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Photo by George Guille, It's going to be a long 300km... Bolivian Amazon

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by George Guille
It's going to be a long 300km...
Bolivian Amazon



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  #46  
Old 8 Apr 2012
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COsts

This post seems very helpful when thinking about the cost of a big trip. I am toying with a big trip down through South America then over to Africa and up the Eastern side.. The idea would be to make it to Europe where I could leave the Bike with friends, and return to the US. Work some more to save up the funds, to do a second trip toward the East. Maybe by then, Peace will break out in the Middle East and I could ride through there as well
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  #47  
Old 16 Apr 2012
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"BMUU'S rarely break down" That's the biggest myth in motorcycling, the best marketing in the business has much to do with popularity. Off topic I know but if I had a dollar for every fully kitted out BMUU GSA I've seen obviously only purchased for the Image - I'd have that $20,000 bucks !!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by m22e View Post
Um, well...

Concerning the first four paragraphs:

I don't remember writing that I don't understand why I spend less. It's quite obvious that you'll end up spending less when you spend less, isn't it?!
Simply pointing out that I do.

And concerning the last paragraph;

I don't have a problem with anyone spending more money on whatever they choose to, including doing the trip with a different/ bigger bike and I don't have anything more to say on the BMW Topic, simply that it is my opinion that the only thing that makes BMW's popular among travellers, is that it rarely breaks down.
But you're right that this is not the place for this discussion, especially as it's mainly a matter of preference.

Have a good day !
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  #48  
Old 27 Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
There's the real issue: you're thirty, not 45 to 60. Most of the bikers I meet riding around odd points on the globe are approximately my age, 53. There's a reason for this. In your case, you're in the prime of your life, but not the prime of your earning power. At this stage in your life it's either house or trip; later on, you may have other options.

Of course I'm aware that I'm making ridiculous oversimplifications and crude generalizations....but I think this is a big part of what you're wondering about.

Safe journeys!

Mark
Ditto, I agree with the above - I'm 62. I certainly couldn't afford a Unimog based camper when I was 30!!! - I was driving a bare bones Landcruiser.
Interestingly, in an elapsed total of 8 months travelling around Australia (away from the usual haunts of Sydney, Cairns, Uluru) we met many many Australians of course, lots of Europeans - but not one single American!!

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  #49  
Old 16 May 2012
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I think the hardest part about getting out there and traveling is getting out the door of your old life. I realized, much as the OP and many of the responders have, that you can either wait until you're older with a good paying job and lots of time off, or travel young and give up on the 'ideals' of home ownership, domestic partnership (unless you have a FANTASTIC significant other), and material goods.

I slowly started getting rid of crap as I moved through my second stint through college. Each spring and fall, I looked at the stuff I had and threw more and more of it away, gave it away, sold it, traded it, or whatever to just be rid of it and didn't replace it unless it turned out to be absolutely necessary. It took about three years, but as it stands now I can just about fit everything I own on my motorcycle or in a smallish box that gets USPS'd to whereever I determine my next destination to be. At around the same time, I got a summer job in Alaska... two weeks later that box was in the mail and the bike was packed, and I moved to Alaska from Maryland. I still have bills, I still have some debt, both of which should be settled by the end of summer I hope thanks to this job, but most importantly I have my freedom. At 28, 29 in three weeks, I'm finally doing exactly what I want to be doing: working to travel and live.
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  #50  
Old 10 Feb 2020
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Cost

What people seems to forget is the life at home is not for free.
So all the costs travelling is not "extra"

You eat at home. I does not have to cost more if you travel South America or Asia.
You pay your rent at home. That amount will easily pay camping on camping grounds in cheap countries.

No bills for electricity, water, heating... to pay

I will soon retire from work. And I will get a low pension that is on the limit to live a decent life in west Europe. But that will be enough to travel South America.
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  #51  
Old 12 Feb 2020
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The key is to save money during the working season. I`m 45 and was able to do overlanding for 1.3 Years over the last 10 years.

Much more would be possible, if I would enforce it.

Live cheaper (flats, house), save bucks you can spend too in Restaurant / Bars / clubbing, use a cheap mobile phone, older computer, older cars.

Look for better payed jobs, trigger career chances, and safe bucks. Made your own food, less meat more pasta and so on.

