Budgeting a lengthy trip across seas

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by DynastySS, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. DynastySS

    DynastySS Adventurer

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    Hello fellow adventurers!

    So, I am your typical 25 year old college graduate who has toiled away at his desk job and now is searching to the horizon for an escape. I have decided that within the next 12-15 months, I am going to save as much as humanly possible, study for my GMATs (score is good for 5 years), finish my 3rd year at my company (collect more stock options in the process), liquidate everything and hit the road. I figure I can always come back to real life with a great education, solid work experience, a good test score in my back pocket if I want to go that route, and a wonderful adventure story to tell!

    The question I have for you grizzled veterans is, how much money do I conceivably need? Ideally I would buy my bike here (only have a track bike which I will sell), ship it to Europe and then ride until the money goes dry. I am not sure it would as easy camping in Europe, so I figure I am stuck with hostels?

    Budget:

    Shipping the bike-
    Gas-
    Maintenance-
    Food-
    Accommodations-
    ????

    What I want to know is how much you guys look to spend? Any tips on how to stretch your dollars? Perhaps a cute little ratio of ~$xxxx per xxxx miles?

    Any advice is welcome!

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. Moto Mikey

    Moto Mikey Been here awhile

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    I'm doing pretty much the same exact thing. I'm 28 and leaving my 'career' of 4 years in a few months to travel for a year or 2 in South America via moto. I put together a pretty decent budget on my blog:

    http://moto-mikey.com/the-ride/the-preparation/the-budget/

    However, it's specific to Central/South America costs.

    If you're looking to stretch your dollar, I recommend riding/exploring somewhere cheaper like South America or South East Asia.. it will go much further there.

    Horizons Unlimited has a brief article on budgets:
    http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/get-ready/budgeting

    From the HU article:
    "First-tier" countries such as northern Europe, US$60-80 a day and up per person.

    "Second-tier" countries such as the rest of Europe, Canada and the USA, US$40-60 a day per person.

    "Third-tier" countries, such as Latin America, US$30 a day is considered enough for the average budget traveller, not counting major items like shipping the bike - or yourself, and repairs and servicing.

    "Fourth-tier" countries, parts of Africa and Asia, can be done for less, many for less than US$20 day, especially in Asia.
    #2
  3. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    That HU article could be a bit old, probably costs more these days. Europe (with some exceptions in the south or east) is really quite expensive. Almost everywhere in Asia is cheaper, for example. Camping&cooking own food might save you a bit in Europe, but its still not cheap. Very hard to tell, what exactly YOU are gonna spend. Like how many kms, where, and how? Fuel costs a lot almost everywhere in Europe, fastest roads may have tolls, etc.
    #3
  4. DynastySS

    DynastySS Adventurer

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    What a fantastic site you have built!

    Thanks a ton for the response.
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  5. Moto Mikey

    Moto Mikey Been here awhile

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    I agree. While it's still feasible to do, I'd add about $20/day on to each of those Tier's to make it more realistic/comfortable.

    No problema. Hope it helps in your planning.
    #5
  6. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley On my way

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    You have a great plan and I wish you well but be aware of the costs and don't get too ambitious about how much you are going to see. You don't say if there is anywhere you particularly want to visit so give us some idea of a plan and the advice will follow, if it is not already up here http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/ which it probably is.

    Remember shipping will take a big chunk of money, if you are quoted $500 from A to B it will be closer to $1,000 by the time paperwork, handling and clearing charges are added.

    Your choice of bike is obviously important, you can go anywhere on anything, you don't need an R1200GS and will probably be better off without one, a medium sized trail bike such as a KLR650 is ideal but something smaller will make your bucks go even further, I am setting off to ride from the UK to Central Asia on a Honda 125 next month. You might want to consider buying in Europe and selling when you are done, unless you want to keep the bike as a souvenir, I can never part with travel bikes.

