How did you get enough money to travel for 3 months?
I actually just had some money saved and that was basically the money I planned on spending. This was a spontaneous trip. I decide I wanted to go to Australia and booked a ticket three days later. I had a little over a month before I left so I just tried to spend as little money as possible. It wasn’t something I wanted to do for a long time (although Australia was on my list of places to go) and saved up for.
How did you budget?
They say a Backpackers budget is $50 a day (including food, accommodation and split between any other things you pay for) so I divided the amount of money I thought I was going to be going with by how many days I would be there and it came out to like $23 a day. I started freaking out then haha but I ended up leaving the states with a little over $5,000 USD compared to $2,000 I originally thought I would have. (And thank god I had that much because I am going home brokeeee) I think the main thing to keep in mind is how much you actually spend while you are here. You can plan to spend only so much but make sure you stick with that. I made the mistake of eating out a lot. That’s where most of my money went the first month I was in Sydney. Australia gets pretty expensive especially in the city. It’s easy to find work for accommodation. If you think you’re not going to have enough money look into it. It saves you one of the biggest expenses— accommodation. I have no been to Asia yet but if you are heading that way $50 USD a day should be enough from what I’ve heard. It’s a lot cheaper than Australia. Same goes for Central and South America, while Europe can be a little expensive.
How did you plan what you wanted to do?
I think I’m going to title this post “Just Say F*** It And Go” because that’s what I did. I didn’t save up, I didn’t really budget and I did not plan anything haha The only planning I did for my trip was to look up hostels to see which had work for accommodation and emailed them. The most promising one was my first stop when I got off the plane and that’s where I found work. I didn’t know what tours or anything like that there was to do. I had heard that Sydney had a huge fireworks show for New Years Eve so I figured I would work at the hostel until then. I found out from people I met the best things to do, where to go and all of that. I think that was the best way to do it. I did a lot of touristy stuff but they were tours aimed at Backpackers rather than children and families. And of course I discovered some hidden gems through word of mouth as well. Anyways, it’s best not to have a plan. Have ideas, but don’t make a plan. Plans change all the time and it’s best not to feel stuck. There were days where I didn’t know where I would be spending my next night or how I would be getting somewhere, etc. Just go with the flow!
I would love to do what you’re doing but I’m scared. How do I get over that?
All I can really say is to push through it. I remember being in the airport texting my best friend saying “I can’t do this. Why did I think I could do this? Three months is so long.” But I got on the plane, pushed through the first two days (where I was still texting her asking why I thought I could do this), pushed through the random waves of homesickness/loneliness that I got throughout trip and because I pushed through and kept reminding myself I can do this and I am doing this, I had an amazing experience. It’s normal to be scared. You’re going to a new place, (maybe) on your own…you don’t know what to expect. It’s kind of like the first day at a new school. It’s a lot of new faces, who are you going to sit with at lunch, etc. But everyone is in the same position so it makes it easier. BUT I do want to add..it is not for everyone AND THATS OK. So if you push through the beginning and still decide it’s not right for you that’s fine.
I feel like I would get really homesick while traveling. Has that happened to you? How do you deal with it?
For me it wasn’t so much that I was homesick. I like exploring new places and I guess that made me not miss home too much but I did get lonely. This is one of the main things I would say to be prepared for. The feeling of being alone can really pull you down. When you get to a new place and don’t know a single person and aren’t in the socializing mood (it happened a lot when you have a long 16 hour bus ride and you just want a shower and bed), it gets lonely. For me, part of my reasoning for going on this trip was to be ok with being alone so at these times I would remind myself that’s what I need. I needed that time to myself. The best way to deal with it is to have something to do. I spent my alone time writing poetry, doing yoga, looking into and listening to new music, watching sunsets, sunrises and the stars, etc. Its inevitable, I think, to not feel lonely at some point. So keep yourself busy, make sure you have loved ones you can talk to and you’ll get through it.
Why did you choose Australia?
I have always wanted to go to Australia but it was never at the top of my list and for some reason it just popped into my head when I decided I wanted to go somewhere. It was a good place to go for a long solo backpacking trip because they speak English and it is one of the safest places for women to travel. There are a lot of people in the same position here as well so it’s easy to find your way around and figure everything out. Another deciding factor was that the time I would be traveling was their summer. If you’re looking for reasons to go to Oz though, there are many more than that. It is a beautiful country with mountains and beaches, dessert and rainforest, waterfalls, lakes, islands…so much to explore. Simply beautiful.