I know everyone is interested in how much this grand adventure costs. I’m not shy, I’ll tell you exactly how much it costs and hope that it helps others who might be planning a similar trip.
Here is a quick summary of what we are doing in case you haven’t been following along from the beginning. My husband — yes I call him that, it’s just easier that saying fiance (such a stupid word fiance) so don’t get all excited about it — My husband and I closed our businesses, sold our house in Victoria, British Columbia, bought a truck and a fifth wheel, packed up our dogs and embarked on a one year trip travelling around North America. My goal is to photograph as many beautiful places as I can, get a great portfolio and try to make a career switch into photography. We are not working at all for this first year and we are staying primarily in campsites and RV parks with the odd Walmart and truck stop thrown in.
We left Vancouver Island in June, headed across the continent fairly quickly making stops in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. We spent the summer in the maritime provinces in Canada, then when fall came we started following the changing colours south. Now it is December, we are in Florida and we hit our 6 month anniversary.
We are both still very happy with our new lives and we are managing to live in a very small space without killing each other. The dogs are no longer surprised when the backyard looks different every time they go outside.
Our budget for the entire year is $51,000 for ongoing expenses. When I did my 3 month review we had done 25% of the trip and spent 30% of the budget. We were doing pretty good having blown the budget only in truck maintenance because we had to get a new transmission put in. Here is how it is looking now.
Can you believe that we are within $7 of the fuel budget? Even though we are under budget in some areas and over budget in others, all in all we are under budget by $733.14! Plus we expect to spend less money on camping in the coming months since we are not moving as quickly and are able to get weekly rates at campsites.
The “miscellaneous” budget was blown due to veterinary bills after my dog ate some carpet.
So I’m feeling pretty good that we are not going to spend more money than planned and may even come in significantly under budget.
If you want to know the really big picture, there are 3 parts in the total budget: pre-trip expenses, ongoing expenses, and vehicle expenses.
The pre-trip expenses are things like buying a year’s worth of all necessary medication for us and the dogs, travel medical insurance, RV and truck insurance, paying for storage for the stuff we kept, winterizing my boat, and buying everything we needed for the RV like generators, batteries, an inverter, storage boxes, a new brake controller, an ipad, a ramp for the old dog etc.
Ongoing expenses are the monthly expenses while we are on the road which I detailed above.
Vehicle expenses is the cost of the truck and RV (assuming we are going to sell the truck and RV after the year is over) plus the money we spent on repairs and upgrades to the truck when we first bought it and subtracting money I got from selling my existing truck.
I also took into account interest I am receiving from investing money I received from the sale of the house since I wouldn’t have that money if we didn’t go on the trip.
Are you ready, here’s the big figure:
Incidentally, as we predicted house prices in Victoria have fallen dramatically. Not that we are big real estate forecasters or anything but it wasn’t too hard to see it coming. Some people thought prices would always go up in Victoria because “everyone” wants to live there, but it is not sustainable when the house price to average income ratio is so great. Don’t forget that the “everyone wants to live here” theory didn’t save California. And whatever happens in the USA eventually happens in Canada.
I’ve been following the prices of the houses in my old neighbourhood and the prices have fallen by about 17% since I sold in May. That works out to $76,000 less I would have if I sold the house today. Isn’t it interesting that that is more than the entire budget of the trip? It kind of makes me feel like the trip is free (aside from lost income of course).