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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
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Elephant at Camp, Namibia

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Old 19 Feb 2009
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What a fantastic thread for a late afternoon in February, stuck in the office and dreaming of riding off over the horizon!

Over the years I bought into the 9 to 5 routine and of course it doesn't take long before you want the trappings to go with that routine. A new car, a better place to live, holidays etc. Before you know it instead of you owning your lifestyle, your lifestyle owns you.

I've been invited onto a trip this spring and can only do the European section because my past record of instant gratification has meant I cant afford to do the whole thing. I'm not complaining though because I'm slowly but surely paying off my debts and will get to have a 3 week adventure with some great people in some of Europe's most amazing scenery and I've no doubt it will leave me with a hunger for more!

For the record I'm selling a lot of my unused possessions on ebay.

necessity is the mother of invention as they say
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Old 19 Feb 2009
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Another approach to travel is to go more cheaply. Fair enough if someone wants to use expensive gear and travel expensively and can afford it, but it can also be done on a much tighter budget. It would be a chance for a rich city type for instance to live a complete adventure if they used a second hand, small bike and camped rather than the obvious top shelf style. Or to throw off the years and make like a kid again. Just travel. Linzi.
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Old 19 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by Linzi View Post
Another approach to travel is to go more cheaply. Fair enough if someone wants to use expensive gear and travel expensively and can afford it, but it can also be done on a much tighter budget. It would be a chance for a rich city type for instance to live a complete adventure if they used a second hand, small bike and camped rather than the obvious top shelf style. Or to throw off the years and make like a kid again. Just travel. Linzi.
Very true...

my first big trip I went totally overboard (although nowhere near to the levels of some people).. I was so obsessed with having the best kit and all the gear for every eventuality..

I guess we all get back from our travels regretting money spent on many totally useless and redundent items..

My current travel bike has cost me £2500 and thats prepped !! Bar petrol money, im ready to go !

People, dont get obsessed thinking you need £10,000 and 3 aluminium panniers full of water purifiers and satalite phones etc !!

Iv seen more than a few people here say they would go if they could afford it and then talk about the £800 GPS and £1500 shiney pannier set they've just bought for "the weekend"
Did some trips.
Rode some bikes.
Fix them for a living.
Can't say anymore.
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Old 19 Feb 2009
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Selling both cars and both sports bikes 25/30 K, already brought the travel bikes and 80% of kit so by August the house should be well and truely rented and we'll be off. When we get back if we need cars for work we'll buy a couple of old knackers until we have enough for something better and then the five year cycle will start all over again
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Old 20 Mar 2009
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Spent ages reading this thread and its really good to heard how all of you guys have done it. I feel I have some what of a different situation that i am in.

Im currently 23, just finished 4 years of uni a year ago and have been working for a year now as a Structural Engineer. My wage im on isnt much above minimum as i live in a small town and still have 2 years part time uni to complete before ive finished most my training to become professional, so that is priority in my life just now.

I also treated myself to a brand new bike on finance in april last year (before the credit crunch struck hard) and so im paying for that for the next year and a half. Ive reached a point in my life where i realise that if i want to do a big bike trip im gonna have to do it in the next 3 or 4 years as me and the better half will most likely want to start a family (no rushing ofcourse hehe) in 5 or so years.

So....With minimal money coming in...too much going out on student debt, rent, bills, keeping the gf happy and silly bike payments i simply dont have much cash to save. But....light at the end of the tunnel...once the bike is payed off i will have a decent machine for a trip, and if i dont want to use it i can sell it and get something cheaper and have some cash in the fund. I will save little and often just now and start saving more in a year and half when i have less going out.

So fingers crossed i can get the money together and do it, otherwise it may well be a long long while away. I can see myself in a couple years being fed up of the 9 to 5 as im an impatient bugger at the best of times so my determination will, hopefully, get this thing DONE!!!
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Old 21 Mar 2009
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6 weeks to go and we fly into Heathrow from Oz. Bike is already on it's way over by ship and our big reunion is on the 5th May in Felixstowe.

