Hi, I'm Chris, 25 years old and have been working in my profession for 9 years. I am good at what I do and have now reached the point in my career where people with the same skill sets are double my age. And I am able to take a good few years to step back and enjoy life a little before setting down for a while longer.
I caught the traveling bug in India last year. Wow... Ever since I have backpacked to Germany (Oktoberfest!), The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, USA (NY) and I will be going to Barbados at the end of September to see my old man who lives out there.
I made a very big leap in terms of career earlier this year, I went from a stable and steady permanent position which I had been in a while to contracting. It was a huge risk, but I want to contract in my profession abroad such as in Australia (IT) to replenish funds. So the risk allowed me to gain contracting experience and also allow me flexibility on when I can leave. My contract has been extended until December which is when I plan to leave. The fact my contract was extended without question also filled me with a bit more confidence I must be doing something right!
I plan to visit India (again haha), Thailand and the Philippines from the end of December through to the end of March, a month in each effectively. I will only buy a one way ticket to Mumbai. The rest will be booked over there allowing me more flexibility.
When I reach Oz, I will go straight to Melbourne and find work.
Now comes the reason for the thread, I screwed up my calculations somewhere, I don't know how or why, but I spotted the mistake and I'm glad I have done so 5 months before hand. I noticed my savings are not matching up to my forecast.
I have always been terrible with money, but I can be very conservative with it when I need to be. Ideally I wanted £10,000 to play with (not including flight). This would see me through the 3 months in SE Asia and then allow me to find a house share in Melbourne, and allow me to live for 8 weeks tops whilst I look for a job, any longer than 8 weeks. I come back home...
I will not hit that, I will be lucky to hit £8,000, realistically £7,000 will be the amount I have when I leave. This is a safety net gone. I'm not to keen on that.
So, my question is, can I stretch spending to £700 a month in SE Asia including flights and accommodation? Am I being too paranoid about money? Do I have more than enough?
This is my passion and I will strive to make it happen at the end of December. I can't postpone anymore. I need that one way ticket in my hand, but only when I know it's possible...
more than enough sir =] i've seen rent and such on websites and you should be fine. especially when you find work =]
£700 a month in SE Asia should be pretty doable, I think, though you'll have to watch your money more than I'd feel comfortable with. Flights might make it iffy. £900 a month would be what I'd recommend to have to just not worry about it, which isn't that much more to save.
However, I also think your buffer for Australia is larger than absolutely necessary. The minimum you need to be able to enter Australia on a WHV (which will allow you to take care of yourself for a bit more than two months) is AUD $5000, which is only £3000. Especially if you go straight to a house share, and stay in one place (don't travel around, which is always a big part of costs in Australia), you might even make that stretch a few weeks more, close to three months. And if there's any one type of work that'll actually allow you to top up funds, it's IT. So as long as you find a job within the first 1.5 months there - which is not trivial, but should be doable - you'll be fine. Try to find small IT businesses when applying for projects (rather than going through recruiters posting on seek), as a large percentage of them will have been backpackers themselves in their day, and be willing to give the benefit of the doubt to you precisely because you're a backpacker (where a regular IT-recruiter would only see that as a risk).
You could also consider shortening your time in SE Asia by a few weeks, and seeing more on the way back.
[ Edit: Edited on 22-Jul-2013, at 02:31 by Sander ]
Hey Chris! Sorry to hear about the messed up calculations but if there's one thing I learned from traveling is that a) do your research before to find out some local cheap eats/haunts at the places you're going to just in case you dont have time to do... b) talk to locals to find out where to go for hole in the wall places (if you're into authentic, off the beaten road experiences). A little research beforehand also can get you some awesome deals, but the best prices in SE Asia are when you're actually there. Haggling over prices is expected too so don't be afraid to aim for a lower price for some goods. Also SE Asia is known for the super cheap, but super good street food so it'll probably be transportation costs that will stretch your budgets.
Thanks for the speedy response guys!
Sander, I think £1,000 (including travel costs) might be doable. £3,000 for Oz is my minimum, ideally I wanted £5,000 to hit Oz with but yea, good to know £3,000 is what's needed.
I forgot to mention, I will also be putting in what's called a P85 which will net me some money back from the tax man which will arrive between 6-8 weeks after I leave the UK in my bank account. Which will be around £1,000 - £1,500 extra.
On top of that, I will be selling my little car for £1,000 which will pay for a few things. Hopefully that goes this weekend and I will book the Mumbai flight and get visa's along side a nice cheap laptop haha.
If I really concentrate and save pennies I think I could save more.
I just don't want to limit my fun factor through stupidity with money haha. I've worked too hard and too long to throw this opportunity away now
I would always advise where money is concerned trying to have a good buffer if you are traveling for long periods and use a money belt. The worse case is running out of funds thousands of miles away from home.
