Budget for our Gap Year?

George Osbourne with Budget Box

in happier times

I thought I would try and answer some of the top questions we are asked about our family gap year starting with our budget.

When I was younger the budget for travelling consisted of savings, credit cards and donations from family and friends. Savings paid for the bus to the airport, family and friends put you up when you got back and credit cards paid for the bit in the middle. You came home when the machine ate your card. Those were the days, even at 25% interest the experiences were a bargain and my Bank Manager believed me when I said they had taken ‘gullible’ out of the dictionary.

Being sensible grown-ups we started looking at our costs and the price of being a year older in the UK including:

  • Mortgage
  • Council Tax
  • Gas and Electric
  • Water Rates
  • House Insurances
  • Phone & Broadband
  • Mobiles
  • Cleaner
  • Cars
  • Food
  • Eating Out
  • Holidays
  • Clothes
  • School Costs
  • Kids Activities
  • Gardener
  • Kids Birthdays
  • Odds and Sods
  • Sky TV
  • Treats
  • Charity
  • Outings
  • Books and Music
  • Xmas

Luckily I was sitting down. We had guestimated how much we might spend on a gap year and it was looking cheaper to go away! Some of you might have guessed the minor hitch with this bit of maths, something has to fill a vacuum and in the UK we were a dual income family, back to the drawing board.

We do have savings and some income (even if my Digital Nomad ambitions don’t add up to much) but I think we would be going anyway even if we had to borrow the money.

What it will cost for a year away is a piece of string question. A bit like at home you live within your means and splash out when you can afford to or it is something on your bucket list. I’ve just been looking at the Iguassu Falls which we could be our next stop after Rio. £618 for a 1 hour helicopter flight over the falls or we could walk, cost £0.

Helicopter Iguassu Falls

or an apartment in Buenos Aires for 1 month?

We can eat street food rather than in restaurants and stay in hostels instead of hotels. Pass through expensive countries and stay in cheaper ones, volunteer not sightsee, fly less and come home if we feel like it. Who knows until we are on the ground?

I’ve avoided the question much like a politician but luckily unlike George I am not in a hamstrung coalition. Sorry we don’t have a budget only a dream!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nick Smith
    Jul 16, 2012 @ 12:06:34

    That’s a good way of looking at things! Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive if you plan properly and don’t mind missing out on a little luxury.


  2. Martin Clark
    Jul 16, 2012 @ 12:40:30

    After seeing how much we have spent in 6 days in Rio I think we might have to ‘budget’ a bit more! Rio turns out to be seriously expensive, almost European prices. We got a last minute apartment bargain in Leblon and taxis are pretty reasonable but it is the food which adds up. Unfortunately our kids (and me) like healthy oily fish i.e. Sushi which is not the cheapest!


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