Travel Planning For Idiots- Long Term Travel On A Budget

I suck at making decisions.  My Mum knows that when her phone rings it’s probably me, calling to double check that I’m allowed to do whatever it is that I’ve decided I want to do.  Should I miss that really boring lecture and go to the pub?  Call Mum.  Should I book a last minute expensive holiday?  Call Mum.  Should I sell my used underwear on the internet?  Oh no wait, there are some things even I wouldn’t tell my Mum (and if you’re reading this Mum, after extensive research I decided this cash seeking endeavour was not worth it). 

The decision to leave work to travel the world was relatively easy, probably only five phone calls worth.  Where to go and what to do?  Well as you can see, this decision still hasn’t been made, no matter how many times I call home.

A Planning Plan

When we quit work we painted a huge chalk board on the wall opposite my bed.  We made list after list of all the different things we could do with this time we had gifted ourselves, writing pros and cons for each.  Every time someone asked what the plan was I had a new answer, alongside all the various reasons that this was a great idea and definitely our final decision.  After travel plan 149 most people stopped asking and for those that hadn’t, I’d learnt to stick with ‘I have no idea’

Chalk board of travel ideas
Making travel plans

We needed budget travel.  With a little money in savings and a small monthly amount from renting out the house we would have a very small monthly budget.  The first choice we had to make was how long we were doing this for.  If we wanted a 6 month break from work we could afford to travel on a ‘normal’ backpackers budget, which we found that even for the cheaper countries meant about £1000 a month, each.  This wasn’t what either of us wanted.  We’d managed some pretty amazing holidays alongside our full time work, so an extended holiday didn’t seem worth it.  We wanted long term travel, but how to do it?

Option 1 – Working Abroad

The first option we looked into was working abroad.  Pros, we could see a new country, properly experience a new culture and make money doing it.  Cons, we would be limited to one place, work visas etc made things complicated and we would have to work…obviously.  We considered New Zealand, a country we are both desperate to visit. We have family there who might have been able to help out and it looked like our skill set would be desirable enough. 

But what if we loved it there?  I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of settling down over the other side of the world (I mean, how would I call my Mum for all these decisions I was bound to have to make!?)

Choosing to find jobs abroad is a great option if you know there’s somewhere you really want to live long (ish) term. Moving to a country over the other side of the world leaves a lot of different factors to consider, and for me it was just one step too far.

Laughing in the snow while skiing in austria
Skiing in Austria-2017

Option 2 – Ski Season Baby!

So then we considered working a ski season.  It looked possible to chalet host as a couple. Adam had 5 years experience in the industry and I…..have a welcoming smile?  Ok, so I wouldn’t have any skills to offer, but how hard can it be to cook three course meals for large groups of people every night?  The problem with this idea was that it had a time limit.  No snow, no skiing.  Working a ski season pays notoriously badly, so we guessed we wouldn’t really be saving any money while we worked. Then the ski season would end and we’d be back home again in six months looking for work again.

Option 3 – Work Away

We looked into schemes like ‘workaway’ extensively.  We could afford to travel for longer if we had free bed and board, we’d meet lots of interesting people and get to try our hand at different types of work in whatever country we wanted.  This sounded like a real possibility.  We spent many exciting evenings in bed ….. trawling the work away app for interesting opportunities. 

It was then that we found someone advertising crew work on their sailing boat.  You helped out with the boat and in return, they taught you to sail.  This sounded too good to be true.  Something had finally clicked for both of us.

Sailing boat in Majorca in spain

Our first night together on a sailboat

As in all great novels, I will leave you with this exciting cliffhanger so that you feel compelled to tune into the next thrilling post (plot spoiler, it’s going to be about boats).   See here to find out more.

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