Funding My Travels: Saving For An Epic Adventure

I have been spending the past few months thinking a lot about what I want out of life, and where I would like to see myself in the next couple of years.  It's been three years and change since I returned from my almost five month trip around the world.  At the time, I was ready to come home, having almost run out of money and traveling too quickly.  I've managed to get three international trips in since my return, still feeding the fire within.  I've started spending an extreme amount of time in the outdoors with hiking and backpacking adventures galore.  You'll see some posts in the coming weeks about these adventures as I start to shift from not just travel but outdoor adventure on this site.  I will be combining two of my worlds and hopefully you'll come along for the ride.  To be honest, I think those of you who enjoy travel will enjoy some of the outdoor adventures I will be featuring.

As I have been reflecting on what I want out of life, I have decided to start saving for what I like to call "The Big Escape".  In October 2015, I am planning to set off on another worldwide adventure.  This trip will be different because I won't be funding it the same way I did my previous trip (insurance settlement money).  I'll have to save up my hard earned money and make it a priority.

Part of my planning with this trip is to share some of my finances.  One way to encourage and hold myself accountable to this goal is to share a monthly tally of where I am at for my goal.  Hopefully this will inspire others who think long-term travel is outside their grasp.

My basic goal is $12,000.  I will have to save $500/month.  Any extra I can squirrel away will go into this account too.  So, how am I doing this?  I'll try to explain.

First of all, I work in healthcare in Emergency Medicine.  I am not a doctor or a nurse.  I am an ED Technician.  I work 3, 12-hour shifts each week on the night shift.  I work nights because we get a nice shift differential.  I have recently picked up a second job which I am really looking forward to.  I hope it will bring in $200 extra each month.  The second job has not started yet, so I won't be able to know for sure until probably March 2014 what the actual earning potential is.  In addition to these two jobs, I also make money house/petsitting (yes, I know some people do this for free when they travel!), teaching CPR classes (AHA BLS Instructor), and less so, bidding for jobs on Task Rabbit and giving tours of Portland with Vayable (I'm also a city Ambassador for Portland!).

I get paid twice a month, every other Friday.  I have direct deposit, which works well for me.  I have set up three different bank accounts to manage my finances.  I know.  This is ridiculous.  However, it works for me, and helps keep me disciplined.  Bank account #1 gets 50% of each paycheck.  Bank account #1 is where I pay my rent, phone bill, and car/renters insurance.  My rent includes utilities so I have minimal bills to pay.  My student loan payment comes out of my paycheck (don't ask, I am working on this one).  This account has a checkbook, and no ATM card attached to it.  It is also where I have what I call my "Short Term Travel" savings.  I'll talk a little more about this in a bit.  Bank account #2 gets 25% of each paycheck.  Bank account #2 is what I use for groceries, gas, and basic living expenses.  This account has an ATM/debit card and no checkbook attached to it.  Bank account #3 gets the remaining 25% of each paycheck.  Bank account #3 is for what I call my "Long Term Travel" savings.  There is no ATM card or checkbook attached to this account.

Okay, so now I need to explain my "Short Term Travel" savings and my "Long Term Travel" savings.  Short Term Travel savings is where I will put left over money each month to finance shorter trips.  This is where I am putting money for an upcoming trip to Chicago, as well as a bigger trip to Nepal for October 2014.  Long Term Travel Savings is where I am putting a minimum of $500/month to fund my "Big Escape" in October 2015.  This money will NOT be touched until I am close to leaving.

I technically started this saving plan in mid-November, but I am going to start with December to share the details of my Short Term Travel fund and my Long Term Travel fund.  Each month, I'll list a new balance and you can follow along.

December 2013

Short Term Travel: $1116.61

Long Term Travel: $910.91


What questions do you have?  What kind of information are you looking for to help you save money for travels?