*warning long, probably boring but possibly useful in an obscure way, blog ahead*
From people's queries, I was compelled to write a little on the financial mechanics of long term touring (when not camping).
No, I'm not loaded.
No, I still haven't found a sugar daddy (vacancy still open).
I've just accepted a few sacrifices.
There are 3 main things that have made me been able to undertake this:
1) the disciplined question "do I really need this?".
2) you have to learn the art of appreciation & let go of the conceptions of 'perfect'.
- Do I really need to eat out at a restaurant each night, or can I get by with buying a bread roll, a couple of slices of ham & cheese from the deli?
- Do I need to eat / buy 3 meals a day when touring; or can I get by eating trail mix & protein bars during the day and only buy dinner at the end of the day?
- Do I need to stay at a 'nice' accom for $100/n or can I stay at a pub or hostel for $50 (just don't touch the tv remote or look at the carpet too closely!).
- Do I really need my own ensuit or can I get a room $30 cheaper for using shared facilities in caravan parks? as long as the basics are there, you can make do...
- Do I need to drink alcohol/smoke/drink coffee (or can I still have an expensive habit like out fuel in the bike??) lol
So appreciate and savour; when you do get an amazing warm bed, or a quiet location, or when the shared room or bathroom is empty. Appreciate people's efforts and time to be extending a hand.
- Looking perfect/good, is futile. You will get a bit stinky, a bit scruffier, a bit rougher & your clothes will never look spotless being crushed in a pannier between yesterday's smellies & tomorrow's fresh clothes. Girls - give up the make-up and hair products.
- Getting the perfect bed is almost impossible when your swapping accom every few days.
- Expecting perfect weather to ride in is def out of the question!
- Expecting that every public bathroom will have toilet paper is really deluding yourself and doing you a big injustice. Learn to BYO. Lol
Appreciate the rare home cooked meal. Appreciate (& take photos) of the one beautiful weather day.
Appreciate the public toilet that actually has toilet paper!
Appreciate that your bike keeps on keeping on.
3) Let go of pride....
Once you put all these together; you'll start saving on average between $30-$50 A DAY. Which over a couple of months it adds up.
- You can learn something from anyone. Locals know their stuff and can give you great pointers.
- Learn to ask for directions!! You will get lost a lot!
- Don't be too embarrassed to start raiding the shop-a-dockets for 2-4-1 deals, using fuel vouchers or cutting out vouchers from information center's pamphlets.
- See the free stuff. Do you need to go see a movie/show/amusement park/museum exhibit? See point #1.
- Be ok with topping up in accom places your shampoo / conditioner. Or taking a little extra hand soap in a travel bottle to use as clothes wash. Or paper hand towels to wipe grease fine and dirt off your bike.
- Be ok in asking chemists/dentists/myer/David jones counters for free samples of toothpaste, deodorant, perfume, floss etc
- Use the libraries or coffee shops for places to rest & take refuge, free wifi and possibly a warm drink to go with your muesli bar lunch.
- Use places like www.couchsurfing.org, hotshowers.com & Airbnb for free or close to no cost accom. It's like a lucky dip for sleeping places! Lol
There is also one other thing which saved me BIG $$$.
Instead of buying my dream bike fully kitted out for touring worth $28,000 (Where's my sugar daddy!?);
I found a humble lawnmower that still is fun, does the job, only uses $20 max on petrol a day, kitted out with mod con extras for $8-9,000. THATS where the savings really come in.
Thus then not EVER skimping out on:
a) safety riding gear,
b) extras on bike like crash bars,
c) comprehensive insurance / towing insurance,
d) private health/ambulance cover and
e) bike Tyres & servicing.
So savour every day, & help save your savings by appreciating that what you have already is more than what others may have.