2019 Expenses: A Rough Estimate

A question we often get when we tell people of our travels is “How can you afford it?” While traveling can be expensive, we expect to spend less money traveling this year than if we were living in Manhattan. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Thanks to family, we won’t be paying rent for the 2.5 months that we are in Long Island and Taiwan.
  2. Even expensive cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong and Paris are cheaper than Manhattan. Other countries like Thailand and Taiwan are significantly cheaper.
  3. We will utilize miles/points as much possible. For cities that have expensive housing, we will use hotel points. Most flights will be booked with miles. The only flights we will pay out of pocket for are those through low cost carriers.
  4. We won’t be able to buy much this year as we will be living out of suitcases. We also won’t have our regular monthly expenses (gas/parking, preschool, utilities, internet, gym, health insurance, etc).

We don’t typically follow a budget, but we thought it would be wise to attempt one for 2019. This will allow us to keep our expenses in check and also help us forecast for the following year of travel in 2020. We are sharing our thoughts and processes in the hopes that it can help others who are interested in planning long term travel.

Estimating our 2019 costs

Housing – $27,285 ($96/night excluding Taiwan/NY, $75/night for the year)
The biggest part of our 2019 budget will be housing. Short term housing and daily hotel rates are expensive and can quickly add up if you’re not planning carefully. We started by researching 2 bedroom apartments on Airbnb to get an idea of how much the nightly rate would be in a number of different cities. This gave us a better idea of where we could stay and how to plan out our itinerary. To be more cost conscious, we plan to stay in locations for 3-4 weeks at a time to get the best discounts. This also cuts down on the amount we would have to pay for transportation in and between cities. After looking at the nightly rates for Airbnb, we estimated the costs to be roughly $27,285 for the year. This is about $96/night, slightly cheaper than our 1 bedroom Manhattan apartment. As mentioned earlier, we will not be paying for housing for the 2.5 months that we are in Taiwan and Long Island. This brings down our nightly rate for the year to $75/night.

Everyday Expenses- $29,723
In Manhattan, we were spending around $3,000/month on everyday expenses. The majority of that cost was from food and activities. I used the website Numbeo (https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp) to get an estimate of what that amount would look like in different cities around the world. We expect the cost of activities to increase as we will be exploring new cities with the kids, but two of our larger monthly expenses from home (tuition & parking) would drop off so we are considering that a wash for now. It will be interesting to see how accurate this number is at the end of the year. The cost for everyday expenses will be $20,148 or $55/day.

Travel Costs – $5,000
We’ve already booked most of our travel for the year and so far the cost is $3,600, the majority of which is Casey’s lap infant ticket. Since our tickets were award tickets booked on points, we have to pay 10% of the monetary cost of that ticket, plus taxes, for Casey’s fare. There are still some flights, trains and taxis we will need to pay for so $5,000 should cover it. We plan on offsetting most of our future travel with miles from the Capital One Spark credit card.

Grand Total – $62,0008 or $70,000 with a buffer
Adding it all up, we get a yearly cost of $62,008. From reading online, most people say you should add a buffer for any unexpected expenses. Adding in that buffer brings our final number up to $70,000. $70,000 is on the upper end of what other traveling families plan for and we hope to keep the number between our estimated cost and our buffer cost.

We will be recapping our expenses at the end of each month as well as by country, so check back to see how we’re progressing with our budget . 
What do YOU think about our 2019 budget? Do you think $70,000/year for a family of 4 is a lot or a little? We know expenses vary a lot depending on where you live, but we would love to hear your thoughts regardless!