Life takes on a whole new dimension when you sell everything. What we own now has to fit in the two panniers, 1 top box and a tankbag on the Triumph Tiger. This includes a good set of clothes, a dagy set of clothes, wet weather gear, a few basic tools for bike, computer (acer aspire one netbook) canon dslr and lenses+ lumix compact, required power pack/chargers and a few other bits and peices.

If it dosn't fit in them then we don't need it. We travel, we stay with friends and family, I'm handy with repairs and building things, Di is a fantastic cook so while we are staying with people we pay our way, I build and repair and Di cooks and takes over the house work and people never want us to leave.

Life is now amazingly simple. If we need to we pick up some part time work, Di waitressing, me mowing lawns or doing some handyman stuff. We now live by the KISS principle, Keep It Simple Stupid.

It works for us and works wonderfully well.
We've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy us, send money.
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Old 12 Apr 2009
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Fascinating stuff!
I did something else. I sold all the crap, rented my house and.....moved to Asia!

Here, I can earn very good money, relatively!, live cheaply and save. I am immersing myself in a different culture, learning languages and making great friends. When my contract is over, I am free and SE Asia is on the doorstep.
Of course, every weekend there is somewhere new to explore.

I fell in love with the place back in 2003 and thought to myself, how can I finance this? I'm a bike mechanic by trade but so is every Tom, Dick and Hoang here so that's not an option. What can I do, I thought? I went to University, got a degree, did a CELTA and now I teach English.

It's not an impossible dream. I think flexibility is the key. I thought the landmine clearing idea was fantastic. An honest day's pay for a worthwhile job. The locals here in Vietnam do this for scrap money like the pikeys lifting scrap cars back home, but the return is much less and infinitely more risky. I think there is more UXO here than anywhere else on the planet.

What about the NGO's? Someone mentioned that too, my apologies for not remembering your name. A third world country is not a 'nanny state'. If you are blind, you starve, if you have learning difficulties, you starve. If you stepped on something that shouldn't be there, you starve. Working for an NGO, you won't be able to drink champagne or buy new games for your X box but you will make a difference and....you won't starve. Best of all you'll be there, where you want to be. You'll have plenty of time to prep your bike, pore over maps, get accustomed to the culture and climate....time is so precious I have found.

I suppose there are two 'camps' of thought, of which I subscribe to the latter, and both are remarkable:
There are those who wish to see as much as they can in the time afforded them and those who make the time to see as much as they can.
I suggest that savings and bank loans are handy but not a necessity to travel. I mentioned that I rented my house but I don't really call that an income, more of a retirement plan! Who knows what may be around the corner.

Everyone has skills and most don't appreciate them. If you can ride a bike, you can navigate your way through a toolbox or have computer literacy then you'll have a job. I quickly appreciated that in a third world country even the most basic of skills are highly valued. Hey, you're a native speaker, you can teach English!

I hope folks find this as written. It's not a lecture but an attempt at encouragement and an effort to fight procrastination!
There are always ways and means and if you want it badly enough, you'll find them.

Last edited by pete123; 13 Apr 2009 at 03:35.
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Old 10 May 2009
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how I ve done it

how I ve done it in the past. eat cheap food that is good. Rice, etc. bake your own bread with a bread maker. save 400.00 a year. Cook with a slow cooker and eat the same dinner for 3 or 4 days. Helps that I was a chief at one time. Stop buying things that I don't need to save. Make your own coffee. In two years that can be 2 or 3 grand. How you live. Can you handle a small cheap room with someone else?! save 3 grand or more there if you rent. My Job skills that can be use anywhere. Security, window cleaner , cook, janitor, truck driver, taxie driver, limo driver , computer tec. Yep I get bored every 3 or 4 years and change what I do. I ve camped out for up to 3 months to save money. Gone to the exstream at that time of washing up in lockable washrooms. If I couldn't afford a bike , I would hitch hike to go where I wanted. If you want a place to come back to consider building one of these rolling cabins. Gypsy Rose Many varations on it can be made with an old trailer trailer frame or flat deck trailer. 16 x 8 trailer or smaller. If you look on the site somewhere there is even one that uses shipping pallet as most of the framing. Build one and you can stay in a friends yards for cheap. How much lumber can be had for free? Trailer frame? Craglist maybe? Dream don't die just the dreamer. The greatest thing in the world that defeats all to many people is how they think. As long as you think you can and it's posible and worth it then you will do it.
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Old 29 Jun 2009
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Does anybody could tell me if the budget I made for my next trip is realistic or not ?