    Those amounts seem a little small to me, costs have gone up since then, Petrol in Europe is over $2 a litre or more than $8 a US gallon, camping is widely availalbe but often $10-20 per night for a tent, although free camping is legal in many places. http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/travel-hints-and-tips/countries-allow-free-camping-add-48706

    I found Africa was quite expensive compared to Asia which is still the cheapest continent to travel on, and my favourite. There is little or no camping in SE or Southern Asia but hotels can usually be had for $10-20 per night depending where you are.

    Don't forget the carnet that is required for a lot of countries although not in Europe or Central Asia, a full explaination here http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/trip-paperwork/carnet-everything-you-need-know-39204

    And lastly medical insurance, make sure the policy you are getting does not exclude motorcycle travel.

    There is a whole lot more you need to know and possible the best place to meet other travellers face to face is a HU meeting http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/hu-travellers-meetings-north-america/

    Good luck

    Mark
    #6
  7. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Carnet will be necessary, if you plan to get the bike to Pakistan, India, Indonesia or Australia. Iran & Malaysia are in a sort of 'gray area' (but most travellers including me have used the carnet to enter Iran). Won't be needed anywhere north side of Iran/Afghanistan/China.

    My experience from Africa is from the southern parts of the continent (and many years ago).. but yeah, South and Southeast Asia seemed generally cheaper, and dirt cheap compared to Europe. Going to Asia killed my urge to travel in Europe, feels overpriced. So Asia is where I'd head to, in order to travel cheaply.
    #7
  8. dnajoy

    dnajoy n00b

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    As far as camping is concerned, in Europe there are plenty of campsites (camping grounds I think you call them), whilst cheaper than hostles they do vary in price from country to country - cheap in France, not so in Italy.

    Free or wild camping is not so easy in central/soutern Europe but fine in Scandanavia.

    Europe is a very diverse continent and each country is very different (which makes it so interesting) so it's all about local knowledge.

    But don't be put off, it is possible to do Europe on a budget. If you want to see Europe and want a bit more info just let me know - I've toured for a month every summer for the last 19 years - south and central.
    #8
  9. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

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    Think about how you would travel around USA since you know the costs here. Then add 50% for Western Europe and subtract 25% for Eastern Europe. That's your basic budget.

    Realistically, you don't need a budget at all. It's a BS number that rarely works and it will almost definitely fail you as a new traveler because you have no idea of your true preferences in accommodations, food, activities, etc. A lot of people who post about their cheap budgets are making what to me are major sacrifices I wouldn't want to make myself; staying in very dingy and dirty places, eating fast food and rarely trying local delicacies, only riding the roads and never going to some fun - paid - attractions along the way.

    Your plan should be to save up as much money as humanly possible. And all you really need to budget for is your plane ticket home and getting back to your life when you return. Aside from that, your travel budget is mostly useless. It's not like you're going to skip the trip because you have enough for 5 months instead of 10, right?

    So just go.

    Monitor your expenses like a hawk.

    Constant review. If you think you're bleeding money unnecessarily, figure out why and consider your options: doing cheaper alternatives, going to cheaper areas, or having to skip some things.

    That's it. When the money is close to running out, the trip ends.
    #9
  10. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    Part of my budget travel technique is to eat local foods. It's almost always cheaper than any sort of fast food, especially outside the US.

    Generally, if you live and eat like the locals, you'll save money over most other travelers.

    Jamie
    #10
  11. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

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    Definitely true for developing countries, where craptastic KFC is 5 times more expensive than much, MUCH better local version of fried chicken.

