cash folks in my situation would need saved up to feel secure enough to quit their job and to travel abroad for 8-12 months.

I think this will vary greatly depending on how you feel about your situation. Are you fairly carefree or conservative about money matters, do you think you can find a job easily upon your return, etc.

Me, I quit my job and went on a 4.5 month trip last year. I didn't have debt and had (and still have) a healthy net worth, but I also had a niche job position and a strong aversion to dipping into my savings. Still, I wanted to travel and my partner put my mind at ease about the financial aspect, so we eventually did it, and it was so much fun that I wish we extended it. :)

There's more than one way to look at it:

1) You are fairly confident about where you want to go, what you want to see and do, and how you want to go about it. In this case you can figure out how much the trip might cost, and that will help you figure out how much you need in savings.

2) You are pretty flexible and easy to please, and you are happy to take advantage of opportunities based on how much money you're comfortable with spending. In this case, you can have a tentative budget and choose your destinations and activities according to it.

In my case, my partner and I can be a mix of both, but we're more of a 2), I think. There are so many interesting places to visit in the world, and given that we don't feel rich yet, we're happy to go with the cheaper options and we know we can have just as much fun. Our trip ended up being a mix of planning and going with the flow. To quite a major extent, our destinations were determined by factors such as cheap flight deals and whether the country has a low cost of living.

Oh, and remember to factor in travel insurance and vaccinations. They don't cost much in the scheme of things, and they can go a long way.

wealthviahealth

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2015, 04:35:41 AM »
But this is all assuming you're okay traveling like a broke student does, not needing fancy hotels, restaurants, etc.--staying cheap in hostels, airbnb, sometimes couch surfing, eating authentic but cheap street food, etc.--obviously the fancier you go, the more you'd need.  The region(s) you're in also have a great effect--Europe is more expensive than Southeast Asia, obviously.  And how much you move around via planes.  If you hop all over the place, plane tickets get expensive.  If you "slow travel" it's cheaper.

So it's all up to you and how you do it, but the above numbers are what I think are reasonable based on my research.

Thanks for the help arebelspy, interestingly enough the above paragraph is exactly what I want to do.
I have zero desire to eat in super fancy spots while there or stay at great places, really just want a full culture immersion.
Definitely interested in slow travel as well, want this to be a mindful journey.
 

RunHappy

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2015, 05:25:10 AM »
It totally depends.  How much cash do you have right now and how much do you want to have when you get back?  Figure out how much it will cost to get to your starting place and how much it would cost to get back, how much you need to cover your student loans, then go from there.

I absolutely agree slow travel is the best and cheapest way to travel.  As said before SE Asia can be expensive to get there but inexpensive once you are there.  You might consider starting a travel blog and see if you can earn some money to help offset your travel costs.  A friend of mine took a year off to travel.  His plan was to work small, odd jobs along the way, which he did. He used this money to get himself to the next place.  When he got to Thailand, he fell in love with the country, became an ESL teacher, and stayed.  That was 2 years ago. 

desk_jockey

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2015, 05:34:05 AM »
Check out Lonely Planet's Thorntree forum.  There is a section on Gap Year travel  I think you'll find a lot of like-minded budget travelers getting advice on similar questions.    The site isn't quite feel same as before the Wheelers sold-off, but still is a good site for specific advice on budget travel.
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/gap-year-round-the-world-travel

lpep

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2015, 05:40:09 AM »
I'm kinda doing this now. Quit a job after having gotten TESOL certified nights/weekends, moved to Hanoi in Feb. of last year. Intended to stay a year, planning to leave in June, so 18 monthsish.

Don't think travel will make everything better. Don't think it'll never get old, either. I don't miss food from home any more or even craft beer, which was big at first, and I've had a GREAT experience here. I LOVE my students. I'm saving actually nearly as much as I would be at home, and I'm living a higher lifestyle here. But it's not the end-all be-all. Being away from family/friends gets old, making new friends who cycle through the city gets old, missing hobbies you just can't do here gets old, etc.