Our friend lost his wallet including cash and all his cards in Bangkok, he arranged with his bank to have a card sent on to our next hotel in India but it never arrived. We funded him for the rest of the trip using Internet banking to transfer funds from his account to ours.
On is own he would have had to go to the UK embassy for help and his trip of a lifetime would have been ruined.
When you travel for some months unexpected changes can take place, for instance you may not find IT work in OZ so would you be prepared to do field working?
Whatever people say about how cheap Asia is to live it all depends on how restricted you are prepared to be.
There is little point in traveling thousands of miles and be counting every penny you spend, the experience would be dreadful.
Look at the worse case scenario and be realistic it is far better to wait a little longer before setting off and have the experience of a lifetime.
check out this website it will give you information on everything for independent travelers.
Best of luck
Post 7 was removed by a moderator
Jean, some brilliant advice, I have got a money belt (that goes under your shirt) and have used it every time I step on a plane, even when going to London sometimes! It's just a huge security boost I find.
I normally only get out what cash I need for a week via my bank card from a cash machine (ATM). As like I said, the cash belt is on me at all times, if not, it's locked away somewhere secure.
I am very cautious with my money and belongings.
In regards to work, my rough plan at the moment is if I can't find work within 8 weeks in Melbourne I will stay with some distant relatives out there until I decide what to do.
As for working on farms, I intend to at some point! Simply so I can apply for a working tourist visa again later in life. My plan is to do a 6 month IT contract, then head off somewhere else and do some agricultural farm work. So if I don't find IT work, I will simply find a farm and work there.
Worst case, I head back to the UK if Aus doesn't work out.
I'm really excited :D
My son is a subcontractor working in the technology industry.
The short term contacts he gets are usually 6 month, try if you can registering with a local specialist agency in Australia well before you go and get all the advice you can from them. Obviously you will need a working Visa but I wouldn't think this would be a problem and I believe you can apply on line.
The obvious downside is you would be tied into a contract so this is something to consider. Whatever you do don't work without a Visa the Australian government would deport you if you were found doing this.
When we travel I always do masses of research before we go so that I have covered most situations.
I would also advice you to take two credit and debit cards, they seem to stop working at the most inconvenient times and this happened to us in South Africa and China.
Drip feed money into your current accounts for withdrawing and move money around accounts via Internet banking.
Get yourself the best account you can, fees on withdrawal can mount up when you are traveling for months.
With credit cards pay the full amount off monthly so you don't incur interest., this is easily done by setting up a standing order.
This all may seem very obvious to you so my apologies for commenting but you would be surprised how many people don't consider the cost of banking fees.
DON'T use Internet cafes for banking as you can never be sure of a secure line.
In OZ I used the libraries, they are free and will have a secure line, or an alternative is a good quality hotel just ask if you can use their business section. There will be a cost but it's worth it for peace of mind.
I added on to our RTW ticket with a flight bought in India and it was more expensive than I expected so keep this in mind.
Use the Website I linked to for budgeting etc in my previous post it's a very useful site.
Best of luck
Jean, you are an absolute legend haha. That site is VERY informative and I'm reading through it now.
I'm on the same page in terms of banking, I drip feed what I need from one main account (which I don't have a card for) into my current accounts as and when I need it. Mainly to reduce the risk of card cloning and losing money through it which is a big thing at the moment.
I am terrible for my research, it's all I do, I have a good 10 documents on my Sky Drive (hotmail data storage) with hostels/hotels should I struggle to find any there, places to visit, trusted places for information etc. I am generally very well researched before I don on the backpack and my friends love it. They always know if I'm on a trip I will plan it well and make it stress free haha. Latest trip was taking a girl to Copenhagen, she was astounded at my organisation as a man haha.
Again, I really appreciate the advice as like you said, I might be clued up on most of it, but others aren't and it's easy to miss the important things. Like that link, I totally forgot to do research on insurance companies!
Oh, as for internet Cafe's, I tend to use the wifi provided and run from my laptop which is a dual boot between Windows for photo and general usage and Linux which I then create a secure VPN to a friends server here in the UK so I know it's a secure connection. I know, a little over the top but I am very cautious with money and my stuff haha. Been to a fair few places and have not once been a victim of any crime. Touch wood.
Finally, Oz, your son, do you mind if I ask how easy he found work? I have a friend who works in a similar role to me and he found work very easily out there, and I indeed will get in contact with some agencies around about a October time, giving me a couple of months to get my CV seen and added into databases and maybe create a few relationships with some recruiters.
As for the visa, I will apply for this soon, along with the Indian visa, the Thailand and Philippines are on arrival correct?
Lastly! I have worked out that £3,000 will be enough for me to live a fun and exciting life for 3 months through India, Thailand and the Philippines. Which means I will have enough to enter Oz on a working visa. And it gives me a set amount to play with each week which will hopefully allow me to take funds out and budget accordingly instead of spending blind. Which is something I do on most trips.