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Pre-planning For Our Next Big Trip!

We’ve spent the last few months pet sitting in the UK while we save and plan for our next big adventure. This one will be our longest in duration and the furthest we’ve travelled as we head through Asia and on to Australia and New Zealand for what we hope will be a 12 month adventure.

We’ve had so many lovely messages from people we’ve inspired to take up House and Pet Sitting as a way of seeing more of the world. We thought this blog post may be really helpful for anyone thinking of planning a house and pet sitting adventure or perhaps some of you that have been building reviews locally with a plan to head off further afield.

We’ll be sharing details of all the pre-planning we’ve done which we hope will make our latest adventure go as smoothly as our last. We really hope you may find little snippets that you can use when planning your own house and pet sitting adventure.

Funding Our Travel

The most important first step has been for us to make sure we can afford the adventure. We always make a rough financial plan for any adventure and make sure we list every expense we’ll have to cover for that period of time. Once we have the final figure, we can then work out how we go about raising the funds for the trip.  So how do we get to that final figure?

OK, well we start with the most important list of costs …… Travel Insurance, Flight Costs, Transport On The Ground, Food Costs, Any Other Accommodation Costs and A Buffer Fund. We then take each one individually and break them down to get a final figure for each. So for our up coming 12 month trip the figures may look a lot at first glance, but spread them out over 12 months and the monthly cost is a lot less than you might think.  (Just to say our cost are in British Pounds, anyone from other countries reading this will need to convert the numbers to their own currency.

So here it is then our breakdown for the trip ahead.

Travel Insurance – £1,020 for the year (Yep I know its horrendous, hopefully you youngsters will get it much cheaper!!)
Flight Costs – £3,660 (Well we have quite a few flights …. UK to Thailand, Thailand to Australia, Australia to New Zealand, New Zealand to Australia, Australia to UK)
Transport on the Ground – £1,500 (This figure is our best guess, but we’ve worked out roughly what we need including taxis in Thailand, Buses in Australia, Car Hire and Trains in New Zealand.
Food Costs – £5,500 (Now not everyone could have a food budget so low, but we know how cheaply we can eat and worked out that we can live on £15 per day. How do we do it? Firstly, we rarely buy alcohol while we’re travelling, Secondly, we’ll live really cheaply on £5 a day 3 times a week, so we then get to live on £22.50 a day the other 4 days of the week (Happy Days)!
Any Other Accommodation Costs – £1,000 (Sometimes you just can’t get back to back house sits, which means you have a gap to fill and somewhere to stay is needed. Having room in the budget for this is a must. We’ll of course do whatever we can to get a free bed for the night, We’ve couch surfed like the rest of you youngsters!)
A Buffer Fund – £2,000 (If things go wrong and from time to time they will, a bit of a decent Buffer Fund is highly recommended. This could cover anything from a Sit cancellation to an unplanned plane ticket, who knows, but we’re glad to have it).

So lets summarise those costs:
Travel Insurance – £1,020
Flights – £3,660
Other Transport – £1,500
Food – £5,500
Other Accommodation Costs – £1,000
Buffer Fund – £2,000
Total Trip Budget – £14,680

That’s £14,680 for the year = £1,223 per month
You’ve got to say that’s not too bad when you think we’ll travel for 12 months to the other side of the world and back!

So we have our final number as approximately £1,250 a month we need to either earn while we travel, or as we do, earn before we travel.

How we fund our travel, including this trip, is through our online work, coupled with full time house sitting for a few months in the UK, which saves us £1000’s in costs (which we would have if we owned a home) Over just 5 months with careful spending we’ve saved a third of our upcoming trip amount. The rest will come from our online earnings.

OK, so that’s the funding sorted …… By the way if anyone may be wondering how to work remotely or how to go about setting up an online business, please take a look at this link: How To Fund A Life Of Travel

How We Worked Out The Budget

So now that we’ve worked out some figures, we’ll go through a bit more detail of how we worked all these numbers out.

1.) Travel Insurance
There are various types of insurance and depending on the length of time and type of trip will determine which is the best insurance for your needs. We’ve paid a higher price as we have to declare a pre-existing condition and we also have cover for 12 months. Insurance can be much cheaper for you youngsters and for shorter trips.
We’ve used Avanti and Allcleartravel recently for our travel insurance needs but shop around. Comparison Sites can be a good way of getting an idea of best prices.

2.) Flights
We tend to use a flight comparison site (Kayak and Skyscanner are our go-to sites) to initially check flight prices and then once we have found the best prices for a flight we take a look at the companies offering the flights and select a company we have used in the past.

If you take a look at the screenshot below, we’ve made a search for flights from London to Bangkok. Thai Airways have a well priced flight and the cheapest company offering the flight is Travel2Be. 

From experience, some of the third party budget flight sales companies offering the flights cheaper than the airlines themselves may be cheap, but they can be a nightmare to deal with once you’ve booked your flight. We’ve been lucky using some in the past, but on other occasions when we’ve needed to change flights, add seats and check in, some have been less than helpful. 