I know someone who moved here with $1k in his pocket. It was stressful, but he made it work. I was comfortable moving here because I had $20k in savings. The point is: you can support yourself pretty easily teaching 10ish hours per week at $20/hr (rates in other countries might be different). What you feel comfortable leaving your home country with is up to you.

lovesasa

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2015, 11:37:43 AM »
Don't think travel will make everything better. Don't think it'll never get old, either. I don't miss food from home any more or even craft beer, which was big at first, and I've had a GREAT experience here. I LOVE my students. I'm saving actually nearly as much as I would be at home, and I'm living a higher lifestyle here. But it's not the end-all be-all. Being away from family/friends gets old, making new friends who cycle through the city gets old, missing hobbies you just can't do here gets old, etc.

This. I've been teaching in China for nearly 2 years now. I'm just now ready to pay off my final student loan solely from the money I've been able to save at this job. I was dead set on staying another year and simply saving (I can save ~$1,500-$2,000 a month) so I would be totally set when I decided to leave so I could travel, maybe bum around Europe.

But now... I'm incredibly homesick. The last two months have been rough. The short-timers cycled through and the few long-term expats I connected with are moving to other cities or leaving. I miss home. I miss my friends. I miss not everything in life being so difficult. I miss feeling like I'm accomplishing something and moving forward. So here I am, 90% set on going home at the end of my current contract (mid-June). I left the US not planning to ever come back. Things change.

I know someone who moved here with $1k in his pocket. It was stressful, but he made it work. I was comfortable moving here because I had $20k in savings. The point is: you can support yourself pretty easily teaching 10ish hours per week at $20/hr (rates in other countries might be different). What you feel comfortable leaving your home country with is up to you.

Also this. Definitely this. I had a good cushion saved up and was mortified when one of my coworkers showed up to China with only $600 to her name. If I had realized how easy it was to get teaching jobs as a native speaker, especially in Asia, I wouldn't have panicked nearly so much. The cost of living is low. The demand for English teachers is high.

Basically, a lot of your budget depends on your style of travel. If you're doing a lot of country hopping, lots of flights and short stays, it will be more expensive. If you're going slower, taking buses and trains, staying for the duration of tourist visas... You can take advantage of a lot of lower costs (i.e. sublet an apartment for a month, rather than rent a room) and can always find a way to earn some extra cash if you find someplace you want to stay longer.

For a year, I wouldn't plan on less than $10,000. My personal rule when I left was to always to have enough cash savings untouched that I could buy an emergency last-minute flight home. Your comfort zone may be bigger or smaller than that. I also have a couple of high-limit credit cards I could put a flight on if the situation were absolutely dire which helps with ease of mind, but my cash has never gotten low enough that I've even needed to consider that. And you can't use credit cards most places in China anyway.

Also if you need any dental work done, do it in Thailand. ;)

ETA:
Forgot to address the student loan/car thing. My student loans are on a graduated repayment plan, though obviously I've been throwing significant extra payments at them. The logic was to have the lowest possible necessary payment at any time so if something happened and I didn't have the cash to cover a larger payment, I wouldn't be screwed and trash my payment history/credit. I never feel comfortable unless I have about 6 months coverage of ALL my US bills in my US checking account. This includes absolutely everything that gets regularly billed to my US accounts. Part of my reasoning is that if something were to go wrong, it would be fairly difficult for me to send emergency cash home quickly.

I would definitely sell the car, but I don't understand the logic in buying a new (used) one if you're about to leave the country. If it's at all possible, I would just try to go carless before you leave. Bank the savings and put it towards your trip.

Also some money saving tips: If you don't already have them, set up an AirBnB and Couchsurfing account. Both are widely used worldwide - AirBnB is even catching on here in the boonies of China. Both of these tools will save you a lot of money traveling and are a good way to meet locals or expats who can show you a much more interesting time than the general youth-hostel-hopping scene. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get your first couple of stays if you don't have reviews to show you're a real person/not an axe-murderer, etc, but it gets much easier once you've been reviewed a few times on the sites. Ask around if any of your friends are members, and at least for Couchsurfing they can confirm knowing you and write you a recommendation. AirBnB I think you actually have to stay with someone for them to write you a review; i.e. a payment has to be processed.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 11:53:39 AM by lovesasa »

medicaustik

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2015, 12:13:45 PM »
OP-

I've been researching this for a number of years and am myself saving up for a similar trip.

