Easy Tips On How to Make a Long-Term Travel Budget

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The questions of where to start, how to start and just in general, how do “I” even know how much to save are probably hitting your right now? Well, lucky for you we’re here to help guide you through a few east tips on how to make a long-term travel budget.

We’re going to give the exact way we determined our travel budget which allowed us to live almost a year on what we saved with making no additional income while traveling.

Budgeting for long-term travel doesn’t have to be scary and in fact, if you go about it the right way, you’ll be able to potentially get a few more weeks or even months out of what you saved!

Alright, Jesse and Lauren quit with the setup. Just tell us those easy tips on how to make a long-term travel budget

Where You Are Going to Travel To?

This is probably THE most important first step when planning your budget for long-term travel. What do you want to see? What do you want to experience? Are there certain “bucket list” items you’re wanting to cross off?

The countries you want to visit need to be determined first and foremost before anything else can happen. Determining your countries will not only help you plan the best/cheapest routes but it will also give you an idea on the cost of living.

For example, purposes, if you’re going to be traveling through Western Europe or the Scandinavian countries, you’ll need to save more than say if you are traveling to Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia. Basically, what we are getting at, developed countries cost more than developing countries and their currencies will affect how far “your dollar” goes.

How Long Do You Want to Travel For?

After your countries are decided, you need to think about how long it will take to see all the countries you want to see. This part will probably take the longest.

Our tip, get a sense of what there is to see and do in the countries you want to visit.

We’ll give you the plan of attack we took….

  • Research ““x” country itineraries”
  • Research “things you must see in “x” county”

Check Out: Our country itineraries for a little inspiration.

There are loads of suggested routes, itineraries and absolute must sees out there written by other travelers. This will give you an idea of what there is to see and do and the general length of time it will take. Once you have an idea, you are able to decide what’s right for you and your long-term travel trip.

The length of time you want to travel for is pretty important because it’ll give you an idea how much money you need to save.

TIP: We anticipated to cover 8 countries in Southeast Asia over the course of 6 months. Seems doable right? Well, it wasn’t. We ended up extending our trip for another 2 months. Our 6-month trip turned into 8 months. Our advice to you? Be realistic and don’t rush yourself through the country. Take your time and spend a minimum of 2 to 3 nights in each city/town/village/island you visit.

What Kind of Traveler Are You?

Okay, so you know the list of countries and how long you are traveling for. Now you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself “what kind of traveler am I?”

Are you wanting to stretch your dollar as far as you can go and willing to take the road less traveled so to speak? Or, are your travel standards a 4-star hotel and booking tours through travel companies?

Believe it or not, your style of travel plays a HUGE part into making your travel budget.

TIP: Don’t pretend to be a budget travel when you know 100% you are not. You’ll end up making yourself miserable staying in accommodations, taking transportation or eating food that may make you uncomfortable. What happens when your uncomfortable the entire time? You hate the place you’re in. Why do that to yourself? Be realistic on how you prefer / like to travel and plan for that!

Making Your Long-Term Travel Budget.

The list of countries has been determined, the length of time has been determined and the type of traveler you are has been determined which means, IT’S TIME TO MAKE THAT BUDGET!!

Check out the below four steps. This will help you finalize your travel budget for long-term travel.

  • Currency Exchange: Do the conversions of each country you are going to. This way, you’ll understand how far your dollar goes or doesn’t go. 
  • Look at Accommodations: Do a quick search on the type(s) of accommodations your willing to stay at (hostels, hotels, homestays, Airbnb, etc.) and get an idea of what the going rate is for a per night stay.
  • Food: Are you will to eat street food? Do you want to each at the best restaurants and cafes in the area? Or a little bit of both? You need to figure this out and based on the country currency/exchange rate you’ll be able to get a better idea of your food expense.
  • Buffer Money: Think of this as the “wants” not the “needs” part of your trip. Think things like partying, excursions, entrance fees or any other fun things outside of accommodations and food you want to do.

* the above questions should be answered based on the type of traveler you have defined yourself.

Example Long-Term Travel Budget.

After the above has been determined, you will have answers to your daily budget. Once you have your daily budget, multiply that number by the length of days you are traveling for.


daily budget x length of trip = travel budget

$50 x 6 months (180 days) = $9,000 USD

Based on the above example, you’re looking at a total travel budget of $9,000.

HOWEVER, please note this is just an estimate and it never hurts to over save. The $9,000 is just for the trip itself. You’ll need additional money to book your roundtrip flight. Also, in addition, have some cushion money to come home too! We can’t stress enough, DO NOT LEAVE WITH JUST THE $9,000.

Save as freaking much as you can in addition to the $9,000 so you could either 1) stay in your destination longer or 2) come home and not be pressed on time and stressed into finding something that will make you money ASAP.


Packing For a 6 Month Trip to Southeast Asia

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For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstus, on Pinterest and on Facebook. Oh, and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!

Happy Travels,

– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)

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