$1,000 under our travel budget in October – WTF?

One thousand dollars under our travel budget in October – WOW!

Ok, if you want to get specific, $994.58 under our travel budget, but hey that’s close enough and we’re super happy with that.

Accommodation

The main reason for us saving so much money last month was, once again, because of house sitting. I can’t go on enough about how awesome house sitting is. And for half of October we stayed in a beautiful place in the mountains just outside of Denver, Colorado, looking after two gorgeous labradoodles.

Carmen with two labradoodles Double-Barrelled Travel

The gorgeous labradoodles we looked after just outside of Denver

Regardless, our accommodation costs were reasonably high for us – mainly because we spent nearly $150 staying in a luxury hotel adjacent to the Glenwood Hot Springs. Even though this was a half price media rate, it was still expensive for us. But the cost included a buffet breakfast and entrance to the hot springs, so we figured it was worth the cost. Stay tuned for that review!

Glenwood Hot Springs Double-Barrelled Travel

It cost us more than our travel budget to stay here in Glenwood Hot Springs – but it was worth it!

The rest of the accommodation money was spent mainly on camping before we reached our Denver house sit. At between $16-$20 a night, camping is by far the cheapest way to travel.

Swamp camping spot in Florida Double-Barrelled Travel

On our way to Florida we spent the night in a remote stretch of beach near a swamp – I was on the lookout for alligators!

Attractions

We had some amazing days out in October. As I mentioned, we went to Glenwood Hot Springs in Colorado and relaxed in the world’s largest spring. We visited Buffalo Bill’s grave and learnt about the history of this famous cowboy. We spent a few days out in Denver, visiting the art museum – which is possibly one of the best we’ve ever seen; did lots of hiking in beautiful forests and other stunning landscapes like the famous Red Rocks; went to the Molly Brown museum, the wealthy woman who survived the sinking of the Titanic; and strolled around the Air and Space Museum.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver Double-Barrelled Travel

Can you believe this cathedral is in Denver? Looks European!

All of these visits we got complimentary thanks to this blog. Granted, we have to write about our visits but when I think about how much money we’ve saved on our road trip around the US I can’t help but smile.

We even scored complimentary accommodation in Moab for two nights while we visited Arches National Park.

Carmen at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park Double-Barrelled Travel

Me standing under Delicate Arch. Arches was one of our favourite parts of our trip so far

But that doesn’t mean we don’t earn these ‘freebies’. I spend a lot of time corresponding with people to get complimentary tickets, and then there’s the time we spend after our visits writing about our experiences. Most people probably wouldn’t bother with the hassle.

Our ‘work’

A friend emailed us one day while we were in a café making the most of the free wi-fi. He wanted to Skype. I emailed him back and said we’d call him when we got home because we were currently working. He wrote back and said that he’d speak to us when we’re finished with our ‘work’.

Office in Denver mountains Double-Barrelled Travel

Ok, I admit, working in a place this beautiful (my desk in Denver) doesn’t make the blog seem like work…

Sometimes I’m a little bemused that our friends and family think we’re travelling and not doing anything else other than exploring the world and having a good time.

While I don’t deny this is what we’re doing – because we certainly are – we work really hard too. When we house sit we normally put in eight hour days at the computer. When we’re not house sitting we only work on the blog for about an hour a day, mainly doing social media and correspondence.

Does it pay?

So what’s the point of slogging it out if we don’t get any money from it? Well, we do! Ok, so it’s not much… not enough to live off in the US that’s for sure. But we currently make around US$600-US$800 a month. For the amount of work we put into the blog, it’s a rate that’s probably below minimum wage.

So why do it?

Because we love it! We love travelling and to be able to share our experiences with other people is amazing. In the world of the internet, nomadic living is becoming more and more popular and although it might not be for everyone, it’s certainly a lifestyle that suits us.

Being a princess at the Mardi Gras museum in New Orleans Double-Barrelled Travel

Who wouldn’t want to visit places like this as part of their job? This is me at the Mardi Gras Museum in New Orleans

Other projects

We’re also working on other projects. We have an e-book in the bag (more on that later!) and Dave’s got his novel. Plus, I’ve just started trying to document all our travel adventures for a book. Not sure where that is headed but I’m reading Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman at the moment and it’s a great source of inspiration.

She talks about all her adventures in various countries around the world and it got me thinking about whether I could do the same.