    But the OP seems to be asking about Europe, where fast food is usually cheapest. It's really hard to beat the dollar menu.
    #11
  12. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Europe is overpriced, especially the west and north (Scandinavia). Use a tent, and cook your own food might save you a bit, is that fun, probably depends on you and the weather. Fuel still costs a lot, and so do ferries, road tolls, admission fees, eating out, and more or less everything that tourists use.
    #12
  13. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

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    Having ridden a good bunch around rich countries and poor countries, I would rather spend my time in poor countries for at least two reasons:
    • Rich countries are not that interesting. Maybe it's because I grew up in Europe and now live in the US, but I simply don't get excited at going to Euro countries. Aside from speaking a different language, the old buildings looking a bit nicer, and people eating baguettes instead of hoagies, the differences are not very drastic to me. It's a bit boring for me. It's more fun to go to countries that are vastly different from US/EU. When you ride India, it's sensory overload with everything happening around you.
    • It's more fun to travel well instead of pinching pennies everywhere because everything is mad expensive. When you ride East Asia, you can basically do whatever you like, whenever you like. You can try anything. You can stay in nice places. You can try all the foods you want to try. You can rent a boat to explore tropical islands. You can do cheap things and you can do more expensive things. Whatever. No stress. You pick things that you want to do and don't even think about the price because it's usually not an issue. But on the same budget in Europe, you are relegated to traveling like a bum, going to grocery stores to buy yourself some noodles you can cook up on your portable stove. That's not very fun, especially if you are camping by yourself.

    That said, a person should go where they are itching to go. But if it's a general moto trip, cheaper countries are more fun because they won't leave you broke and wanting.
    #13
  14. FinlandThumper

    FinlandThumper Has Cake/Eats it Too Super Moderator

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    Offsetting the extremely high costs of the Nordics, particularly norway, is the fact that most areas are unpopulated and governed by the every mans right principle. Basically, you can camp virtually anywhere for a night including private property. You must, however, stay out of people's yards. But otherwise you can run free and clear all over the place.

    In continental Europe you're going to need a camping card, but for example when I was in Germany last year the tent site was 7 euros and then it was 3 euro per person, thus a guy alone would get a space for ten euros a night. Commonly they have shops for food. In Denmark it was only slightly more expensive.

    While western Europe is indeed expensive, it also has the benefit of being more, ahem, civilized, than th east. Law enforcement is to be trusted and less thievery as well. I have found its not that much more expensive that traveling in the united states, frankly, as long as you use your head and don't want fancy places in large towns.

    If you get to Finland in your travels let me know. Maybe we could hook up and I can show you some backwoods routes, or at any rate offer you a few routing ideas.
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  15. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Problem is you can almost get a palace for 10 euros a night somewhere else... :lol3

    What you probably cannot escape in Europe, if you´ve got a vehicle, is fuel prices. In Finland it is about 6-7 euros per gallon right now. If you want to keep the costs down, don´t plan to stay here for very long,and don´t do thousands of miles, if you can avoid.

    I do think Europe is well worth a visit, though, there´s lots to see and do in every country actually. Italy is my great favorite (but unfortunately it is very expensive these days!)
    #15
  16. FinlandThumper

    FinlandThumper Has Cake/Eats it Too Super Moderator

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    Well, there is that. :lol3

    To make myself feel a bit better about the prices here, i ride up to Norway, get thoroughly ripped off, ride some of the best roads in the world, and then come back to Finland and feel like its a third world country for a few days where a beer only costs 10 bucks. One of my Norwegian buddies refers to the Swedish crown as "the Nordic peso" :rofl

    Where you live in Helsinki?
    #16
  17. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Hi, actually I don´t live in Helsinki any more, but now literally a stone throw away from Helsinki border, in Vantaa.

    "Nordic peso"... that´s a good one :lol3
    #17
  18. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Talk to GlobalRider( a Canadian) on the BMWMOA forum-he keeps a bike in Europe, ridden there lots & stays over there often.
    Food- I do oranges/bananas,pineapples,etc for brkfst & peanuts & a pop or water for lunch & sit down to local food for eves. Everybody in other countries isn't wealthy so the less pricey stuff is always there if you choose it.
    Lodging is pretty predictable based on info above. Some places I'd ride through quicker than others to save money. Hungary used to be one of several countries where many Euros traveled because it was cheaper, maybe not quite so true as economies have evolved since my time there. Might pose the question to a Euro based person as to places for lingering awhile on the cheap.
    #18