For 6 whole months, I worked non-stop 50-60 hour weeks at two different jobs. Firstly, I worked numerous hours as a “checkout chick” asking people pointless questions about their weekend while I packed their cleaning products separate from their veggies or fixed their ‘unexpected item in the bagging area problem’ on the self-serve machines. My second job was found on gumtree at a call centre, where I spent all my afternoons on the phone to parents convincing them to book a consultation so our salesmen could give their kids a ‘free assessment’ and basically sell them an online tutoring software.
So yeah, it wasn’t very glamorous but I did what I had to do to save up enough money.
I am going to break this down into different categories on what I spent my money on. Over the six months I spent most of my time in Europe but also visited UK, Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Before I left, I booked 4 different tours. Tours are the best if you don’t want to organize anything yourself and still have the best time without hassle. I travelled with both Contiki and Topdeck and definitely preferred Contiki. The company seemed a lot more professional, although I still had the most amazing time on both my Topdeck tours as well.
Contiki European Contrasts: $4341 for a 29 day budget tour around Europe. This was the first thing I booked so therefore, got an early payment discount.
The next three I booked through a travel agent and got a discount again for booking multiple trips,
Contiki Turkish Sailing: 7 days on a sail boat around the Turkish Coast
Topdeck Turkey Explored: 12 days exploring different cities in Turkey staying in hotels.
Topdeck Egypt Express: 8 day budget tour
These three cost: $2576
I also booked Oktoberfest accommodation through a company called PPTravel as they book out really quickly! It cost $280 for 3 nights in a dorm room on a camping ground. This is a much cheaper alternative to hostels during this period and also a little bit nicer than camping in tents.
TOTAL TOUR COST: $7017 which was all paid before I left
My return flights to London with a 3 day stopover in Dubai and 2 week stopover coming home in Bali cost $2232 on Royal Brunei. My tip is if possible, go to the travel expo which is on in February each year. I got the best deal as you could compare all different travel agents and companies at the same place.
Internal flights/buses/ferries/trains etc:
Most of the major transport was booked on the go using apps like ‘Sky Scanner’ or online booking companies. All ferries in Greece were booked at the ports and most buses and trains were booked at the station. To save money, book an overnight bus, ferry or train. This is normally the cheapest time to travel and even though it is not the comfiest sleep, it saves you also spending money on a night of accommodation.
Internal transport = $2,751
The places I stayed at ranged depending on which country I was in. For example in UK, accommodation is so expensive so hostels (20-28 bed dorms) were the way to go for the cheapest (not the greatest) night sleep. Be prepared to be woken up by a rowdy English soccer team at 8am in the morning! In Greece it was usually cute bed and breakfasts or guest houses except for party island iOS where we fit three of us into a little “shack” as we called it. For 5 euros ($8) a night what do you expect!
In Egypt, as it is very cheap, myself and two friends stayed in the most luxurious 5 star hotel. This was probably the nicest accommodation we came across.
AirBnb is also a great alternative and a way to meet the nicest people and get a real taste for living in that country.
I was also fortunate to have relatives in Greece and friends in England so having those connections for free accommodation is a huge benefit when travelling overseas.
Total cost of accommodation (excluding tours) = $1973
And then there comes the most important costs food and alcohol. It is so easy to spend way too much money on these two factors especially when you’re drunk or hung-over. Try to limit how much you spend each day and opt for 2 meals rather than 3. Often hostels do free breakfast so make the most of them when you can. Also it is possible to live off $3 gyros each day in Greece for 2 months, trust me.
Shopping, souvenirs, public transport, tipping also all come into this category. If you know you want to buy a lot, bring more money or use your credit card like I did. By the end of the trip I had put an extra $2,300 on my credit card which was basically on presents, Victoria’s Secret lingerie and you guessed it… more food and alcohol.
TOTAL EXPENSES: $24,900
Now this may have scared you to death about wanting to travel now but don’t let it! If you don’t think you can save as much, go for shorter time. 3 months or even 2 months in Europe is still a lot of time. Also limit the places you go. I visited 21 countries and 5 continents so the more cities and towns you visit, the more it is going to cost you.
If you want to go for a long period of time, give yourself more time to save enough cash and be strict on how you spend your money at home. Instead of spending $50 on a dress you’ll wear once, you could be white water rafting in Austria or drinking numerous litres of beer at Oktoberfest.
The way I see it is, it’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity so you might as well spend it up and make the most of it. You want to do, see and experience everything you can and really come back with no regrets!