Monday, February 07, 2011

How much will I need to go travelling/wwoofing for a year?

I recently came across this blog, called Married with Luggage.  The couple in question have basically sold off almost everything they own (including their house) and are spending the next few years travelling the world.  I'm looking forward to reading a bit more of their blog but what has caught my eye at the beginning is the fact that they seem to go into the financial side of it quite a bit, which is particularly interesting for me.

I have, on and off, semi-calculated bits and pieces of how much I would need to finance taking a couple of years off work.  One big issue is that I don't intend to sell off everything I own so will need to find out costs of storing it (possibly trying to make a decision about where I might end up when I come back and putting it in storage there immediately).  Having just furnished an apartment, mostly with second-hand stuff, I am loath to have to let all of that go and have to start again after having been away for a couple of years.  On the other hand, I will need to carefully consider how much keeping it all in storage will cost, i.e. would it cost me more to keep it in storage than it would cost me to just buy new (to me) stuff when I get back.  And there are, of course, all of the resources I have been building up over the last few years such as reference books, glass jars and other preserving supplies.

As I am now too old to qualify for a year-long working visa in most countries (obviously not an issue in the EU but Canada, Australia and New Zealand are definitely out from this point of view), I will not be able to rely on working for a couple of months to finance the next few months.  So I have to try and figure out everything that will need paying for and have the money saved up in advance.  The main reason I am thinking of heading down under is that my sister is living there.  She is currently in New Zealand, which I am very interested in visiting but will need to move back to Australia in a couple of months due to work.  So I will have a place to stay but I think I'm restricted to six months visitor visa - I'm not checking into the details too much now as it all may have changed in a year or two anyway.  Many of the places I would like to go are within the EU or not far from it so financially, that should be a bit easier as I would, hopefully, be able to pick up occassional bits of work to keep cash flowing a little bit.  However, my feeling is that I need to at least have covered the cost of, well, what I'm leaving behind for the full period I head off for (I would love to be able to stretch it towards two years).  Plus at least the first part of actual travel money.  If I head down under that means a return flight paid for in advance.

Having found the blog mentioned above and read a few comments on some of there posts, it seems like there are lots and lots of blogs out there written by people who are travelling the world.  So that's a whole other genre of blogs to start getting to know in an attempt to inform myself about what I might be in for.  My trip will differ from many in that I mostly want to gain experience farming/homesteading rather than the more touristy aspects of travelling and it will be interesting to see if that is really true or if I will promptly find a whole load of blogs about people who are wwoofing for a year or more.  My list of what I would need to be paying for is not very long at the moment and needs some working on.  Please feel free to leave comments on any suggestions for things that will need to be added to this.

  • Travel costs - return flight to/from Australia and/or New Zealand plus ...? 
  • Pension cotss - I would like to have enough set aside to be able to continue making a small contribution every month to my pension plan.
  • Phone - I will likely try to bring my Irish mobile phone with me and just top it up every once in a while.  Otherwise I'd be relying on call centre/internet cafe type places for communicating.
  • Health insurance - in addition to ordinary health insurance while travelling, I will need to find out how to keep my new additional dental plan going, if that is even possible.  As with many of these types of plans, full benefits don't actually kick in until the fifth year (you get increasing amounts of coverage each year till then) and I would hate to lose whatever I've already built up in time and have to start over again.
  • Travel insurance
  • Storage costs

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