Like you, I'm a single dude with nothing tying me down.

My destinations are South America and Southeast Asia. I've been to Europe and it was incredibly interesting, but it's very expensive. I highly recommend it if you want to budget for it.

The general budget that is thrown around in long-term budget travel communities is $25,000 for a multi-continental trip.

If you want to stick to cheaper continents and less flights, you can do $15,000. I've heard of people doing Southeast Asia for $10,000/year. And a lot of htem will also start working at hostels in backpacker areas to extend their travel.

My own budget is $25,000 and I'm planning on overlanding from northern Columbia down to Chile, then back up to Rio, then flying over to Bangkok where I'll do the Banana Pancake trail through Southeast Asia, then over to India and up into Nepal. From there, I'll just wing it - no plans after that.

wealthviahealth

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2015, 06:13:53 AM »
Don't think travel will make everything better. Don't think it'll never get old, either. I don't miss food from home any more or even craft beer, which was big at first, and I've had a GREAT experience here. I LOVE my students. I'm saving actually nearly as much as I would be at home, and I'm living a higher lifestyle here. But it's not the end-all be-all. Being away from family/friends gets old, making new friends who cycle through the city gets old, missing hobbies you just can't do here gets old, etc.

Thank you for this as well. I often get caught up in the romantic vision of it all being perfect but in reality I can see how being so far removed from all of your old routines/ lifestyle could actually get hard after a while. Fitness is one of my greatest passions and if this were to get turned upside down for a few months due to stressful travel situations/ lodging, this alone could mess with my sense of self. 

lpep

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2015, 06:48:13 AM »
Don't think travel will make everything better. Don't think it'll never get old, either. I don't miss food from home any more or even craft beer, which was big at first, and I've had a GREAT experience here. I LOVE my students. I'm saving actually nearly as much as I would be at home, and I'm living a higher lifestyle here. But it's not the end-all be-all. Being away from family/friends gets old, making new friends who cycle through the city gets old, missing hobbies you just can't do here gets old, etc.

Thank you for this as well. I often get caught up in the romantic vision of it all being perfect but in reality I can see how being so far removed from all of your old routines/ lifestyle could actually get hard after a while. Fitness is one of my greatest passions and if this were to get turned upside down for a few months due to stressful travel situations/ lodging, this alone could mess with my sense of self.

I think a lot of people do that with different goals they might have. "If I can just move to a different city, everything would be great!" "If I buy that new car, everything will be great!" "If I get a boyfriend/girlfriend, everything will be great!" I've caught myself thinking things like this multiple times, and the important thing, in my opinion, is not to expect one change in situation to change everything, and not to change what it does change for the better, necessarily. Any sort of changes you want will take work, and outside forces can't do it all for you. I wish someone had told me this a few years ago, so there ya go.

That said, I found MMM while living here in Hanoi; I've found confidence in my own skills just by being in a seller's market as a teacher; and switching from an office job to teaching, I've found that I'm adaptable, fairly patient, creative, and that I love working with teenagers. They're lovable, goofy little shits. I've also amped up my cooking skillz because there's not nearly as much pre-packaged food around, and I've discovered that I really love living in smaller spaces because of the simplicity.

If you're into fitness, you should think about WWOOFing! After graduation, a friend and I WWOOFed in the UK for 3 months, and it was a ton of fun. It can be cheap, too, if you stay mainly in one place and use Megabus to travel when you do. And SE Asia is fantastic, of course. Hanoi has about 5 square meters of parks, and the sidewalks are useless for running because people have tea stands on them every 5 feet or park motorbikes on them or there are random planters built into them that don't have any plants, but other cities are probably better for gyms/outdoor exercise :)

acoin

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2015, 08:04:55 AM »
Hi,

I am basically currently doing what you want to do. I have been living in Hanoi for over a year now, all the while traveling around SE Asia. I hope I can help you.

