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My (2 month Around the World) Holiday Budget.

This was my budget for a 2-month holiday. I would say it was a mid-range holiday as I spent some time in hostels where I spent next to nothing and the rest of my time in 4-5star hotels spending whatever I felt like.

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http://www.mapsofworld.com

I went over my budget, however, not by too much. When I found something extra I hadn’t planned for I used my backup money to do it, no regrets. It is my recommendation to always take more money than you budgeted, as a backup if needed (like I did! 🙂 ). I also highly advise you to always carry enough cash, then if in the event you have trouble with your ATM card, travel card or credit card, you won’t be stuck in a foreign country with no money.

My budget by country including the current exchange rates while I was travelling in December 2012/ January-February 2013 is below.

Argentina – 5 days: $70 per day           = $350AUD

Exchange rate: 1AUD= 4.89244ARS

Brazil – 15 days: $70 per day                           = $1050AUD

Exchange rate: 1AUD = 2.09507BRL

Peru – 9 days: $45 per day                    = $405AUD

Exchange rate: 1AUD = 2.66682PEN

Germany – 4 days: $85 per day                      = $340AUD

Exchange rate: 1AUD = 0.793484EUR

Poland – 8 days: $40 per day                 = $320AUD

Exchange rate: 1AUD = 3.25799PLN

Cuba – 4 days: $100 per day                          = $400AUD

Exchange rate: 1AUD = 1.0332CUC

Mexico – 8 days: $50 per day                 = $400AUD

Exchange rate: 1AUD = 13.334MXN

New York – 5 days: $100 per day           = $500AUD

Exchange rate 1AUD = 1.03USD

Total = $3765AUD

I took an extra $900AUD cash with me in my wallet (my backup money). For each currency I used, I carried 2 days worth in cash. All money I converted a few weeks before leaving Australia, as some currencies had to be ordered from the capital (I come from a small town).

There were a couple of currencies I could not get in Australia including Cuban Pesos (CUC) and Polish Zloty (PLN). In these cases I took my 2 days worth of cash in AUD so I could exchange the money in those countries upon arrival. The remaining money for my trip I loaded onto a multi-currency travel card. I chose the ANZ travel card, with up to 10 currencies available to load it was perfect for my trip.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!

Happy travelling, #no regrets

Xoxo

Siobhan.

Travelling: expect the unexpected

That's me standing on a rock jutting out over a cliff, hundreds of metres in the air on the inca trail in Peru.

That’s me standing on a rock jutting out over a cliff, hundreds of metres in the air on the Inca Trail in Peru.

Let me just say now that the title says everything you need to know about travelling. This goes for everything, not just unexpected amazing adventures, but unexpected fast new friendships, random acts of kindness from strangers, free gifts and of course something we often forget… unexpected expenses!!

While it is highly important to sit down and plan your holiday, to list all of the costs involved like flights, accommodation, insurance, food and activities, something that’s so important and should be at the TOP of your list is… “unexpected events”.

The last thing we all want to think when heading on a new adventure is the possibility of a tragedy while on holiday, but they are more common than you think… for example there was one holiday I took when I was younger that saw someone in my family unexpectedly pass away less than a couple weeks after I left for a 4 month trip.

So remember to start your holiday savings with an extra account or stash of cash as your ‘fallback’ and first savings goal. I recommend having enough money for an emergency last minute flight to your home country and then doubling it. If you’re travelling somewhere and suddenly find an extra activity you did not know about or a last minute event that’s happening while you are there and want to go but haven’t budget for an ‘extras’ fund you might miss out.

Who wants to spend the rest of their trip regretting what they didn’t do. Not me, that’s for sure!!

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. – Sydney J. Harris

Until next time

xoxo Siobhan.

My top 7 tips to saving for an overseas/ around the world holiday (on a budget of sorts).

This is my version of how to start saving every last penny to take that round the world trip you’ve been wanting much sooner while still living a fairly normal life wherein you are not eating noodles every night for dinner and stuck in your house each week while your friends go out without you!

First of all I would like to make clear that my way will not work for everyone as you may not all be living the same circumstance I was in but I hope you will still take at least a few of my tips on board. Secondly I would like you to understand that in doing what I did I saved more than 60% of my monthly salary. This might help to give you some perspective of just how much you might be able to put toward your holiday.

My first tip: If you’re young and single and fortunate enough to have parents with a spare room/ apartment/ granny flat – move back in with them! I was lucky enough to have parents with a two storey house – basically two houses stacked on top of each other – with the only shared room being the laundry. The top storey had three bedrooms with 2 occupied by my younger brother and one very large master bedroom empty for me to rent at a steal! Not to mention my extremely cheap rent included everything (rates, electricity and wifi).