Look for your complete livespan - to travel 4 years and run into money problems if you are retired - dont look like a balanced plan

Surfy
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  #52  
Old 21 Apr 2020
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^ That is true. The dollar may have great purchasing power in many countries, but that doesn't mean I can just leave whenever I want without it affecting my finances significantly.
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  #53  
Old 22 Apr 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik_G View Post
What people seems to forget is the life at home is not for free.
So all the costs travelling is not "extra"

You eat at home. I does not have to cost more if you travel South America or Asia.
You pay your rent at home. That amount will easily pay camping on camping grounds in cheap countries.

No bills for electricity, water, heating... to pay

I will soon retire from work. And I will get a low pension that is on the limit to live a decent life in west Europe. But that will be enough to travel South America.
Holy thread bounce Batman

Very good OP I thought. I don't think there's any real difference in propensity to travel being American or otherwise. Lindbergh was American, one of the most dedicated travellers I know is American. But Americans have the advantage of a vast country on their doorstep with no need for passports, visas or currency exchange, it's not unnatural to feel there is a lot to do there. And you only need to cross one border to travel even further. So it's kinda circumstantial really.

As for the money to travel, everyone has different thoughts on it. When I was young and unencumbered I could just jump on a bike and ride round Europe for pretty much as long as I wanted. If I racked up some debts, I worked to pay them off. Now, older, debt free and once again time rich I can go further abroad and stay for longer, but I do have to be careful that what I spend doesn't leave me short when I need it to live on, too old to want to flog my guts in the daily grind. Living at home isn't free, no, but it's a damn sight cheaper than life on the road. I'm not buying fuel every day, constantly buying parts for the bike, I'm not staying in hotels, or eating in cafes and restaurants. Yeah I could live on bread, cheese and water under canvas but I can see that attraction of that fading after a short time. The rule of thumb number for travel costs is $60 a day - more in the west, less in the east. I don't spend anywhere near that living at home.

In the end some people work like hell and save up for their trips, some sell up (and come back to what, I wonder?), others claim they work on the road. The holy grail seems to be blogging your way round the world, I prefer to avoid such commercial writings. But there are no magic shortcuts, money is money and for most of us it doesn't grow on trees. You need to cut your coat according to your cloth, trade off a stable lifestyle for one that is far more precarious (financially as well) and decide what matters more to you. If you run out of money on the road it won't be fun so plan, plan, plan.
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  #54  
Old 30 Apr 2020
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Interesting to revisit this thread during Covid 19 lockdown from a saving point of view.
Leaving aside earning potential, at this troubled time, I suspect people who are still earning are saving a lot more than usual: no restaurants, pubs, hairdressing....... the list goes on.
There used to be a program on TV in the UK called ‘Pay your mortgage off in 2 years’. It basically looked at 2 aspects of people’s lives - earning and saving.
1 - Improve your earnings by utilising your skills and possessions and work as much as you can.
2 - spend as little as you can.

I’d certainly like to know how Raven got on
There is a chance that things won’t get back to normal for a year or two. Instead of eating into savings for a trip planned for next year, I’m going to start saving (as soon as I get back to work) and see what happens
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  #55  
Old 23 May 2020
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^ Certainly the case for me as well. A few weeks ago (or was it months ago now?) my girlfriend and I have been looking over more ways to spend money particularly due to a planned trip to Mexico and we have some stuff bookmarked like this page, but now... I'm resigned to the fact that we might not feel completely safe leaving for the next year or so. Disappointment management in some way. I'd also feel more secure putting the money I'll manage to keep for a rainy day.
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  #56  
Old 28 May 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by branco View Post
I'm resigned to the fact that we might not feel completely safe leaving for the next year or so.
I've told myself that I need to just forget about any international travel for the next year, and count myself lucky to be able to do some travel right here in British Columbia.

Hotels and such are supposed to come out of lockdown on June 1st, so some friends and I are planning to rent a house in the BC interior via AirBnB, VRBO.com, etc. and do a bit of a road trip up there. Stay for a week, ride back.

My suggestion is to plan similar getaways in your local neck of the woods, and remember that there's always next year!
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  #57  
Old 30 Sep 2020
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It's clear that OP means "from the USA" by the term "American" so I'm responding on this assumption, and answering with some care, since the topic can become somewhat political.