First, to answer your question, it depends on where you want to go but to travel around SE Asia (a good destination) you'll need about $1,000/month to travel and live comfortably here. You can do it cheaper, sure, but $1k/month is safe.

What are your goals for traveling? Lpep summed up the experience of longterm travel very nicely. It is a mixed bag. For me, it is best to have some goals and some projects to work on. I'd go crazy if I didn't have plenty of work (I work remotely for a software company back in the States) and projects to occupy me during the boring times. I think it is good to have goals and projects to work on during the massive amount of downtime you'll have.

Traveling alone can really wear on a person. If you don't have a traveling companion, we should talk about that. I've met a few people traveling alone and they either don't make it very long or they get seriously disillusioned with travel.

You say you are "at the start of your career," and I would recommend that you have some good work experience to put on your résumé before you take a "gap year." After a year of traveling, you will not want to return to the searching for an entry-level job thing.

Good luck, and please let me know if you have any questions.

wealthviahealth

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2015, 04:47:22 AM »
Thank you all for your comments and guidance on this.
This feedback was eye opening and allowed me to see that this plan really might not be as desirable as I first imagined.
Gotta love this thread for that very reason!

Perhaps I am just in need of an extended vacation packed full of adventure and new experiences.

markbrynn

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2015, 05:13:22 AM »
For a bit of balance. I traveled for 8 months pretty much all overland, mostly in Asia. It was one of the best things I've ever done in my life. It was long enough to feel truly free and to eventually (last couple of months) look forward to going home. Whether any individual will get sick of it or struggle is extremely dependent on their character and experiences. Same with traveling alone. My trip was with my wife, which was good and bad. I had my best friend with me at all times, but it also made us less open to meeting other people (we met plenty, but less than if traveling alone). Traveling alone is usually filled with highs and lows, and is much more likely to be successful if you either a) have an outgoing, friendly, confident personality or b) are happy to be alone a lot.

On the cost side, my trip's budget was about $80/day for 2 of us, which included airline tickets (we didn't fly much), special activities, an expensive month in New Zealand, etc. Our budget in most of Asia was closer to $40/day, including some activities. This was staying primarily in decent double rooms at hostels or cheap hotels. Where it was hot this almost always included A/C (one of my things). We ate fine, always cheap. There's so much Western food in parts of SE Asia it can be a challenge to find Asian food (exaggeration, but only slightly), so it's not like you only get to eat rice.

Regarding earlier comment about a shorter, more impactful trip, I would tend to disagree. It depends (as usual) on your personality, but my life is usually time limited. I make decent money and can buy what I need, but don't have as much free time as I want (welcome to MMM). So an 8 month slooooooooow paced trip was perfect for me. In fact, there was a regular debate between my wife and I about us trying to do/see too much. I just wanted to relax and let the world float by. I'm glad that we saw some great things, but just taking it easy was magical for me.

Either way, best of luck.

arebelspy

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2015, 08:10:42 AM »
Thank you all for your comments and guidance on this.
This feedback was eye opening and allowed me to see that this plan really might not be as desirable as I first imagined.
Gotta love this thread for that very reason!

Perhaps I am just in need of an extended vacation packed full of adventure and new experiences.

That's unfortunate. I think if you did it, you would look back on that eight months to one year as some of the best of your life, and have stories to tell, grow as a person, etc.

It's very different than just a "extended vacation."

Best of luck, whatever you decide.
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Ricky

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2015, 09:07:06 AM »
Thank you all for your comments and guidance on this.
This feedback was eye opening and allowed me to see that this plan really might not be as desirable as I first imagined.
Gotta love this thread for that very reason!

Perhaps I am just in need of an extended vacation packed full of adventure and new experiences.

It doesn't work like that. You're just asking for more burnout trying to fit everything you want to do in a few weeks/months. I'm not saying that the experiences won't be good, just saying that it won't completely relieve the itch.

