The idea of long term family travel as an avenue for us to ‘jump off the treadmill’ for a while first came to Victoria and I in late 2015. I wasn’t in a great place mentally and it seemed like the answer we had been looking for. This is a way to spend some quality time together as a family and regroup, with a dash of adventure thrown in for good measure. After some initial discussions and research it was a possibility that we were both genuinely excited about. A couple of conversations with the boys ensued and it was obvious they were on board too. We dreamed about this possibility for the next wee while before becoming serious and committing to it in mid – late 2016.
Being the realist (and accountant) in the family my first question was whether this was even a possibility for us financially? Or put more simply how much is this going to cost?
I was hoping that the answer would become obvious by simply combining the powers of Google with an investment of 5 minutes of my time, as is the case with most questions in this day and age. It wasn’t.
There was a sea of well articulated information out there for single or couple backpackers but oh so little regarding the smaller niche of family travel. As we investigated further it became apparent that the rules were very different with a travelling party of 4. Family rooms were harder to come across (particularly in Asia) but were generally more affordable than booking 4 x individual hostel beds. Travelling by shuttle or bus was often more expensive for 4 people than hiring a private car. Our activities budget would need to be geared towards children’s attractions rather than Full Moon parties. The list goes on….
We were aided in our quest for information by several other family travel blogs, but these alone weren’t detailed enough to give us comfort around what our style of travel would cost. The only logical answer to us therefore was to research, plan and book our first two months of travel in advance before setting off. Flights, accommodation, connecting land transport, must see attractions…. the whole thing. So that is what we did. Two months touring Bali , Southern Thailand & Cambodia were frantically researched and booked (through sites such as Agoda & Booking.com) over a two week period in late 2016. We had definitively committed to our new reality. This was both very exciting and scary at the same time!
We had a pretty good idea of what our costs would be for the first two months around South East Asia but then had no idea of an itinerary after that. So we researched some more using Sky Scanner (www.skyscanner.com) to figure out where the major airport hubs were and the approximate costs of flights between. We then came up with a few possible routes across this amazing planet of ours that appealed to us (and our budget).
Based on this I put together a couple of simple tables estimating accommodation, food, activities, flights, internal travel & Visa costs for each route. To my amazement it appeared we could backpack much of this world for around $125 AUD per day all inclusive for all four of us. Or to put it into perspective about half of what we would spend staying put at home (Gold Coast, Australia). Of coarse I would have to forgo my employment, and more importantly the corresponding salary, and therefor pay for this out of our hard earning savings.
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity (see our WHY page) for us and we had been fortunate enough to have some modest savings accumulated from my salary and various property moves (renovations and sales). We both agreed that this is what we wanted, and as we so often do, charged full steam ahead!
I have included the costing table below of the route we are leaning towards at the time of writing this page. I hope this may be of some use or insight to others.
As we complete our travels I will update our actual spend by destination here.