“How much money is enough to start an overland trip?”
It is a question that we get asked very often and one of the most difficult to answer. Your budget is something personal and subject to the kind of travel you choose to do. Here we will try to give you some general rules that we follow.
First of all, divide your budget into the Pre-departure and the On the Road sections.
The Pre-departure section includes:
– Cost of your vehicle: Unless, like us, you use the one you already own. – Setup and maintenance items: all the necessary modifications to make it suitable for overlanding (upgrades, equipment or interior modifications) and items that you need for maintenance (tool kits, jacks, recovery gear, etc.)– Your travel gear: items of common use (kitchen equipment, communication and filming gear, etc.) – Health and vehicle paperwork: vaccinations, the deposit for the carnets, your travel insurance.
Most of the above are considered assets as they are one-off, while others, like the insurance, are ongoing. Some people include the shipping costs or their flight tickets in the pre-departure expenses but we have put those in the On the Road section as they are not an asset.
The On the Road section includes:
– Food: In our case we include both eating out and our groceries shopping (some consider these two different categories). – Accommodation: Although you will have a setup for sleeping in your vehicle, free camping is not always possible or camping in some cities.
– Fuel: You can find online an approximate fuel price for each country. Calculate the kilometers and have an estimated total.
– Vehicle maintenance and repairs: This includes only the regular service of the car.
– Border crossings: visa expenses, temporary import vehicle permits, taxes, duties, charges and fees, etc.
– Transportation expenses: local car insurance, ferries, tolls, bridge crossing fees.
– Flights: In case you ship your vehicle and need to fly over.
– Treats & Tricks: activities, tours, souvenirs. In this category we have also put the wine (ha, ha!) – Shipping expenses: We prefer to add this category here as it is not an asset.
– Phones & communications: local sim card, data package, satellite tracking.
– Bank charges and commissions: In reality we forgot to add those and when we calculated them, it was a serious amount.
Beside all the above, do not forget that TIME is the most important asset you have while traveling because it is impossible to be reproduced. We never initially wondered if we had enough money but if we had the time to enjoy what we wanted to do with our money. Yes, it is stressful and annoying to have a limited amount to spend every day but after a while you adapt, as long as you enjoy your time.
To sum it up, there is no such thing as “if you cannot afford it, better stay at home”. Not having enough money does not mean that you cannot travel. You just need to adjust your travel needs to your money. Can you see the difference? There is no precise answer to the question “How much money is enough to start overland travel?” You learn as you go.