Before we start blogging about our trip we figured it was important to talk logistics.
This blog post is thorough and intended for someone who needs a practical guide for long term travel ( i.e. Feel free to skim if you are not that person!)
This post will cover:
- What helped us choose our dates and location
- How we budgeted (which will result into actual expenses document at the end of our travels)
#1 How we chose our dates and locations
Our trip was planned around one person, Nate’s brother Charlie.
The strict timeline of this trip determined our location as well. We wanted to be somewhere warm and get to locations that are difficult to visit without so much time. Based on these perimeters we decided on the following:
- Vail, Co
- New Zealand
- Sri Lanka
- After deciding on the countries we were interested we started downloading podcasts to start learning and get a rough sense on how to divide our time between locations.
- We double checked that our passports don’t expire more than one year after our trip.
- We sold our car (we did so on Craigslist)
- We found a sublease for our apartment and moved our stuff to storage.
- We got travel insurance through World Nomads. This also acts as our health insurance.
- In order to avoid money exchange fees, we applied for a checking account through Charles Schwabb High Yield Investor Account with no ATM fees or Foreign Transaction Fees. Note: We already have a ChaseSapphire Preferred Credit Card that does not have any Foreign transaction fees as well.
- We had prescriptions that were needed filled in advance
- We purchased our plane ticket to our first international location and our plane ticket back at the end of our trip. We like using Google flights.
- We switched over to T-Mobile. It is by far the best American carrier for international travel. Unlimited texting and data and inexpensive phone calls.
# 3 Packing
Our situation, faced us with needing to pack for four different scenarios:
- A backpack for 5 months abroad in 75-80 degree weather (this included California).
- A suitcase for Vail (that could be brought back to Chicago by family).
- A box of Summer wedding weekend clothes that were mailed to Chicago before we left New York.
- Everything else… Anything that did not fall into the categories above was packed for long term storage. We also took this time to edit and purge, donating a lot to Housing Works
Below is a breakdown of what was packed for the actual backpacking part of the trip. We both use E Bags Mother Loader. They are between 70-100 bucks and open like a suit case which keeps us organized. We also use the Packing Cubes they sell. The prices fluctuate so keep checking back if it is at a higher rate!
A breakdown of Liz’s back back:
- Nike Sneakers
- 1 long sleeve shirt
- 1 long sleeve jacket
- 3 bathing suits
- 5 sports bras
- 2 yoga pants
- 1 hiking pant
- 1 active shorts
- 6 tank tops
- Sam Edelman Gigi Sandals in Gold
- HM Cardigan that I take everywhere because it’s so versatile and light weight
- 5 tank tops
- 1 maxi Dress
- 1 maxi skirt
- 1 scarf to act as a shawl, blanket, sarong
- 2 bras (1 strapless)
- 2 Jean shorts
- 2 nicer shorts
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of linen pants
- 4 socks
- 10 underwear
- iPad mini
- JBL speaker
- Day backpack
- Rain jacket
- Quick Dry Yoga Towel
- American Cash $80
- ID and Passport
- All of my favorite products from home, I transferred into travel size containers.
- I prefer to pack face wipes instead of face wash because it’s one less liquid and very useful when you want to freshen up on a plane, in a car, or just need to wipe your hands off and can’t get to a sink.
A breakdown of Nates backpack:
- 6 t shirts (2 dri fit)
- 1 dri fit long sleeve shirt
- 1 singlet
- 1 button up shirt
- 1 thin hoodie
- 1 pair of jeans
- 2 khaki shorts
- 1 mesh shorts
- 2 board shorts
- 10 pairs of underwear
- 4 pairs of socks
- 1 pair gloves
- 1 beenie
- 1 baseball hat
- 1 pair athletic shoes
- 1 pair closed toe beach shoes
- 1 day pack string bag
- 1 usb battery
- 1 international power converter
- 2 multi purpose power cords
- 1 car power converter
- go pro plus accessories
- portable speaker
- waterproof bag
- workout band
- Travel Pillow
- deck of plastic playing cards
- credit cards
- debit cards
- health insurance card
- drivers license
- 1 passport
- Business cards
- American cash
# 4 Planning a Budget
The first thing you need to do is come up with an overall budget. We totaled up all of our assets and anything we owed to get a sense on how much we could afford to spend while leaving us with a comfortable buffer for us to return to without jobs. For us, that number was $25,000 for the two of us for 5 months. In other words $2,500 per person per month.
We did a rough look at potential flights using google flights and estimated $5,000 in total flight costs. We then set aside $6,200 for our splurge budget. That money will pay for a nicer meal, a hotel, or any activity that is beyond our daily budgeting.
We had a pretty good sense that Vail would cost around $700 and California would cost around $300 so we just set those budgets.
With $12,800 remaining we used a somewhat complicated formula to assign the remaining funds to each location. My Funky Travel has daily budgets for every country. We used that information combined with the approximate number of days in each country to spread out the funds.
Australia is the most expensive country and we planned on $181 dollars per day. Thailand is the cheapest country and we planned on $54 dollars per day. These figures do not include anything that we want to take out of the splurge budget, like sky diving or a nice hotel if we get tired of roughing it.
If you are interested in seeing an example of our very intense tracking spreadsheet 🙂 please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org