I think you're focused more on the negative anecdotal information posted here such as this:

Quote from: lpep
Don't think travel will make everything better. Don't think it'll never get old, either.

To which I would reply: whether it gets old or not is up to you and how adverse you are to "settle in". Whether everything will get better or not is highly dependent upon what your definition of "better" is and what you are trying to make better in the first place. Your sense of burnout and wanderlust will not be made better by packing everything together.

You're less focused on:

Quote from: lpep
...and I've had a GREAT experience here. I LOVE my students.

Ultimately, it's about the experiences. You'll never regret having experienced things, but there's a large possibility you will regret having NOT experienced the things you want to. And no one else can live this for you. I get where you're coming from, part of taking this big leap and doing extended traveling is thinking not many people do it and you're unique somehow. You want to escape from the everyday norm. Then you find out that actually a lot of people do take these big trips and that their stories are satisfactory enough for you to the point where you don't deem it necessary to experience these things yourself. I think that's flawed thinking and you're doing yourself a disfavor. What you're missing is that 99% of the people who've done things like this would tell you they don't regret it at all and overall had a great time, even if it largely hasn't changed their life. Traveling doesn't have to be life changing, but it can still serve a purpose like scratching an itch.

Substitution is often as good as identical products. What are you doing fitness-wise that you can't recreate somewhere else?

Cookie78

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2015, 09:26:00 AM »
I think a lot of people do that with different goals they might have. "If I can just move to a different city, everything would be great!" "If I buy that new car, everything will be great!" "If I get a boyfriend/girlfriend, everything will be great!"

When I get to FIRE, everything will be great!!! ;)

Good luck with your travels wealthviahealth. I haven't done a full year before, but I've done 3-6 months plenty of times in my youth and am looking forward to more of it after FIRE.

Jeremy E.

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2015, 09:48:39 AM »
If you wanted to travel Europe for a year, you could easily spend over $100,000, you could also visit places like mexico, china, venezuela, and spend as little as $5,000 in a year thanks to geographic arbitrage, it all depends on where you want to go and how luxurious you want your stay to be. The downside to spending all your money as soon as you get it, is that you then have no savings and your money is no longer working for you.  I like the idea of having investments that can work for me, and plan to never spend more than 4, maybe 5% of my cherrished investments, so that they can hopefully recoup the hit and continue to work just as hard for me.

forummm

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2015, 10:27:56 AM »
A perspective not exactly answering your question, and hence may or may not be useful:

I think the timing this kind of travel plan doesn't really fit with my personality. Obviously yours may be different. I have always been motivated towards achieving my long-term goals. The idea of taking a year off at 25 (or whatever), leaving the workforce, and spending down my life savings is incredibly unappealing. I didn't know about FIRE at that age, but now I know that it would have increased my time to FIRE by several years. Instead, I could build up my savings for 10 years or so and never need to work again and could travel as much as I wanted to. Yes, having a wife and kids would make that travel more difficult. But it could be nice to experience it as a family. Trade offs.

And my perspective is informed by the fact that I have done some international and a lot of domestic travelling (2 cumulative months of international over 15 years). And it was interesting and good to do. But not life transformational. But the catch-22 is that you have to have had some of that experience to see what you think about it.

I think there's no right answer. If you consider the different options, there are many good ones.

I would like to start a similar thread for post-FIRE needs--how much for the rest of my life? That way I'd know what my FIRE target would be. But I don't actually have answers to some basic questions--like how much of the time post-FIRE do I even want to travel. I guess one of the benefits of being FIRE is that you can have a lot of time to figure that out.

Retire-Canada

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2015, 11:06:38 AM »
I am wondering how much cash folks in my situation would need saved up to feel secure enough to quit their job and to travel abroad for 8-12 months.

I've never taken 12 months off, but I love to travel.

I have taken as much as 4 months off at a go and in that year I probably had 6 months of total if you count other shorter vacations/holidays.

For a 17yr stretch I never went a year without at least a 1 or 2 month major trip. You can hold down a professional job and make a decent wage and travel if you can be happy with a month off for a trip and then 2-3 months occasionally for something bigger.