If you look at the screenshot below for the same flight, if you click on the little “20 more” icon, it lists all the companies selling the same flight. We also check the airlines price directly through their website as sometimes for an extra few pounds booking directly gives you a bit more peace of mind.

Everyone has a different view on flight bookings and it really depends on your budget. Personally, if its a short hall flight of 3 hours or so and we don’t mind where we sit on the plane we’ll always book the cheapest we can. If we’re flying for 8 hours or more and we want to sit next to each other we’ll do a bit more research on who we book through.

3.) Other Transport Costs
Although we have an idea of where we plan to visit on this adventure and have already pre-booked some airport transfers (we use Hoppa most of the time unless we can find a local taxi firm with good reviews).  We can’t plan every single bus, internal flight, boat transfer or train journey. We always do a little research in to which mode of transport would be cheapest in each country. Its worth doing the sums too, as an example, we almost booked an overnight train journey in Thailand which would have taken 12 hours, we then found that Airasia would fly us the same route for £10 more and have us at our destination in 1 hour.  Always shop around when you want to get from A to B. Social media is a great way to get tips from people who have already done the trip. Its amazing how many helpful people there are on local community groups and forums.

4.) Food Costs
We covered how we work out our food budget in the last section. We can live on £15 per day. How do we do it? Firstly, we rarely buy alcohol while we’re travelling, Secondly, we’ll live on £5 a day 3 times a week, so we then get to live on £22.50 per day the other 4 days of the week. We are very strict with this budget and the way we see it, we would rather eat and drink less, for the chance to visit a bucket list destination like the ones we’ve been lucky enough to visit in the pictures below!

5.) Other Accommodation Costs
As we mentioned before, sometimes you just can’t get back to back house sits, which means you have a gap to fill and somewhere to stay is needed. If you are happy bunking up with 12 others in a hostel room your budget may be much less than ours! Its a best guess figure but we’ve gone for 20 nights of accommodation at £50 per night which gives us a good couple of weeks extra accommodation in the budget should we need it. We always use Booking.com as they offer free cancellation on most rooms and this is a real plus if our plans change last minute and we need to cancel a room and get our money back.

6.) Buffer Fund
We mentioned earlier that things can go wrong from time to time on an adventure or you need some extra money for something you hadn’t planned to do. This can be anything from a visit to a doctor, a real pig out day at a restaurant, an unplanned plane ticket or a bucket list experience like paying for a bungy jump! A bit of a Buffer Fund is highly recommended and we’ve given ourselves £2000 which we’ll probably spend on bungy jumps and happy hour beer!

A Summary Of Pre -planning Any Trip

We hope you’ve found this blog post useful and we hope we’ve thought of everything we need to make our trip run smoothly. We’ll be setting off on the 10th November 2022 so look out for more blogs on our 12 month pet sitting adventures.

To finish though we’d just like to add a few more tips about pre-planning trips which again we hope some of you may find of use.

When we are planning a trip we are always very mindful of the amount of cash and currency we will need to carry while we are away. We always carry a little cash in the currency of the countries we are visiting. The rest of the currencies we will pre-load on to a pre-paid card. We highly recommend Revolut.  We’ve been using them since they first set up and we’ve always found them the perfect option for us. We load the card with our home currency (UK Pounds) and then change money to other currencies using an app, We have a physical visa card and a virtual card too. We can make payments and withdraw cash in any local currency we have on the card and we get really good exchange rates as well.

Border Controls
We make sure we have all our visa’s and papers in order before we head off on our adventure. This is really pretty important especially when we are House and Pet Sitting which often allows us to stay in a country longer than most tourists can afford.

Which ever country we are visiting, we check to see what visa requirement we need to arrange. Firstly, we check how long we can stay in the country as a tourist and make sure we can travel to our next country on a new visa. Our reason for visiting any country is as a tourist to see the sites, so as a result we require a tourist visa to enter some countries. We also check if any of the countries require us to provide an onward flight ticket, or to prove we have sufficient daily funds to pay for our stay. We also carry a rough itinerary of our route and include any paid accommodation bookings, stays with friends (our pet owners have already become friends before our trip – so we call them friends on our itinerary rather than pet sits!).  We include any other touristy things we have pre-booked such as car hire/transport and any attraction bookings. Anything that shows border control we are tourists (even if longer term tourists) and visiting their country to see the many amazing sites they have to offer us.

The Boring Bits
We weren’t going to include any boring bits but we thought we should just mention one more thing. We always make sure we have everything organised in our “home” country (we call the UK our home country even though we are Nomads, as this is where we are originally from). We book and pay for a dentist appointment for a check up and clean before we leave. We always give a family member our itinerary just in case anyone needs to know where we are in an emergency. We have top up phone cards for our home country. We pause these and buy new temporary pay as you go sims in any countries we are visiting. Another thing you may have to think about is if you have direct debits set up in your home country make sure you have left enough funds in your account while you are away!

Best of luck with your next adventure, have an awesome time and we hope you’ve found this blog post useful.

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