Budgeting for a bike tour. Reflecting on the last 6 months and thinking ahead.
If you are thinking of having a break of any form to go and wander, I suggest that you:
1.) Work out how long you want to go for, and divide your savings by that. In some parts of the world, a bicycle tourer who mixes camping with paid-for accommodation, and cooking with restaurants can live comfortably on $30 per day. But this is my own calculation taking an average of the many countries toured so far. This rose to $60 per day in Norway and as little as $10 in Kyrgyzstan. If you do the math and it doesn’t seem realistic, trim your plans. Don’t let your budget dictate where you go. Go to the places you’ve dreamed off, even if you have to go for fewer days.
2.) Try to put some money aside for Investment/Retirement plans. This is a luxury, although parents would tell you it is a necessity. The fact is that 80% of the World’s Population has no retirement income (World Bank 2010).
However, there is no disputing the fact that having a standing monthly payment into a plan provides a warm feeling. The knowledge that you are following your dreams, whilst at the same time being a little bit considerate of your future security.
3.) When budgeting consider the cost of:
Travel insurance. Silly not to really. (Global Voyager)
Location Beacon and other safety measures (SPOT Tracker)
Inoculations (Many required including boosters)
Flights, visa-runs etc (Skyscanner.net, FCO.gov)
Medicine/first aid/supplements/sun cream. Not to be taken lightly.
Clothing. They wear out quickly on tour.
4.) Always seek a bargain. When your money equates to days on tour, don't accept the full price. Look for happy hours, make the most of special offers. Travelling as a couple is cheaper than solo.
As I sit here in Ho Chi Minh, I can’t stop thinking about the happy position we are in with our world tour. They say Christmas is a time to reflect, well this year it certainly is. Come January 7th, we will have had over a month off of our bikes to see our families, and for once, to be invisible to strangers rather than standing out as oddities. Each day I get flashbacks of some weird and wonderful place we passed and how they are all joining up to form one wholly positive experience so far.
We have had only a few days of rain, our bikes behaved themselves as we treated them well, and ignoring a few back pain issues and a virus, we have done well throughout this physical challenge. I hope that we will have renewed excitement when we start again, pushing our bikes out of District 8 and on to the Cambodian coast.
From there we should have 6 months of sun, sea and sea, with the occasional downpour I am sure, towards Nusa Tenggara (Indonesia).
I’ve checked myself a few times over the last few months saying “Oh this reminds me of ....so…and..such.. a country.” I’ve begun to realise that as I join up the lines around the world, they all blend into each other. It’s a landmass, not a political territory, so it’s no wonder that we are reminded of other places with similar terrain and similar people. I am hoping that I appreciate the next section for what it is, the kindness of the people we meet, where we are, and the journey itself.