While writing this blog, we have noticed that we are definitely not the only ones who dream of quitting the rat race and traveling the world – possibly without a return ticket. Many people dream of selling everything they own, quitting the job and seeing the world instead. Leaving is not easy though and especially money issues stop many people from making their dreams come true. Come on, you cannot simply jump into the unknown if you don’t have a huge fortune in your bank account! What if you run out of money right after you start your travel and everything goes wrong?
According to our own experience, we can tell though that you actually can travel the world even with relatively small savings. We recently talked about the budget of our Asia trip in an interview that we gave to a Finnish newspaper Aamulehti so we got inspired to write about this topic also on the blog. In this article, we discuss how big savings are enough to travel the world. We also reveal what kind of savings we had when we started our one-way trip.
Planning the budget for a world trip
Traveling the world and quitting the rat race doesn’t necessarily require huge amounts of money as you can also do this with a much smaller budget.
We are naturally not able to give a single answer to the question how big savings you need to have to go for an indefinitely long trip. It all depends pretty much on your travel plans and goals. Are you thinking about a comprehensive trip around the world with lots of activities and want to return to the normal life after? Or do you maybe dream of laying in a hammock and living a relaxed life on a paradise beach in Asia? Or maybe you want to find a job on the way or become a digital nomad.
It is clear that a trip around the world with all seasonings can easily cost tens of thousands of euros. Saving this kind of sum can feel like a mission impossible for many people so they simply dump their travel dreams into the trash bin. But on the other hand, you should also think how much money the normal life in your home country actually costs you. Just paying for the car and apartment can take a huge bite out of your bank account every year. What if you used this money for traveling instead?
Anyhow, we want to point out with our own story that traveling the world and quitting the rat race doesn’t necessarily require huge amounts of money as you can also do this with a much smaller budget. A small travel budget might not be enough for the most exotic destinations or activities from elephant safaris to climbing Himalaya, but you can still see and experience a lot even with a low budget. Also, taking a break doesn’t always have to mean a year-long trip. Even a month or two in new landscapes can make wonders. The feeling of freedom that even a short trip offers, can bring a completely new point of view to your life. It can also help to leave the stress of everyday life behind.
We must be a quite extreme example of how small budget can be enough to travel the world. When we got on the road in November 2016 with our backpacks and no clue about our future, we both had way less than 10.000 euros in our bank accounts. Besides that, we both had and still have our student loans to pay. At that time, we had no idea how long this money would keep us going.
On the other hand, we were not afraid to leave as we basically had nothing to lose. We had sold everything we owned and didn’t have an apartment or anything else waiting for us to return. In the worst case, we would maybe need to go back to Europe and find new jobs for us but we were actually never scared that we would end up totally empty-handed. We started our trip with a positive mind because we knew that we would be able to live with a low cost and simultaneously make our travel dreams come true.
Eventually, we backpacked almost 11 months in Asia for less than 5000 euros each including travel preparations and all the costs with flights. Not a bad sum at all, is it? An average person who works full-time can save this amount easily in one year without even giving up any basic everyday comforts. When we arrived in New Zealand after our Asia trip, we still had money left on our accounts. We spent some money to get started here and had to pay for the apartment and car but after that, we have been able to live with the money that we earn here. We also transfer a majority of our earnings directly to the savings account to wait for our future travels.
If you want to travel the world, planning the travel budget highly depends on what you want to do on your trip. It is naturally cheaper to travel slowly and spend long periods of time in one place compared to flying continuously from place to place. You can easily minimize the living costs especially in cheap countries (like Southeast Asian countries) and live with 500 euros or less per month in many places. For example in Bali, we paid less than 10 euros per day for our accommodation and had a meal even for less than 1 euro. If you are keen to read more tips for traveling cheaply, go and read our tips for traveling on a small budget.
So if your dream is to relax in some exotic paradise, realizing this dream isn’t actually impossible at all from the money point of view. 10.000 euros can bring you a long way especially in cheap countries, particularly if you take advantage of free accommodation i.e. via volunteering from time to time. This option hasn’t only been one of the best money saving tricks on our trip but also brought us amazing travel experiences!
If you are like us and dream of giving up your conventional life and going for a one-way trip, remember that you can also gather more travel money by selling all the unnecessary stuff. The more stuff you want to get rid of, the more you can also earn. If you happen to own an apartment, you can easily rent it out and turn it into a stable income.
Opportunities and threats of quitting the rat race
The decision to go on a one-way trip is already a scary step into the unknown and thinking about money doesn’t make leaving any easier. Anyhow, we recommend thinking about the risks of this decision. What would be the worst scenario if your budget plan goes wrong and you run out of money right away? You will probably still have some place to return back home so your destiny won’t probably be to starve at least (even if everything really goes so wrong).
Leaving a long-term job can naturally feel risky which is completely understandable. If you wish to get back to your normal work life after traveling, you could also possibly consider taking a gap year from work if it’s an option at your workplace.
In our case, we didn’t find it risky to leave our jobs as we were already working abroad and we knew we can find a new job basically anywhere in the world. Young people can also take advantage of working holiday visas i.e. in Australia and New Zealand if it looks like you are running out of money during your travels.
When we got on the road, we only knew that we want to backpack in Asia as long as possible. This also meant that we needed to travel as cheaply as possible. We didn’t have any plans to return to Europe anytime soon but we could work somewhere else for a while if our bank accounts balance started showing too small numbers. And this is exactly what we did one year later as we decided to earn more money with a working holiday visa and continued our trip to New Zealand.
During our travels, we have also learned a lot about ourselves and started to really think what we want from our lives. We have realized that we don’t need to work 20 years in the same place but we can gain different experiences while working in different countries. Even building an own business and working at the laptop are not that distant dreams anymore.
You can read more about traveling on a small budget in our other budget posts. With this article, we aim to encourage you to make your dreams come true and go to travel the world even if you don’t have huge money savings! If you still hesitate to make the decision, remember that you can always return back home after traveling. Anyhow, if you don’t go after your dreams, you will regret it later for sure.
Do you dream of quitting the rat race or have you already done so?