Bruised But Not Broken: Our Budget After Europe
Photo by Josh Meister Photo.
When we first starting planning our yearlong round-the-world trip, the biggest topic of conversation was money. How much would it cost? How could we afford it? Would we wind up homeless afterwards? Looking at our expenses from past trips, we decided that we could most likely make it work on $52,000, an average of $1,000 a week.
Europe, our first four months, would be the most expensive portion, and we knew we'd go over that weekly budget, planning to balance it out by spending less than $1,000 a week for the remainder of the trip in most of our Asia and South / Central America destinations.
Now that we've finished that first segment (How has it already been 4 months?!), it's time for some evaluation and re-staging of plans moving forward.
We were correct in assuming that we wouldn't be able to stick to $1,000/week here. (Shocker!) The only country in which we achieved that was Croatia, juuuusssttt squeaking in under budget. But we tried to be fairly budget conscious during our time, balancing splurges with PB&Js, and using our points and miles as wisely and efficiently as possible.
The tool that has been most helpful in tracking and reigning in our spending has been a budgeting app. At the beginning of our trip, we were dutifully recording all of our spend as it happened, but not totaling it up until we were finished with a region. So we were flying a little blind day to day. With a budgeting app, we can see exactly how much we've spent and have left to spend in real time, which makes a world of difference (#dumbpun). We chose to use Trail Wallet, but there's many other options out there, and if you're traveling on a budget, we highly encourage you to invest in something similar to keep yourself in line.
Moving forward, if we want to stick to our overall $52,000 budget goal for the year, we have $31,338 left, or $980/week for the next 8 months, which is not bad, as it's only $200/week (or $30/day) less than our original planned weekly budget. The challenge is that we're starting to run really low on points and miles without any opportunities to earn more while we're traveling. Those points and miles were the impetus for this trip and have been key in helping us keep our costs down as much as possible. We've got a few more places that we'll be able to utilize them really well, but other than that, we're going to be paying for everything pretty much entirely in cash. Think we can do it? We hope so!