The trip:
- France to Tunisia by boat
- Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, stopping in Cairo for a few weeks (I have relative there)
- then Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambic, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa.
- then flight from South Africa to India with the bike
- then from India to France throught Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, etc...

I'll ride two-up with my girlfriend on a KTM990adv. The trip will last from 10 to 12 months. We've already been in almost 30 countries with that bike (> 110.000km), I know how to maintain it, how to take care of it, in which condition it is, etc... so we *should* not have problems with that bike... I mean nothing impossible to fix...

We're gonna do it on the cheap, with a lot of camping, cooking ourselves, etc. Nothing but a 5 stars trip! We are 24 and 30 so we don't care a lot about comfort...

As we already spent quite sometime on the road we already have all the gear for us and the bike, nothing to buy.

The budget:
- boat from France to Tunisia: 700euros
- flight from South Africa to India (2 persons and a bike): 2500euros
- parts for the bike (tyres, oil, etc): 1500euros
- fuel: 6.5L/100km during 40.000km = 2600L with an average of 1.2euros per liter = 3120euros
- 40euros/day (without fuel) for 305 days (10 months) = 12200euros
- paperwork (visas, carnet, insurances at borders, etc): 1000euros
- additionals savings "in case of": 3000euros

Total: 24000euros

We hope to spend less but that's the money we would like to have on our bank account before we leave. I always like to leave with more money than we need so that we know we won't run out of money in the middle of India or be in trouble if we need to book an emergency flight back to home...

Does it sounds good to you ? Way too much ? Way not enough ? Almost correct ?
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Old 30 Jun 2009
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This is an interesting thread!

I'm 34, wife is 27. We are planning Trans Africa next year, taking 10 to 12 months and then she wants to do the career thing. I don't argue, cause I know she'll get over it within a few months of getting to the UK and then we can make plans for the next trip and how to finance it.

Finances: Well, we were lucky enough to buy a house in South Africa and get about 24% growth per year for two years before the recession. We were also lucky enough to have a huge deposit to put down so we have a minuscule mortgage to deal with. We have been traveling on short trips for a while, so we're pretty much geared up and ready apart from a few small things because of changing our vehicle.

I'm a photographer/videographer and write some travel articles for magazines. This does give me the advantage to work while we are travelling and hopefully get some money back after the trip.

I have to say though, if it was not for this house and our investment in it, we would not have been able to do this at all! We are planning on settling in the UK for a while, earning the pounds instead of South African Rands, so selling up and moving on is the plan right now.
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Old 30 Jun 2009
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I can do this route three times with this budget
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Old 30 Jun 2009
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Originally Posted by Sinan View Post
I can do this route three times with this budget
I just want to be sure my budget is over estimated, not under
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Old 26 Aug 2009
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Flaw in the plan

Originally Posted by Laura Bennitt View Post
now I have some savings, but also a relationship where, while I could just go and he'd still be here when I get back, I don't want to just go and do my thing leaving him to work and pay off his debts.

So... I'm investing in his career change: he also wants to be a private contractor, but in landmine clearance. He's been saving for the course, I'm making up the shortfall so it happens sooner rather than later (bit of a dent to his manly pride there!!). Then, if all goes well, he goes off and earns lots of money in stints of a few months at a time. I get to spend that money

We're both very independent, so while he's off doing his thing I'll be doing mine, then when his contracts end we spend a few months together before starting all over again. (whilst both technically British, we both grew up abroad, so don't particularly feel we have to base ourselves here)
Update: This plan only works if the bastard doesn't dump you once he's taken the money and done the training.

Yeah OK maybe that was an obvious flaw.