I think, as others have mentioned, that a driver for people from the USA is that holiday/vacation time is tiny, so people perceive that a multi-month trip is not feasible. This has already been mentioned. A second key point is that health care is by far the most expensive on the planet, which is apparently what the country wants. This adds significantly to living costs for many. Health coverage for a multi-month trip is not cheap. In addition if your health care is through your employment, then what others in the world may choose to do is less accessible. In Australia, for example, as well as having what people from the USA would consider long annual vacation time, every so often you can take "long leave", which is what many Australians do to travel either around Australia or overseas. Since health care is not a concern, it's also not uncommon to work for a short term contract (1-3 years) and then take a trip before looking for another contract.

My first "big trip" was following a contract like this - it was my first full time employment - I fulfilled the contract then took off in August and travelled until January. I did this as economically as possible - hitchhiking through Africa. I seem to recall that it worked out at around USD 10 a day, including a number of expenses for things like climbing Kilimanjaro, a few flights to get to interesting places, a good hotel every so often, so not "roughing it" in my view.

Our last "big trip" was around Australia for 10 months. We both consult and can take a year off every couple of years - save for a year, travel for a year, more or less. We camped about 2/3 of the time to make it possible in terms of cost (an unpowered campsite in Australia averages USD 25 a day). I was ill once - went to the local clinic (Pine Creek), had all the tests they could run, they sent me to hospital in Katherine (an hour's drive) - they offered to take me in an ambulance, however we went in our own vehicle. At the hospital, they ran every test under the sun, with diagnosis and prescription. Total bill - Zero.

So, I guess my message is - find a way to get medical coverage, figure out how to take the time off you need, and get on the road.

PS: I'm an American too - citizen of Canada, which, the last time I checked, is in America.

Last edited by Alanymarce; 1 Oct 2020 at 01:22.
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  #58  
Old 2 Oct 2020
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Originally Posted by The Raven View Post


Being an American, I had the typical load of credit debt, major student loans and a high interest house mortgage. I've since paid off and disposed of my my credit cards, and lowered my mortgage. However, just yesterday, I was reading on this forum that budgeting for a south american trip is about 20k USD, OUCH!! how do you guys do that? 20K is half of my student loans and I'm 30, in the prime of my life? We want to sell our house and just travel, but get distressed by the cost. Debt is no longer an option for us. So what do we do?

I'm not jealous, or bitter, just inspired by others being able to do these things. I'm not concerned with having a retirement nest egg, health insurance, or something to leave my kids as we are not having any. We just want to be free and be able to feel as though we did something with our lives.
The only comment I would make is hunker down and buy a piece of real estate that you can rent out that locks you in the market.

While now you say you don’t want a nest egg or a house etc, life goes by in an instant. You wake up and your 55!!!!!!!

That unit you bought pays for your travel later on.

The house I own cost $80’000 in 1992. To buy it now would be $850’000

We will rent that at $3000 pm. We can travel anywhere. But if you told me that in 1992 I would have spat my coffee.

So just get something is my advice.

Good luck to you!

BTW I don’t think it’s a USA thing. It’s a western thing.


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  #59  
Old 15 Nov 2022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homers GSA View Post
The only comment I would make is hunker down and buy a piece of real estate that you can rent out that locks you in the market.

While now you say you don’t want a nest egg or a house etc, life goes by in an instant. You wake up and your 55!!!!!!!

That unit you bought pays for your travel later on.

The house I own cost $80’000 in 1992. To buy it now would be $850’000

We will rent that at $3000 pm. We can travel anywhere. But if you told me that in 1992 I would have spat my coffee.

So just get something is my advice.

Good luck to you!

BTW I don’t think it’s a USA thing. It’s a western thing.


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Just spent 6/7 weeks riding down through the US so not a great deal of data but we did stay with a few North Americans so here’s a thought for what it’s worth.

Looks in general that consumerism is a lot greater in the US than the UK. The amount of new and nearly new big pick up trucks is staggering. Then there’s the other toys: motorcycles, boats, quads etc….
In the UK these things are expensive and attributed to wealthy people but it looks like everyone has them in the States - well everyone we met anyway.
Also in the UK people are used to going abroad for holidays so it’s something to save up for and, if they enjoy travel they will save for an extended trip.