Although there are a few things on my bucket list that don't fit into that amount of time 80% of what I want to get done does and it doesn't hurt my long-term FI goals much as I can come back to known income with minimal downtime.

1 month off is decent amount of time to explore a country you are interested in and if you know you have another month coming up next year plus the odd shorter 1-2 week trip happening over the year it may scratch your travel bug.

Just wanted to throw out another option that gets you lots of travel time and is very FIRE compatible.

-- Vik

JoJo

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2015, 12:05:40 PM »
I've taken 20 months off and loved most of it.  7 months of that was teaching english at the end.  Constant travel does wear thin, but then you rent a cheap apartment for a month and stay for awhile.  I did it on a medium budget and looking back on it could have done it much cheaper if I hadn't flown around so much (did 6 continents on my trip).   

Alot of people are suggesting south east asia.  That's certainly the cheapest place but I'd put in a vote for central & south america.  Learn some spanish (or better yet, take some cheap private lessons in Ecuador or Guatemala).  It will make a huge difference and give you some language skills you might use later.

lovesasa

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2015, 12:00:22 AM »
A perspective not exactly answering your question, and hence may or may not be useful:

I think the timing this kind of travel plan doesn't really fit with my personality. Obviously yours may be different. I have always been motivated towards achieving my long-term goals. The idea of taking a year off at 25 (or whatever), leaving the workforce, and spending down my life savings is incredibly unappealing. I didn't know about FIRE at that age, but now I know that it would have increased my time to FIRE by several years. Instead, I could build up my savings for 10 years or so and never need to work again and could travel as much as I wanted to. Yes, having a wife and kids would make that travel more difficult. But it could be nice to experience it as a family. Trade offs.

There are definitely always trade-offs. I am a bit different from you in that I have always loved to travel. I went abroad for the first time when I was 15 and have pretty much spent the rest of my life trying to figure out how I could continue to do that forever. However, like you, I am fairly goal driven and didn't want my finances to get in the way or to completely derail chances of being financially secure, if not necessarily financially independent.

Initially this meant I thought I would have to give up my dreams of long term travel. However, after a long period of job hunting and looking into my options, I realized that teaching abroad helped me fulfill both goals. As another poster said, you can travel abroad and also work on skills that are advantageous to your career when you get home. Spanish and Chinese are both in very high demand, and German can occasionally be useful.

This helped me with my decision to go to China (I already speak German and Spanish). While I'm here I can scratch the travel itch, living abroad and travelling to other parts of Asia during my school holidays, without derailing my financial goals. Additionally, I'm improving my Chinese. I've also been lucky enough to find roommates from Germany and Spain, so I'm not completely losing my languages. The great thing about China is I find that at least currently, I can save almost as much money as I could in the US, if not more than at your normal entry level job.

If you're willing to live in bigger cities such as Shanghai or Beijing and have some previous industry experience, it's also fairly easy to find positions for either American or Chinese companies, although those would probably prefer you to have existing language skills. Anyway, my main point is that I wouldn't necessarily view long term travel as detrimental to financial or career goals. You can enjoy life abroad and still work on your career path, even if it's in a more non-traditional way.

Oh and I've managed to pay off my student loans in my 2 years here. So... there's that.

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2015, 10:49:12 AM »
Re above post:

Teaching abroad could be a good way to see a particular country. I've known people that do that, and they can live really nicely and save almost all their money because it's so cheap to live there. Downsides include that you have more limited mobility (staying in roughly the same place for a year) and have to work (unless you enjoy the teaching and don't consider it work). Upsides include that your bank account balance can actually grow, you could leave with almost nothing savedm and that you can really dig into a country and culture and really experience it (vs the typical 2 week or less visit).

Kaminoge

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2015, 03:44:57 AM »
Thousands (making up a number) of Australians do this every year. Many of them with very little cash. If you're willing to go slow, work as you go (not necessarily for cash, for accommodation etc) and be flexible with your plans you don't need much at all.

