I’m talking about Finances!
I want this blog to be a resource for families that are planning or considering their own epic journey. One of they ways I plan on doing this is to do a monthly breakdown of our expenses once we hit the road. It is my hope that this will not only help people budget for their own trip but dispel the myth that this kind of trip is extremely expensive and thus unobtainable for the average family. Most people in our culture are uncomfortable discussing finances but the more I think about it, the more I feel it is important for me to discuss. One of my goals for this blog is to inspire other families who have wanderlust to take the plunge!
I have already discussed in a previous post how we plan to finance our trip but since the only person who was reading my blog at the time was my Mom (Hi Mom!) I thought I would give a quick explanation.
We have been planing this trip for the last six years. It all started when Mike and I were on our honeymoon. Our plan was that after our ten months in Asia we would come home and start a family. At the time, I had it in my head that we would still travel with our children, we would just do different kinds of trips. You know, like Disneyland and camping. Then, when we were in Vietnam, we kept bumping into two different families who were traveling up the country. I thought to myself, Wow! Having children doesn’t equate to the end of backpacking. And the idea was born.
So for six years we have been dreaming and planning for this trip. We purposely had our children as close together as possible so that we wouldn’t have to wait longer until we could leave. Our criteria for knowing the right time to pack it all in were:
- The kids had to be potty trained
- They had to sleep through the night
- They had to be old enough to effectively communicate
- They had to be able to walk for a reasonable distance without getting tired
- They needed to be at a developmental stage where they would be gaining knowledge from the experience
- They needed to be past the stage of putting random objects in their mouths
- We needed to be in a good place financially
So, how will we be financing our trip? For the last six years we have been playing the real estate market. We have built and sold two houses and we are living in our third. We have an advantage over your average flipper in that we build the houses ourselves. Mike is a Carpenter and we have put a HUGE amount of sweat equity into all of our homes. We have just listed our current house on the market and are sending out all of our positive energy for a sale this spring.
Once the house is sold, we will pay off all of our debts, invest a chunk of it, and use the rest for our travel expenses.
As far as budgeting goes, it is so hard to nail down an exact figure of how much it will cost us. One way flights for the four of us should run about $2000-$2500 depending on destination and time of year. I think it is reasonable to say that our monthly expenses should be between $1000-$2000 but that depends on what country we are in and how many expensive outings we decide to experience. An example of this is a two day Elephant Rescue Center outing where we will bath, feed, and play with elephants which, if we decide to do, will cost us $500. An expensive experience, but one that I think the benefits would outweigh the costs. On the other side of the coin, when we decide to settle down and set up house, our costs should come way down. I have talked to a family living in Chiang Mai who budget $700 per month all in.
So what if the house doesn’t sell? Ugh! Don’t think such things! If the house doesn’t sell then we are stuck until it does. A prospect I don’t even like to think about. The house is only one year old, it is beautiful , and we did our best within our budget to make it environmentally friendly. We live in a part of the country where retirees with lots of money like to come and soak up the sun and we built our house with that kind of buyer in mind. Only time will tell but we are staying optimistic that it will sell this spring.
So, if you are one of those people who would love to take your children traveling, stay tuned. My hope is to make this site a resource for you. Know that there are as many ways to finance a trip than there are people taking them. I’ve know of many families who sold everything like we plan on doing, but there are also those who have saved for years, those who have found location independence, and those who have rented out their house. Nor do you have to take a trip of such length….how about a month in Thailand or a summer in Europe? Whatever your dream, it is possible. You just have to want it bad enough to make it happen.