But hey, on the flip side, I've just done 14000 miles and 4 months in Europe for about £3500 excluding the bike (but I get to keep or sell that), I'm back for 6 weeks then off to Indonesia getting paid to work for Rough Guides, then back for 5 weeks before spending Xmas working for my little sister who's a zoologist in Botswana.

Moral of the story: work with what you've got rather than focusing on what you think you should have, learn to stand on your own 2 feet and pick yourself up no matter what happens (that's literally as well as figuratively, 65kg me vs 250kg bike on its side...), and things will sort themselves out.

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Old 27 Aug 2009
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Wise words Laura ..

Originally Posted by Laura Bennitt View Post
... then off to Indonesia getting paid to work for Rough Guides...
Please let us know how you got on in Indonesia .. as this country is on my 'optional' list.


Right Way Round ...

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Old 31 Aug 2009
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Hi all, Please forgive the length of this rambling but after reading every single entry in this topic over a good few days, I felt I had to throw my tuppence worth in.

Some years ago back in the early 70’s when I was 17 and I was scrubbing around on a BSA 175 Bantam, I decided I wanted to go around the world. I also wanted to go on a Triumph Daytona. I have no idea why a Daytona? It just sounded so glamorous and was a large bike at 500 cc. As some have said in other posts, not so long before those days a 500 was a real big bike ridden by men and anything bigger was for dragging a side car around. Incidentally I had no idea who Ted Simon was or that he was actually doing what I was dreaming about. Anyway the years rolled by and relationships, marriage, divorce, caring for elderly parents all got in the way.

In my late 30’s I had to wear glasses and I stopped biking. My dream was over and I sold my beloved Honda 400 four and everything I had to do with biking. It was only about three years ago, some ten years after I had sold my bike, when a close friend and fellow HUBBER told me about “decent” flip top helmets. I could wear one of those and still be able to put my glasses on. It was time to get another bike and start dreaming again.

With the extraordinary and generous help of some from here I have sourced a bike that would do all of the things I wanted it to do and go to the type of place I want to go. Equipped it with the best stuff I could afford which is a long way off and not necessarily the most expensive there is. From scratch with no helmet boots, gloves, tools or sod all I have a Transalp 650 and enough of the right gear to stay on the road almost indefinitely. The cost? around 8k. The bike and accessories such as a centre stand and crash bars etc came to about 3.5k£ the rest went on camping gear , luggage, security, clothes, tools and other bits and pieces. It all adds up. In trials some stuff worked and some didn’t. 200 quid’s worth of security chain keeps the bike safe at home but is far too big to carry around. Everything I have can be sourced for a lot less than what I paid. The truth is I have probably gone overboard and accumulated in 18 months what most have spent a lifetime gathering. I am very conscious of the ticking clock and age is not the only consideration, health is right up there.

Finally when most of the things stopping me had gone from my life a recession hit me. I was and still am of the opinion that I had to sell my house and not rent it out. I have seen and heard too many horror stories about people who ended up with undesirables in their property, rent unpaid and damage mounting to many 1000’s of pounds, dollars, euro’s etc etc. It is bad enough dealing with all of that if you live in the same town but halfway around the world? No thank you. For me this would be a one way trip, I would not be coming back. For a start it is hard enough to get a job in the UK right now but at the wrong side of 60 when I reckon I would be back I would be virtually unemployable. I cannot see me ending my days selling the big issue and sleeping in a hostel, No offence to those that do and have to. As a much younger man I have had to do similar things but I have no desire to re-visit old territory.

The only thing stopping me now is the money to go. Almost everything I have is tied up in the house and I do not believe I will be able to sell it for a “reasonable” price for at least another 18 months. When I look back there was always a reason why it could not be done and as far as I see it not everyone can travel at the drop of a hat regardless of who tells you that you can. I have since learnt it’s only when you do not know why you cannot do something that you try to do it at all. Will I ever manage it? Who knows but at almost 40 years after having the dream it has still not faded away and the urge to go is getting stronger every day. Just because you cannot do it today does not mean that you can never do it. Sometimes you just have to wait. In my case close to 40 years and still counting.
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