The question “How much money do I need to go travelling?” is probably the one I get asked the most from people wanting to give travelling a go. It’s also probably one of the hardest to answer because there are so many factors to consider. There isn’t a set amount of money to take because your trip will be individual. Everybody wants to see different countries and do different things in those countries. Some people work, others don’t. One person wouldn’t dream of staying in a hostel whereas someone else won’t stay in anything else. You can see how impossible it is to tell someone how much money they are going to need! I realise that you do need some sort of answer though so here’s a few things to take into consideration when planning your trip.
Where do you want to go?
The amount of money you will need to travel in different countries can differ so much. South East Asia is notoriously cheap but Australia and New Zealand are known to be very expensive. Once you’ve decided where you want to go, do your research on the country to see how much accommodation and food costs. Talk to people you know who have been there and see how much they spent on a daily basis.
How long do you want to travel for?
This obviously has a massive impact on the amount of money you need. You might not know exactly how long you’ll be away for but if you have a rough idea that will help. Knowing how long you will be in each country for is good for knowing what type of visa you need. For example, you can get a free tourist visa if you’re in Australia for 3 months but if you’re staying a year, you’ll need a working holiday visa which you will need to pay for.
Do you want to work during your trip?
If you’re going to work then you don’t need to take as much money with you as your savings will be topped up whilst you are away. You should also think about when you want to work. If you’re going to work straight away then you don’t need to take as much away but if you don’t want to work for the first 3 months or so then you need to make sure you have enough to fund yourself until then. Finding a job isn’t always easy either. Make sure you don’t have to work literally straight away as it might take weeks to find a job.
Hotel or Hostel?
Most backpackers are happy to stay in hostels and most are really nice these days. You still get the odd dodgy one but it’s all part of the experience! Use Hostelbookers to compare hostels in the area. You can sort by price and read reviews from other travellers which is always useful. Hostels also have a choice of dorm or private rooms and shared or ensuite bathrooms. Dorms with shared bathrooms are the cheapest but sometimes you just need a good sleep and a privacy so be prepared to pay more if you occassionly want a private room.
If you want to be a flashpacker then you’ll be turning your nose up at hostels and staying in hotels the whole trip. This is a LOT more expensive so don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Travelling alone, as a couple or in a group?
The reason I ask this is because you can get the odd discount for booking trips/rooms as a group. You’re only going to save a bit of money but everything helps when you’re a backpacker! This also helps for buying food. Cooking as a group or as a couple will save you tons of money, and it’s fun!
The best thing to do is always take more than you will need. Plans change daily when you are travelling and you never know when you might have to spend more than you originally thought. Learning to budget is all part of the backpacker experience so don’t worry about money too much. It’s exciting that you’re thinking of going to travelling so start saving and look forward to all your amazing adventures ahead!