Our friends and relatives in the States don’t seem to have 2 or 3 week holiday periods and if they do they certainly don’t need to go far to enjoy them so maybe travelling or trips or whatever are just not on their radar.

No offence just a thought.
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  #60  
Old 16 Nov 2022
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I added a post earlier, and today thought about things and ended up writing the following, which I hope adds a little to the discussion. Others have given similar comments so there's some repitition.

1) re cost, it's all pretty flexible - how you travel affects cost massively. People spend USD 50K for 10 days in a luxury lodge in Namibia, others spend USD 1000 for 3 months in Cambodia. Anyway - think of costs in terms of the costs associated with travel (fuel, ship/ferry fares, museums, galleries, national park entry fees, insurance, medical expenses, visas, vehicle maintenance), and those which you will be paying whether you travel or not (food, drink, accommodation, insurance, medical expenses…

Now, consider the comparison, between travelling and staying at home.

Fuel: depends on your travel pattern on the road or at home - if at home you commute in heavy traffic for an hour each way every day you consume enough fuel to travel 200 km a day on average on the road. So, no extra cost.
Vehicle/bike maintenance: If you travel 15,000 km a year at home, and travel 45,000 km in a year on the road then your vehicle maintenance will obviously triple. However… if you're doing the maintenance in Colombia or Cambodia labour costs are a lot less than in the USA or Canada and you will end up with overall costs which are similar.
Shipping/ferry costs: clearly these are going to add expense to your life when travelling. Ferry expenses are not high unless taking a ferry from Bellingham to Whittier, Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, or Melbourne to Tasmania. Shipping your vehicle across an ocean is expensive. This is a significant additional expense, however obviously if you don’t travel where you need to ship your vehicle it will not add much cost.
Museums and galleries: You'll probably not spend much on these unles you routinely visit museums and art galleries at home, in which case the cost difference will be the difference in entry fees. In some countries it’s free, in others not, so you need to compare fees between those at home and those where you plan to go.
National park entry fees: Similar to the previous aspect, although when on a long trip you may visit more national/state/provincial/territorial parks than at home. Some parks (Serengeti leaps to the fore) are expensive, others are free or inexpensive. If you plan to visit many parks on a trip look into park passes (e.g., the Wildpark Pass in RSA) which reduces the price per park.
Insurance: Travel insurance may not be any more expensive than the insurance you pay to stay at home - it depends on where and what you plan to do. Comprehensive vehicle/bike insurance for travel in much of the world is prohibitively expensive so most travellers in South America and Africa (for example) take out the legal requirement in each country and no more.
Medical expenses: Medical insurance and “out of pocket” expenses in the USA are ridiculously high (I assume that by “American” The Raven means “USAian”). Leaving and travelling elsewhere is likely to mean a reduction in insurance cost, and medical costs’ being a lot less, if there is any cost at all.
Visas: This is obviously a cost which is not required if you stay at home. Costs range from inexpensive to medium, however USA passport holders have reasonable “passport power” and costs are not that high when visas are required (compared for example with the cost of a UK visa for a Colombian passport holder (last time we obtained a UK visa it cost USD 1137.00! Now travel to the UK for Colombians is visa-free).
Food and drink: you eat and drink at home anyway so the “travel cost” is just the difference. Food and drink costs when travelling in Africa, South America, and Asia are typically less or a lot less than costs in the USA.
Accommodation: Very much dependent on where you go. Campsite costs (unless wild camping) are high in the USA, Canada, and Australia, as well as in some parts of Europe, however a lot less in other areas - you can stay in posadas/BnBs in South America, for example, for less than the price of a campsite in Australia. In cities we usually stay in hotels or BnBs, and when outside cities it depends on the area.

So, overall, taking into account the difference in costs at home versus travelling, it’s not that big a difference. When people say that “budgeting for a south american trip is about 20k USD” you need to decide how you'll travel and compare this with the cost of not going at all.

2) "Americans" vs non-"Americans". I think it depends on the "where". We have met far fewer "Americans" travelling in Africa, Asia, and Australia, whereas in Latin America we've met more "Americans" than Australians and Europeans. The number of Africans we've met outside Africa is very small indeed.

3) Don't overthink it - get out there and travel!
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