Second: All offers for dinner at your parents house should be graciously accepted and never ever leave without leftovers! The same goes for any other friends and family (though maybe leftovers from your friends is a stretch: I’m lucky enough to have amazing friends who never let me leave their houses empty handed). Also where you can, take as many food supplies from your parents house that you can while there; or if you’ve moved back in with them sneakily take something each day or every other day like I did! A box of pasta here, can of tomatoes there, they’ll never notice! 😉

Third: Plant as many of your own herbs and easy growing vegetables as you can… essentials like tomatoes grow in no time whatsoever and require little maintenance. The same goes for herbs. You don’t even have to buy herbs from the garden stores – go to your local farmers market and grab a small potted starter herb from them.

Fourth: Of course while you are at the farmers market scout out the stalls with the best produce at the best price, it’s important not to just go for the cheapest of everything as sometimes it ain’t worth eating!! Eating only organic produce myself I purchased all of my organic meats, eggs, fruits and vegetables from the local markets once a week at an extremely reasonable low price. My friend and I would walk around the entire markets and I’d note down costs as we went of the products which looked and felt the best, than after seeing every stall we would go back through and buy our produce.

Fifth:  Stop buying clothes, shoes, jewellery and anything else that is not necessary to staying alive. Just STOP! Even you shopaholics, if I can do it you can!!! I went from spending most of my paycheque on material items to saving every last cent of that money for my holiday! Of course the occasional slip is bound to happen but the best way to avoid this is just to steer clear from any shopping centers’, malls, strips, streets etc, etc. If you’re absolutely desperately in need of buying something new for a dress up party or an event you cannot possibly miss than head to an op shop after exhausting all of your friends wardrobe choices. Even better put unwanted clothes on a buy, swap and sell site to either trade your clothes for something you need or sell them for the money you require.

Sixth: Sell anything you no longer use… as the old adage goes; if you haven’t used it in the last year you probably will never use it.

I don’t know if this list might seem exhausting and a lot for you to take it but I will leave you with one last important tip.

Cut out all ‘extra’ expenses:

  1. Instead of going out to dinner with friends invite your friends to have dinner at your house, then the next time have dinner at theirs.
  2. Instead of going to the cinema to see a film wait for dollar day at your local video store and chip in with friends or family to grab a movie, you might even splurge and grab two or three if you’re sharing the cost!!
  3. Buy a travel mug and take your coffee with you to work rather than stopping on the way for that $5 latte.
  4. If your workplace has any type of food or drink available freely take full advantage and eat there plus take home everything you possibly can.
  5. Skip expensive exercise classes or the gym and use the great outdoors – filling a couple of water bottles with sand makes an excellent set of weights 😉

Of course you may choose to just take one or two of these tips to help you out but if you’re on an average salary like I was and want to do everything in your power to take an amazing adventure around the world before your next birthday than it’s important to implement as many cost-cutting strategies as you can.

Finally I will leave you with this, nothing happens overnight, the best thing you can do is save in one area at a time. If you go cold turkey you are more likely to slip up and spend an entire paycheque in one hit. Just take one idea on board this week, another next week, a third the week after and before you know it you will have saved more than you ever thought you could.

Please feel free to comment below or email with your own tips and advice or any queries you might have about my budget strategy.

Until next time.

Xoxo

Siobhan.

28-32 Weeks: Could the third trimester be my trimester?

magicalpregnancyexposed

Hi Everyone,

I have been off the radar for a while for a number of different reasons including laziness, having my hubby home from work and also having visitors. Fear not though, as I will make sure I fill you in on every detail of my life that you have missed over the past weeks. So, I don’t want to speak too soon but I am four nearly five weeks into the third and final trimester and so far it has been a lot more enjoyable then the rest of my pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong I still have all the typical joys that come with the final trimester: lack of sleep, no energy, swollen feet, and a bladder the size of a pea etc. etc. But these symptoms are much more pleasant then the symptoms I experienced in my first and second trimesters (touch wood). The first trimester I…

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Quote <3

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

 – Mark Twain

Inside my backpack

P1070138

For my 2-month expedition through Europe and North America during winter and then into South America where it was summer I researched blogs and travel sites for endless hours looking at every single detail on packing light. I spent many hours shopping online and in stores looking for essential travel items in the most lightweight form possible. My hours and hours of hard work paid off as I set off with a backpack lighter than standard carry-on luggage limits (weighing in at just 6.3kg – minus my laptop and ipad which I carried in my hand) and I sincerely hope this list will save you as much time and effort that I spent, so you may have more time to focus on other aspects of your amazing getaway!