Rather than blog post content, the book will be more about how the cultures and experiences have affected me and the crazy stories we decided not to put on the blog.

So, all this work is keeping us busy.

And then… we recently got our first freelance work since starting the trip! We weren’t even really looking for it because we’re not running out of money just yet, but the opportunity came our way.

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Double-Barrelled Travel

It was while we were staying in San Francisco that we met Cynthia via Airbnb. She just gave us our first freelance assignment of the trip

We met a lovely woman when staying in her house via Airbnb and she’s given us some corporate writing work. It’s very similar to the kind of stuff I used to write in my old day job in London so I feel as though I can easily put on that hat and get the work done.

The future

With this new freelancing work and the money coming our way, it has made me really begin to think about the future. If we do start to make more money, is there really a reason to return home? Could we live a nomadic life permanently?

The more we travel the more I further understand ways to do it cheaply. One of the main methods is to travel slowly. But obviously, to travel slowly, you need to have the time. And if we can get more freelancing work, time will be on our side.

So many of our friends back in Perth, Western Australia, are buying homes. It makes them look very grown-up, especially to me, someone who spends most of her day gallivanting and embracing new cultures, people and environments without giving a though to paying any bills or having to be at a certain place at a certain time.

Parents house in Perth, Western Australia Double-Barrelled Travel

My parents place in Perth, Western Australia. Dad sent me this photo the other day and it made me a little homesick

We hardly have any responsibilities and this is a freeing feeling although sometimes I feel as though perhaps we should move into the ‘real world’ and do grown up things like buy a house and have a baby.

But I don’t feel like buying a house in a place where the house prices are, on average, more than half a million dollars. I don’t feel a desire to live in a city where the price of coffee is more than $5 and it’s more expensive than New York City or London. I miss my friends and my family. I miss the beach and the beauty of Perth. Yet I don’t feel like it’s a place I belong right now.

The longer we’re on the road the more I realise material objects don’t matter to me. This certainly hasn’t always been the case. When I was at university, I worked really hard at my part-time jobs so that each week I could afford to buy new clothes, handbags and shoes. My wardrobe was bursting and I loved it. Now I own probably 12 changes of clothes yet I have no desire to own more. I think spending $800 on a designer handbag is ludicrous when that money could allow you to travel in an Asian country for a month.

Corn maze at night near Denver Double-Barrelled Travel

This was the barn near where we went on a night time tour of a corn maze near Denver

But of course, this is my opinion and I’m sure many people would disagree with me. I’m sure thousands, if not millions, of people would rather get a shiny new car than travel around the world.

And it’s true that the modern world makes you think you’ll be happier if you have the latest consumer item and maybe for some people that’s true. But for me, I’m discovering that rather than material items, it’s the experiences we’re having that put a smile on my face. Sometimes we have so much material clutter around us that it can be difficult to see the experiences we’re missing.

‘Settling down’ just isn’t what we’re ready for at this point in our lives. And if our ‘work’ can continue to pay for our life on the road (which is significantly cheaper than a life in Perth) why not take that route?

This post has turned more into a personal reflection than one about the travel budget but anyway, here’s a list of our expenses for the month of October below if you’re interested.

What do you think?

Could you live a nomadic lifestyle?

Is owning a house important to you?

Our budget breakdown:

Gas $542.24
Parking $6.80
Tips $2.00
Accommodation $392.00
Eating out $393.15
Groceries $434.77
Alcohol $47.87
Attractions $54.00
Other $132.59
Total $2,005.42 
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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

3 comments on “$1,000 under our travel budget in October – WTF?”

  1. Rachel Reply

    I love this post Carmen. Even though I’m far from owning my own home (and have not traveled in a while), I think your lifestyle is admirable. F the real world. If you are making it work, not in debt and happy then go for it. Awesome. All of the shopping i’ve done over the years hasnt made me any happier, you’re right. And I’m about to live a much more modest lifestyle for the next four years while I study. It’s kind of a relief. I’m hoping my new job can eventually take me places 🙂

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Thanks for your comment Rach! Yeah, travel is making us very happy and I guess the more we do it the more we realise life is short and that you have to grab it by the balls, screw what anyone else thinks!
      I think it’s commendable you’re doing more study to follow your dreams. You’re going to make the best Doctor 🙂 And I’m sure it’ll take you to some amazing places.

  2. Pingback: Budget blues... overspending in Novmeber - Double Barrelled Travel

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