Life is filled with choices and consequences. Good and bad. Facebook-safe or otherwise. When creating a budget to travel, you have to ask yourself: “what is MOST important to me?”
Being a grown-ass woman ain’t easy. There is rent to pay, loans to cry over, health insurance to fight for, and Chinese to study; and it will always be like this. So I need to suck it up and get over it. Budgeting for travel is all about measuring the value of certain experiences. Wanderers always “find” the money to travel because we make it a priority.
So what’s more important to you?
For the last 6 months, I’ve been weaning myself off of alcohol. I just couldn’t sustain going to school full-time, working full-time, and doing CrossFit WHILE I was fighting hangovers and body aches from the night before. Now, I’m 3 months sober and a whole lot richer. Think about the amount of money you spend during an average night out… that’s $20-$30 on cover to just get inside, $10-$16 USD per beverage, and if you meet someone you want to make-out with, you mind as well just throw your wallet/purse out the window. You’re looking at $30-$46 USD minimum. Let’s guesstimate that you do meet someone, that’ll run you upwards of $100+ for two people. Say you’re a gangster and you’re taking out multiple people a week. That could lead to $300-$500 USD. Not including food.
A flight from Beijing to Hong Kong is roughly $300-$500 USD.
Hoes are hoes are hoes, man. Male or female, courting is expensive. If you can’t make me laugh, I rather just not waste my time or money on people I’m not interested in. My perfect day-date is a CrossFit WOD ($20-$40), massage ($60-$80), and then a Paleo dinner ($80-100). That’s easily $220 USD and the only booty you’re gonna see is during my deadlift.
Average cost of a 4-star hotel in Beijing: $100-$220 USD
3. Home Payments
I can’t really image owning a home. It feels like a trap. Wanderers are perpetually afraid of being tethered to something that can’t fly, roll, or teleport so many of us don’t even bother. While home-ownership is revered as a major life milestone in society, to me, it feels more like a ball and chain than anything else. While I pay rent, I never have to invest too much of my savings into a home because it’s not MY home. It’s a box that I temporarily sleep in until another opportunity presents itself. That’s why I don’t need to decorate, I don’t need to install new fixtures, and I don’t need to deal with insurance. Rent in NYC has become STUPID expensive and can range from 2k-5k USD a month!
AirBnB in Shanghai runs from $400-$1000 USD a month for a decent apartment. If you’re feeling like P-Diddy, you can go for the luxury apartments.
I believe in public transportation. I will never (again) live in a city where I have to own a car to go anywhere because it’s harmful to the environment and I’m already blowing my carbon footprint to hell with all the flying I do. I don’t have to pay for insurance, car payments, repairs, or find a buyer for when I inevitably move on to the next location. Buying a car (used/new) will put you out for $5,000-$30,000 USD and your monthly payments will vary based on your unique contract. Guesstimate that it will end up somewhere between $400-$1,000 a month. That’s a minimum of $4,800 a year WITHOUT counting insurance, maintenance, and add-ons.
Beijing Subway is $0.33 USD a ride from point A to point B, anywhere in the city. If you take the subway twice a day (to and from work), you’ll spend $20 USD a month on transportation. If you cycle everywhere (like me), then you’ll avoid traffic, pay nothing, and hate humanity less!
5. Luxury Items
At all times of the day, I’m probably hanging out in my CrossFit clothing. I don’t like heels because it’s difficult to run in them and posh clothing rips or stains easily while roaming a rainforest or beach. I could easily pack up everything of value in two suitcases, tomorrow, and not even think twice about it. Things are things are things. That’s it. Learn to let go and stop buying yourself expensive gifts because you “deserve it.” You deserve to see the world.
A new iPhone will cost you $500-$1000 USD depending on the model and location of purchase (damn you China tax!). In comparison, a flight from Beijing to Russia is $238. Let that sink in…
I have no advice for how to combat this problem because this is where ALL of my savings goes. We’re all screwed. Please, someone, do something.
I know I’m going to experience some backlash on this one, but I still can’t fathom spending upwards of a grand on a three-day experience that’s only a few hundreds miles away from where I live; and that’s just counting the ticket price! Then you have to pay for transportation, parking, hotel, costumes, booze, food, drunk-food, and “other supplies.
A Kinetic/Circuit Deluxe Table/Ticket Package at EDC NYC is $5,000 and that DOESN’T include alcohol. Do you think this is a game, playa? Then you have to add on everything I mentioned before hand so you’re looking at a bill of $10,000 USD by the end of the long weekend.
For $10,000 USD, I will PERSONALLY take you on a luxury tour of South-East Asia filled with lux resorts, free flow booze, pandas, whale shark diving, sailing, hiking, cliff diving, and there would STILL be money left over for hookers if you really wanted a few.
Really… $10,000 for a DRY cabana?
8. You Have Poor Health Habits.
It’s no secret that poor health habits lead to more serious physical problems. Whether it’s eating too much crap or over doing it with stress, these habits will lead to a heavy price tag in the future when your body begins to give up. While most of my money goes into over-priced health food, I haven’t been sick for months and I live in one of the most polluted cities in the world! My biggest priorities are sleep, high-quality food, and fitness. This is where ALL of my disposable income goes towards and I couldn’t be happier (or stronger!)
9. You Live In The “Western World”
Living in the western world can be expensive. The cost of living is FAR higher than in developing countries and this makes it difficult to save for traveling. There’s also the constant social pressure to buy a home with a white picket fence and start a family immediately; but that’s not for everyone. If you TRULY want to travel, then you’ll find the budget to do so. If nesting isn’t really your thing, join us abroad in the ex-pat community! We’ve been waiting for you.
But even with my awesome budgeting skills… I’m still just a broke as the next girl. So help me conquer South-East Asia by donating to my Wander Onwards Adventure fund here. If you enjoy my endearing sense of humor and crass language, please donate today so I can continue to show you EPIC pictures of the world and continue my independent production projects. Awesomeness isn’t cheap.
Have a recommendation? Then tag @wanderonwards on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in an explanation about where this place is, what you did there, and why I should go. The destinations I end up choosing will be announced one by one as I negotiate my way into exclusive locations/accommodation. If I choose your destination, I’ll give you a shout-out on my social media platforms and future blog posts. Also, as a special way to say THANKS, I’ll be shipping gifts (purchased along the adventure) to those who have helped me with their recommendations! After all these trips around the world, I happen to be an expert smuggler of legal things (kinda).
Here’s to finding your place in the world… on a budget.