Packing essentials

Deuter Backpack 34 Litres

4 packing cells variety shapes and sizes

2 Korjo medium size compression bags

Bluebird handbag

Frontier money belt

Passport

Clear folder with travel documents

Cash in each currency I will need

ANZ travel card

Credit Card

Drivers Licence

Kathmandu Silk Sleeping Bag Liner (tiny, lightweight and excellent for hostels if you’re not sure about the cleanliness of the bedding)

Clothing

1 pair leather gloves

1 beanie

1 scarf

2 Altica thermal long sleeve tops

2 pairs Altica thermal tights

1 swimsuit

1 maxi dress for casual and dress wear

1 pair loose flowing cotton long pants

1 black cardigan (recommended for any journey on an airplane – I always freeze!)

4 shirts

2 pairs of tights

2 bras

2 pairs of socks – one pair merino wool and one pair thin cotton

5 pairs underwear

1 pair Leather boots (waterproofed before departure)

1 pair North Face Hypershock Shoes

1 pair cheap thongs

CAPE pack-it rain jacket (this weighs next to nothing, is contained by its own pocket which turns inside out to become the case, and was fabulous even for that extra layer of warmth in Eastern Europe where it was -15 degrees and snowing, it kept the melting snow off me and also felt like a layer of insulation)

Kathmandu DVT socks (highly recommended when you are flying long distances around the world and I flew every 4-8 days)

Medication/Cosmetics/Other

Small purse with assorted jewellery

Small purse with all makeup (no liquids!)

Small box of the smallest size Ziplock bags (I threw the box and put all the bags inside one)

Cotton buds (small handful in a ziplock bag)

Tissues (3 small purse size packets)

Band-Aids (small handful in a ziplock bag)

Ecolite Laundry leaves (highly recommended space saver!)

Small pill case with nurofen and phenergan (I get hay fever sporadically)

Aqua tabs – water purification (essential for budget travellers to save those extra dollars when travelling through South America to avoid purchasing water everyday)

Bar of soap (cutting down all unnecessary liquids!)

Lush shampoo bar in shower case (cutting down all unnecessary liquids)

Toothpaste (small size under 100g)

Toothbrush in shower case

Tooth floss

Ecolite face and hand wash leaves (excellent space saver, helps to avoid liquids and lovely products to use!)

Hackey Sack (just for some fun if I got bored)

Travel Earplugs in their own small case

 

Liquids, Aerosols and Gels

Lucas pawpaw ointment 25g

Mouthwash 80ml

Somersets shaving oil for women 15ml

Conditioner 100ml (I couldn’t find any conditioner in a bar like the shampoo from lush)

Deodorant Spray 50ml (This didn’t last long at all so I switched to a roll on as soon as it ran out)

Argan oil 7.4ml (tiniest bottle but used sparingly lasts months)

Electronics

Universal Travel Power Adaptor

iPhone

MacBook Pro 13inch

Neoprene case for MacBook

iPad 2

Canon Powershot Camera and case

My Passport ITB portable hard drive

Lexar 8gb USB stick

4 SD cards for my camera

Travel size mouse for MacBook

Charger for camera, MacBook  and iPhone

And that’s it! My entire packing list.

I highly recommend using packing cells and compression bags as they keep your bag organized and make it so much easier to find things as well as save a lot of time when you’re constantly moving hotels (packing is a breeze!).

The reason I was so successful in keeping my luggage light was because I did not take non-essential items. When I arrived in Germany; (it was -4 degrees) my first stop, I went straight to the restrooms in the airport and changed into a pair of thermals (top and bottom), my merino wool socks, boots, scarf, beanie and gloves then put my thin tights back on and wore my cardigan and also my rain jacket which provided shelter from the wind. Surprisingly I was quite warm!

My first mission after finding my hotel and dropping off my very small bag was to hunt down charity stores to buy a secondhand winter jacket, a pair of snow pants and an extra pair of wool gloves. As I was spending 17 days in cold countries over Christmas and New Year, these items were essential for keeping warm, however by purchasing them when I arrived I saved myself so much trouble by not checking in a bag and potentially losing my luggage. When I flew out of New York  (my final winter destination) and into Cuba I donated my new (secondhand) winter gear back to charity. All together I spent approximately $40 on the extra clothing, but I saved a lot more that that by purchasing all my airfares without paying any check-in luggage fees (10 flights in total).

I spent the remainder of my holiday in South America (where the lowest temperature was 12 degrees) so I no longer needed winter clothing. Doing what I did meant that I wasn’t stuck carrying unnecessary clothing through the remaining 5 countries. Another major bonus was the ease of jumping on and off buses in South America, where the only place to store luggage was on the roof (and there aren’t any straps to tie bags down!), my small backpack fit easily under my feet so I knew where it was at all times.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask and if I can I will help any way possible.

Happy travelling!

Xoxo – Siobhan