It’s time for my yearly travel budget breakdown! But first, here’s a little roundup of the things that happened throughout 2018.
In May, I turned 30 (so old!) and as a result have spent a ton of time pondering my future. It seems like an appropriate age to get your shit together, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do.
Career wise, I spent a large chunk of the year working as a travel writer for Tourism Australia, and Rob has been working remotely as a software developer. We started sharing a desk at a coworking space in Sydney, which means we’re both splitting our time between working from home, coworking, and remote work. Our location independent careers are allowing us to work abroad every once in a while, which is totally awesome.
Financially, we decided to invest in an apartment in Sydney! The property market here has been crazy expensive lately, so we chose a modest 1-bedroom apartment in the trendy Inner West.
Buying a place was a huge decision, but it’s been great to have a home to come back to whenever we travel. Once upon a time, we would sell everything we owned and move out of our rental apartment every time we took a big trip. This became exhausting, so it’s nice to have a place to keep our belongings now. Plus, we can rent it out on Airbnb whenever we travel!
As a result of our finances being tied up with other things, we didn’t end up spending as much on travel as we did in 2016 and 2017. Our time living in NYC definitely tempted us to take loads of trips, but since being back in Australia we’ve been a little more reserved. Here’s exactly how much we spent on travel throughout 2018!
Where exactly did we go in 2018?:
- Australia’s east coast road trip in February, 3 weeks
- San Diego work meetup in March (Rob only), 2 weeks
- Hobart for a wedding in March, 1 week
- Eastern Thailand press trip in May (Ash only), 6 days
- Belgrade conference in June (Rob only), 7 days
- Brighton work meetup in August (Rob only), 7 days
- England and Scotland road trip in September, 2 weeks
- Portugal in September, 10 days
- Orlando work meetup and NYC visit in October (Rob only), 12 days
- South Coast NSW road trip in November, 1 week
For the first time ever, Rob travelled more days than I did! His remote job for an American tech company meant that he was flown abroad 4 times this year for various meetups and conferences. His trips were nearly free, and included four destinations throughout 2018: San Diego, Brighton, Belgrade, and Orlando.
Total travel days:
On top of the above trips, we both did a few day trips around our home in Sydney, which haven’t been counted as travel days seeing as we didn’t stay anywhere overnight. I also didn’t count the trip down to my hometown of Hobart in March, as being there just feels the same as being at home!
With this in mind, I had a total of 65 travel days, and Rob had 94 travel days. In comparison to last year, I had 86 travel days and Rob had 74.
Even though my trips were a little less frequent than they have been, I still managed to go abroad twice and cover 4 countries over the course of the year. I also really enjoyed our two trips with friends throughout Australia. It’s so easy to take your home country for granted, but we really should consider exploring our own backyards more often.
How much did it cost?:
I’m going to quote the prices for both Rob and I, and for the first time since I’ve started doing these budget posts, I’m going to quote the total back in Australian Dollars (AUD) as that’s our primary currency at the moment.
- Transport costs (flights, trains, buses, rental cars, fuel): $4,565
- Accommodation costs: $5,462
- Other travel costs (day tours, attractions, etc): $2,016
Total: $12,044 AUD
Total per person: $6,022 AUD
For my friends in the US, 1 Australian Dollar is around 0.74 USD at the moment, and it has been sitting at around that exchange rate for most of the year, so this total would amount to approximately $8,875 USD. During 2017 we spent $15,442 USD, which means our spending was nearly halved this year!
As I’ve mentioned before, this total does not include incidental purchases and meals. I don’t count them in my travel budget as I consider this general spending money – I would still be buying food if I was back at home.
Now for the complicated math! Rob and I travelled for a total of 159 days between the two of us. If you take away the 45 days that I would consider ‘work trips’ (ie. travel days that were completely sponsored or paid for by someone else), that’s 114 days of travel.
$12,044 / 114 days = $106 per person, per day
I think this is the first year in a long while that we’ve actually stuck close to our travel budget. While some of our destinations weren’t at all cheap (that’s right, Scotland!), we did take advantage of Rob’s work trips to make it cheaper for us to travel. Because his meetups in August/September, it was only me who had to pay for flights to Europe for our trip – Rob got his flights for free!
Credits, rewards, and free stuff:
We continued to extend our travel funds by renting out our apartment through Airbnb for some of the time that we were travelling this year, including the month we spent in Europe.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to do much travel hacking this year as it’s much harder to do in Australia than it is in the US, but I did manage to accrue 1 free night through hotels.com rewards and some Airbnb credit by referring readers through A Globe Well Travelled. This reduced the cost of my accommodation in South Coast NSW, Brisbane, and Porto.
I took part in one press trip to eastern Thailand this year, which accounted for 6 of my travel days. The costs of this trip were entirely covered for me, though one thing to note is that bloggers are expected to work while we’re on press trips and produce content afterwards, so this is more of a work trip than free travel.
- Airbnb hosting: $2,245
- Airbnb credit: $636
- Hotels.com rewards: $159
- Press trip approx value: $1800
- Free day trip: $398
- Free GoPro dome: $200
Total value: $5,438 AUD
2019 travel plans:
While nothing is set in stone, we’re hoping to take two big trips next year – one to Asia (probably Japan) in the first half of the year, and another to an undecided destination in the second half. There will possibly be skiing involved in at least one of the trips.
I’m intending to visit at least 2 new countries throughout the year, and I’ve gotta admit – I’m pretty excited to see what adventures 2019 brings!
Where did you travel to in 2018? And what did your travel budget look like? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
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