I'd say if you have the interest then do it. I'd be a much richer woman if it wasn't for the several extended travel periods I have in my past but I've never regretted any of them. I will add though that I never went into debt for them either. Now I'm firmly middle aged I don't have the desire to do long term super cheap travel anymore but I'm so glad I did it when I was young. It taught me a lot and it showed me that an ability to travel was central to what gave me pleasure in life. I have built my whole lifestyle around that (so now I change countries every few years and spend a couple of months a year traveling) and I've no regrets at all.

Melody

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2015, 06:46:14 AM »
I find a comfortable standard of budget travel to be between 50 and 100 a day depending on if I can score free accommodation, how quickly I am moving and if I am in a western country or not. I don't think I'd like to have less than $50 a day + a flight... but YMMV. So perhaps $20k for travel for one year would be my minimum more would be great if you want some more wacky experiences (skiing, tickets to big music festivals etc). You could do even expensive cities like London on $50 a day without couch surfing... and I have a no couchsurfing.com rule. Friends of friends/friends of my parents are open slather... but complete strangers... not really my thing! In London, $30 of your $50 will go on a dorm bed in zone 2, $10 on a day pass for the train and the remainder on food and beer. But London has loads of cool free stuff so it can be done (and I have done it). In Asia, you'd be able to do a lot more. If I had the choice between 8 months of awesome and 12 months of penny pinching I'd pick 8 months of awesome... but again YMMV.

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2015, 07:26:34 AM »
My husband and I took one year traveling to 26 countries in 2012. Cost $36K for everything for 2 people. Several of the long flights we did cover with miles, though. About half the time was spent in expensive countries (Western Europe, South Pacific, Japan) and half the time in cheaper countries (Southeast Asia, India, Nepal). Did some cool stuff like rent camper vans to drive around Australia and New Zealand, but for the most part tried to keep things low-cost. In developing countries, we usually stayed in private rooms with private bathrooms in guesthouses/hostels and ate out a lot. In developed countries, we usually rented apartments and mostly cooked for ourselves. Obviously we moved around quite a bit and it would've been cheaper to slow travel and go to fewer places. I kept very close tabs on how we were spending our money and found that generally the developing countries would run $20-30/day per person and the developed ones $50-60/day per person, but this was as part of a couple sharing accommodation costs. Europe is a lot cheaper right now, though, with the dollar so strong against the euro.

This was one of the best experiences of our lives and we're often reminiscing about what we did and how cool it was. Felt like we lived more in that year than in many other periods of our lives that encompassed multiple years. Since then, we've both been working in Chicago for about 2 years now to save up a decent nest egg. We have a baby on the way (due date in 3 days :P) and I'm planning on going very part-time afterwards and trying to convince my husband to quit next March so we can go on a long, slow road trip across the U.S. and see a bunch of National Parks. And after that? Maybe settling out west for a while or maybe doing some very slow travel abroad (more like 3-4 months in one place at a time)...but I would definitely encourage you to travel while you're young and have minimal obligations.

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Re: How much cash to quit and travel for 1 year?
« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2015, 08:05:31 AM »
I can't answer your budget questions but wanted to chime in to encourage you to not give up on this plan.  Seeing your comment that this thread was discouraging...it shouldn't be.  It's true that running away won't solve problems (it's like a children's fable!), but that doesn't mean it won't be a once-in-a-lifetime, life-changing experience.

I lived abroad for two years in my 20s- one year in England and another year in France.  It was funded travel so I broke even on the trips (via scholarships/fellowships- it was study abroad travel.  First time in undergrad, second time after my masters degree for most of a second masters.  Did an additional summer trip for a few months in Normandy as well.) 

I liked having a purpose while I was there.  I traveled on the weekends and during holidays/summers, staying in hostels.  Had a young-person's rail pass (carte 12-25) and took trains all over. 

Quote
Felt like we lived more in that year than in many other periods of our lives that encompassed multiple years.
I agree with the above quote.  That was some serious living.  And I'm very glad I did it pre-kids.  Not that traveling with kids wouldn't be rewarding...I'm just glad I took the opportunity when I had more or less unlimited freedom.