In the past few months, we’ve been spending an increasingly large amount of our free time perusing through the wonderful family travel blogs we’ve come across, taking in others’ experiences, and building up our pre-trip excitement. For us, going away for a year-long trip with our 3 year old no longer seems like a different thing to do, but definitely the right one for us.
We have found most friends and family don’t necessarily feel the same. People seem to really struggle with the idea of going off route from a pre-determined adult lifestyle: university, job, marriage, baby, job, job, job.
We were unhappy in our day jobs and desperately wanted to spend more time with our son, so decided to make a change. The prospect of an uncertain future was a little frightening at first, but the thought of adventure completely destroyed any hesitance we may have felt.
When we started researching long-term family travel, we quickly realised that we could potentially be part of this extremely lucky group of people, who due to the nature of their work, can become digital nomads and work on the road.
Having a family has meant that we have had to be a little bit more savvy and do more prep work when planning our round the world trip. We’ve been gearing up our work life and finances for over a year now, just to make sure we cover all basis.
So what steps did we take to really start saving up for the trip of our lifetime? Read on for our top tips:
STEP ONE: SETUP A MONTHLY BUDGET
You’re not going to believe just how much money you throw away on absolutely nothing: premium TV channels, take-away coffees, bottled water, ready-made food, lazy lunches and drinks.
I’m not saying you should go T-Total and stop socialising, but try to limit your daily spending as well as when you do go out.
- Prep packed lunches and take a coffee/tea thermos to work.
- If you’re within cycling or walking distance to work, see if you could be saving any extra cash by skipping public transport or car costs. In Brighton for example, walking to work saved us £4.80/day which translates to a whopping £96/month.
- If you need to buy any clothes, think of them as an investment, also making sure they will be useful during your trip.
- Check your direct debits and cancel anything you don’t need (insurance for a long dead computer, anyone?).
- Cancel any premium TV channel subscription.
STEP TWO: GO MINIMALIST
We looked at our belongings and did a massive clear up of anything that wasn’t necessary for our day-to-day. Do you really need that KitchenAid, your baby’s Jumperoo or baby sling? We sold lots of furniture, gadgets and baby gear that we no longer needed.
TIP: We found we got pretty much what we asked for when selling on Gumtree (Craigslist in the US), without having the hassle of shipping costs and bid uncertainty on Ebay.
STEP TWO: DOWNSIZE
If you own your place, consider renting it out and moving to a smaller apartment to maximise your earning potential. We managed to rent a (very small) flat half the price of our Brighton home lets out for, which means we can add that money into our saving pot.
If you’re renting, consider moving to a smaller flat and save on the rent.
TIP: Before you take the plunge and notify an agent or your landlord calculate how much agency fees, commission and tax will cost you to see whether this is still a good solution for your money saving plan.
STEP THREE: OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT
Make the most of all that lovely cash you’ve just saved yourself on the previous steps and put it in a nice and safe place free of impulsive retail therapies…a savings account!
Do a bit of research before opening it, to make sure you benefit from one with the highest interest.
STEP FOUR: GO FREELANCE
If you’re planning to travel on the road, regardless of your industry, you may want to consider starting your business well before boarding that plane.
Having extra money coming in from downsizing should help you be more financially stable to setup your freelance business. It’s still wiser to start building up your client list before completely letting go of your full-time job.
After you do quit your job, make sure you have a financial plan in place to make sure you can afford to be out of work for about 2 months, while you’re building up your client list. Have a strategy to building up your client list, and be militant about it: we advertising our services on our respective websites, network on Twitter, advertise for free on Gumtree and do a lot of cold-calling for opportunities.
Our aim is having a loyal client base that will stick with our services, even when we’re abroad.
STEP FIVE: RESEARCH, RESEARCH!
One of the most efficient ways to save money on your trip is by researching your destination, looking out on Twitter and other travel blogs to gather tips on how and when to book accommodation, transport and where to go for tasty and budget friendly bites.
For example, we are huge roller-coaster fans, so started following lots of resorts & theme parks in the US on Twitter, and signed up for newsletters so we can keep an eye out for US theme park discounts or bundle buys.
Same goes for state-wide discount clubs/Groupon type websites: if you’re planning on staying in a state/country for long enough these are definitely worth looking into as they can give you lots of savings on accommodation, attraction tickets and meals. Here in Portugal, by keeping an eye on Groupon, we’ve scored a 2 day stay (with breakfast) in a beautiful mountain hotel in Geres for a bargain €69.
So you see, no lottery – just lots of planning and a serious saving strategy!
We’d love to hear from you! Do you have any saving tips you can share with us?