It'll come as no surprise that the amount of money that you have available is the key to planning your trip and will more than likely determine how long you can travel for. 


Once you've figured out how much you can afford to spend, look at guides to the countries that you plan to visit for guide prices for accommodation, food and transport, and then start putting together a simple spreadsheet that includes the 'start-up' costs, such as travel insurance, any additional gear you need and airline tickets, as well as a rough daily cost that includes accommodation, meals and transport.


We found it easier to estimate a per day budget that combined all costs rather than being too detailed.


Income and savings


  • Calculate your current level of savings. Set aside funds for ongoing costs such as mortgage payments and anything that you'll need to do to set yourself up again upon your return, covering things such as car and house insurance.


  • If you own your house, consider letting it out, either with a holiday letting agency or on a standard six- or 12-month lease. This may involve some up-front costs to get your house up to scratch (electrical and gas certification, for example), but it will be worth it to secure an income while you travel. Be sure to notify your mortgage lender if you're planning to rent your house. You should get a year's grace on your existing mortgage, but the lender does need to give permission. You don't want any insurance claims to be refused because you didn't tick this box.


  • What funds can you raise from a serious clear out? Pretend that you're moving house and go through everything you own, pulling out anything that you no longer need and selling it. There are lost of options for selling second-hand stuff, from car boot/garage sales to online options such as eBay, Gumtree, Facebook buy/sell/swap and any other local classified listings you can access. Sell anything that your children will outgrow while you are away, such as clothing, toys and bikes.

Income while you travel


  • Can you arrange to work remotely on a part-time basis for your current job?


  • Do you have skills that you can use on a freelance basis from remote locations?


At the very least, you'll need to be able to cover the following (click on the headings for more detailed coverage):


  • Transport

    • Try to travel off-peak and shop around for prices.

    • As soon as you have a date in mind, search for the best prices as booking in advance can be significantly cheaper.   

    • Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest airfares and consider travelling between cities by bus or train to get better flights deals.

    • Where possible use local transport as it's usually cheaper than organised tourist transfers. However, you'll find that in some countries, such as Thailand, it's often a similar price and far more convenient to use the tourist transport.

    • If you plan to hire a vehicle or to take your own, ensure that your insurance covers you if things go wrong. For example, although it's cheap to hire a motorbike in Vietnam, it's actually illegal if you don't hold a Vietnamese driving licence, so if you have an accident, you may not be covered. And car insurance often doesn't cover countries such as Albania as standard.


  • Accommodation

    • You can save a great deal by staying with friends or relatives or arranging a house swap or housesit.

    • Shop around using booking sites such as, hotelscombined, and trivago.

    • You can save on food by renting an apartment or house with a kitchen, especially in developed countries. We found that the best sites for this sort of accommodation were holidaylettings and ownersdirect.

    • Consider staying in hostels, although they often don't work out much cheaper (if at all) than a family room in a hotel or apartment.

  • Travel insurance

    • Shop around and make sure you that you're covered for the countries that you wish to visit (especially if you're going to be travelling by car).

    • Check how long you can stay away without returning to your home country. This varies greatly and you want to make sure you are covered for your entire trip.  


  • Passports and visas

    • Make sure that you're covered for the length of your trip with at least six months grace. Contact your local passport office before you go if your passport is close to expiry and see what your options are because renewing your passport abroad can be quite a challenge. 

  • Vaccinations

    • Check with your GP which vaccinations are available through the public health system. In the UK, a travel vaccination assessment can be offered on the NHS and a number of the standard vaccinations are covered.

    • If you need anti-malarials, make sure to shop around. Ask for your prescription to specify the generic brand and then ring around your local pharmacies, including those located in supermarkets such as ASDA and Tesco. 


  • Meals

    • You'll get a feel for prices if you look at guide books for the countries you choose. Calculate the rough cost of three meals a day plus snacks.

    • You'll spend a lot less if you can cook meals yourself or are happy to picnic rather than always eating in restaurants.


  • Sightseeing

    • Don't forget to include funds to cover costs for entrance fees and the like. Many attractions offer online and seasonal discounts so make sure to do some research before you leave.

    • Include a bit more for the activities that you won’t want to miss but didn't plan e.g. tubing, hiring bikes and local festivities.


  • At-home costs

    • If you plan to let your house out, keep in mind that there will more than likely be costs associated with the house while you're away, such as home insurance, mortgage payments and repairs.