In May 2011 we bought a Ford F-150 truck, retired and hit the road via RT66 and have been traveling ever since. Working up to our goal of traveling around the world, we spent a month in China, two months in Mexico and six months in Europe. On this page I’ll do my best to update what this type of home free lifestyle costs. Many travel WEB Sites leave out the financial side of world travels. Because of my finance background, it seems to me to be a VERY important part of such travels. I will refine this page as I learn of specific costs. Don’t forget about the fixed costs you will incur even when not at home.
2014: First Trip to Europe
($8,250 per month for two)
Everybody traveling will go to different cities have different lodging requirements and dining habits will vary greatly. After completing our first six month trip in Europe, cruising both ways, we spent about $275 per day. That is for two adults, not per person.
- 15 night cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome: $3,200, upgraded to a balcony. Add $1,000 for required tips, $6 charged per person per day, plus a few shore excursions. This $1,000 includes the few times we had drinks on the ship. Without any expensive alcohol package the ship offers, figure $22 every time a couple has a drink each.
- 14 night cruise from London to Ft. Lauderdale: $3,200, upgraded to a balcony. Add $1,000 for required tips etc. as described above.
- Car rental for approximately 104 days in Great Britain: $3,830. I have been told it is cheaper to lease than rent when the rental period exceed 28 days. However, the leased vehicle was to have a USA styled driver configuration. I was told this is difficult when driving in England, so we found a car rental place to rent for extended periods of time.
- Car rental for a week in Italy when visiting Tuscany. Figure about $100 per day. This included the car rental company’s insurance plus a full tank of gas at the end of the week which was about $100.
- Lodging through VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) in mainland Europe and the United Kingdom average: $ 150 per night
- Food Costs, $90 per day (I estimate we are spending $40 a day on average traveling in the USA) We buy groceries each Monday when we move and have cereal, coffee, yogurt, crackers, cheese and fruit at the condo. We generally have one meal out as a late lunch and have these snacks on the balcony in the evening. The $90 a day includes all food and grocery costs, including our liquor bill. These food costs are not incremental costs as this cost is partially offset by what you spend at home on food when not traveling.
- Train Fares in mainland Europe: $1,000 Not just a wild estimate. We have looked at the specific trains and added a couple of side trips. We did not purchase any Euro-Rail pass and are glad. The train fares seem quite reasonable and we only have one a week or so.
- Two Ferry Crossings costs approximately $600 since we are taking a vehicle across twice.
Fixed Costs will continue monthly:
In addition, determining a total budget requires you to know what your fixed costs are, those costs that keep running day after day, if you do nothing, go nowhere and eat nothing…. for us those costs include Verizon, $202 per month; three storage lockers, $400 per month and our BB&T employer health insurance plan at $650 per month. One of the three storage lockers contains our Ford F-150 in Fort Lauderdale. We also have a whole-life insurance policy which was likely not the correct type of policy to buy. Financial guru Suze Orman would be very disappointed and would scold us severely if given the chance. It runs $140 per month. Then there is the Uncle Sam bill for federal taxes, state taxes, automobile insurance, as well as the maximum contribution allowed to fund our Health Savings Account for a high deductible insurance plan which is around $7,500 per year. We terminated the Sirus Radio plan on the truck as it will not be used for a year at least.
These are your fixed costs. They will continue to add up monthly as you travel and need to be included in the budget.
2014: 3 Months in Mexico;
3 Months in the States
($3,675 per month)
We have been traveling around for a bit more than six full months now, so I have six months of credit card statement data. We are typically staying at Best Western Motels and eating out only once a day. Our breakfast is included so we eat at the motel. We have learned this is one reason for the old retired people eating early….. we are hungry at 4:30, especially if we have exercised that day. We have traveled from one end of the US to the other. From Albuquerque throughout Colorado to San Francisco then five hours south of the border into Mexico and now into Florida. Four months were in VRBO rentals (Vacation Rental by Owner), eight nights were free thanks to relatives in New Mexico with the rest of the lodging in motels.
Don’t forget your fixed costs, but here are some of the average, monthly additional travel costs we have incurred on average. Also note there are no clothing costs below. We went a bit overboard and after reading white tennis shoes are a no-no for tourists in Europe, we bought numerous pairs of high quality Mephisto walking shoes. Also, since Levis are bulky and dry slowly, we went to an REI and other hiking stores to buy non-cotton pants and shirts that dry quickly and pack more compactly.
Average Monthly Costs Incurred for Six Months, for two people:
- Lodging: $2,000
- Groceries: $ 350
- Dining Out: $ 825
- Gas, Vehicles: $ 500
- Tours: $ 0
- Airfare: $ 0
We will be storing our Ford F-150 truck in an enclosed locker in Fort Lauderdale for about $150 a month for the six months we will be in Europe. We are now the proud owners of three storage lockers…
2015: Domestic Traveling Costs
($5,625 per month)
Average Monthly Costs Incurred, Four Months of Travel, for two people:
30 days in Moab, Utah
30 Days in Colorado
60 Days on three different Hawaiian Islands all ending May 30, 2015
- Lodging: $2,900
- Groceries: $ 500 (Includes booze, and groceries are more expensive in Hawaii)
- Dining Out: $ 750
- Gas, Vehicles: $ 750 (Includes car rentals in Hawaii and storage of truck in Las Vegas)
- Tours: $ 225 (Represents $1,000 spent on tours in Hawaii)
- Airfare: $ 500 (Represents $2,000 Airfare to and from Hawaii plus inter Island Flights and Baggage fees)
Remember your fixed costs will continue to accumulate as well. For us that includes $1,079 per month for Obama Care style health insurance, Life Insurance, two storage lockers for $220 a month, contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA) and a Verizon phone plan for $220 a month.