If I looked up “budget traveler” in a dictionary, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a picture of Dale and Franca there.
I’ve read many RTW budget reports and I rarely come across numbers quite like theirs. They have been traveling full time for 2 years now and they have yet to use up the $30,000 they originally left home with. This is impressive, considering the money covers all expenses for the two of them as they travel the world.
Dale and Franca have a great story about how they started traveling and I recommend that you read all about it on their blog, Angloitalian Follow Us.
In short, Dale had been wrestling with depression for some time and he finally managed to clear his head during a trip to Venice, so he asked himself, “Why can’t every day be like this?”
Then they realized that they could, in fact, make every day be just like that, so they made it happen. Life can be really simple when you know what you want.
NW: Many people believe that money is what’s stopping them from traveling. I think it has more to do with whether you believe it can be done or not, because really you can travel without money. What was it that made you believe you can travel full time?
Travel blogging — or really, travel bloggers.
When we first started to feel inspired about traveling full time and indefinitely, all of the information about how to travel for so long and so cheaply was on travel blogs such as Nomadic Matt. We’d read the stories Rob of Stop Having a Boring Life and the adventures he was having, then we’d do a little research on how to do so through Matt’s website. They were some of the biggest inspirations for us at the beginning and we really admired the lives they had.
Two years down the line, our styles of travel are so different from theirs, but if it wasn’t for them leading the way, we may never have come to realisation that full-time travel wasn’t just a dream, but a reality — if you budget well enough.
NW: After that trip to Venice, you spent the next 12 months saving up to travel. Did you have any target amount you wanted to save or did you just try to save as much as possible?
Through the close to a year in which we saved towards our travel budget, we read more than a dozen posts by travel bloggers on how much they’d spent that year or since their own travels had begun many years before.
We weren’t in a position to save a great deal, but knowing how much they’d budgeted really helped us to cut things out. We’d heard that $16,000 a year per person was possible, that anything less than $20,000 per person was someone not pushing themselves enough.
There are a number of ways to travel, and for us budget travel is perfect. We see the world, and we don’t spend to excess. Do we miss out on anything because we spend for the both of us in one year what one person might spend on just themselves? No. Not in our eyes.
We left with about $30,000 after about 12 months of saving, plus some savings we had beforehand. It was tough at times to save, but we knew it’d be worth it once we’d hit the road.
We could have saved more, however, as Franca received a promotion not long beforehand with a pay increase attached, but rather than stick out our jobs to save a few hundred dollars more, we decided that enough was enough, and that it was time to live our dreams and see the world.
NW: You still haven’t run out of that initial $30,000 in the 2 years that you’ve been traveling. That’s really impressive. Did you originally plan on stretching the $30,000 over 2 years or did you just try to spend as little as possible?
We didn’t want to the type of traveller who walks two hours across town to buy a bottle of water that’s 50 cents less than the nearest shop, but we’ve made a point of not going overboard with our expenditure. We never intended to travel so cheaply, it was just a happy by-product of our more minimal lifestyle.
NW: Do you ever feel tired of sticking to a strict budget? Is there anything you splurge on?
Vegan food. We’ve recently started to splurge more on trying different vegan foods and vegan restaurants, but not to excess. In reality we’re just shifting the money we were already spending on food and adding a few extra dollars here and there, but it’s by no means a cheap splurge.
We try and restrict ourselves to a splurge a week, if not every every other week; but we don’t punish ourselves if we avert from that at all. It’s not set in stone.
There are moments when we think of blowing the budget a little and doing something to excess, but the truth is that they’re really quite rare due to how much importance we put on making sure that our money is wisely spent so that our travels continue for as long as possible.
NW: What happens when you run out of the $30,000? Do you have income sources that can help you continue traveling? What’s the plan?
The reality is, we’re on the last pennies of our travel budget and we’ve had to give some serious thought to our having to stop travelling and start a new adventure of sorts.
We’ve realised that returning to our old jobs is completely out of the question. We love travelling far too much to let our current travels end, so over the past few months we’ve started to look at how we can make our full-time travels an ongoing reality by turning our hobby of a blog into a business — the only trick is to do so without morphing it into something not even we would want to read.
We’d like our future to involve working with destinations to help them showcase that you don’t have to have a small fortune to enjoy their culture and witness their incredible views. Travel is for everyone, both the rich and the poor – and on top of that, if we can inspire at least one person to travel long term and on a budget, then that is one payment we’ll treasure forever.
About Dale and Franca
Dale and Franca have been travelling the world full time since 2012 and embrace a life of slow and vegan travel, and have just released their first free e-book How To Travel Long Term On A Budget.
In this interview, I deliberately leave out the small-but-all-important details on how Dale and Franca travel so cheaply because it’s all in their new free e-book. Basically, it’s all about saving aggressively, choosing cheaper destinations and minimizing their biggest expenses, ie. accommodation, transport, food and activities. Do check it out!