Finances And Budget Planning
FINANCES AND BUDGET PLANNING
“There is always some chaos in travel”
Money Changers in the Market
The big question how much does it cost to do a trip like this? We get asked so often how much does it cost to do an overland journey and really it is an almost impossible question to answer as everyone does it differently.
But generally the short answer it is not cheap. So how do people make it a reality? Short answer they make it a priority and don’t spend any money on anything else and save like mad.
Most overlanders have to make sacrifices to travel the world. There are not many who can maintain an expensive home base and travel. If traveling the world is your top priority it means eating out, luxury items and gourmet coffees have to go and you have to save like your life depends on it.
When planning a budget it is best to divided your costs into these 3 main expenses.
- Costs to maintain home base, this include everything from taxes to home maintenance while away
- Lost wages while traveling, this is important if you are too old to make up losses when you return, less so if you are young and have many earning years ahead of you.
- Some do rent their homes while they are on the road.
OVERLAND START UP COSTS
If you go carefully through this planning document your expenses will quickly become evident. The vehicle and modifications will most probably be the most expensive upfront cost and is completely dependent on what you choose to travel in and the modifications you need. All the travel documents required and the costs can be determined by checking with whom ever will be supplying the document to you. As can the costs of immunizations, equipment etc
One cost that you may incur is shipping. Shipping a vehicle is generally costly but again depends on the size of the vehicle, the route the vehicle needs to be shipped and how the vehicle will be shipped, e.g. container or RORO or flatbed. We actually flew our cruiser as cargo from the Congo as it was safer and cheaper than shipping it.
- Preparation and start up costs
- Vehicle and modifications
- Documents, passports, visas, IDP, Carnet
- Immunizations and health check up and medications
OVERLAND ON ROUTE COSTS
Biggest expenses on the road are fuel, visas, park entry fees, shipping and/or ferry.
Your daily costs once on the road are not that bad estimate $10-$30 per day excluding gas but everything else, camping, visas, ferries, park entrance etc.
Fuel costs vary and we paid 20c/l in Egypt and $2.30 in Zamibia. Fuel costs also vary depending on the vehicle it is best to estimate your distances then calculate the costs per km/L Use the cost of fuel in Canada per litre as your guide it will give you some ball park number to start with when budgeting.
Some do it on a very tight budget and others spend millions!
Source of income while on route
- Investments and savings
- Rental income if you have a home you can rent out. This seems to be a popular way of financing trips
- Others such as sponsorship, selling articles, photographs to magazines are possible but not many overlanders manage to fully finance their trips with way. Most of those who do actual generate enough income are “professional” and not your average overlanders.
Always carry copies of all your credit card(s) and the contact phone numbers should you need to report it lost or stolen. Carry this information at all times and separate from your credit cards. Canadians need to inform their credit card company that they will be traveling through Africa. The credit card company may cancel credit cards if purchases are made in Africa. VISA is generally used everywhere in East Africa but not in West Africa but MasterCard’s are accepted.
Don’t rely on finding an ATM, except in major towns in many developing countries. Carry only as much cash, as you need between city centers. Cash is the easiest to bargain with and will always be accepted. Check whether your bank has banking affiliates in the countries you are planning to visit.
Carry several cards as we found that not all cards were accepted everywhere and we needed different cards for different banks
ATMs are easily found in the Americas and the situation in Africa is improving.
Black Market or Money Changers.
We used them for most money changing while travelling in Africa. We found them competitive and never had problems with being cheated although we choose our changers and fired some we suspected.