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We’ve spent a lot of time selling, packing, driving, flying, settling, and then starting it all over again. We aren’t experts by any means, but if repetition can teach some lessons, then I think we’re long-term students of the craft. To make all the years of trial-and-error worth it, I’m sharing with you our best tips on how to move, pack, and travel.

10 Reasons You Should Housesit

Tyler and I have enjoyed our year of traveling all over the world, and we’ve gotten lots of questions about how to do it. Housesitting has been perhaps the biggest way we’ve made this dream happen, so here are 10 reasons we think you should housesit too!

1. Free Accommodation

The rest of my list may not really be in order of importance, but I feel like this one deserves to be at the top. If you’re looking into long-term travel, housesitting is perfect precisely because it offers you a way out of a gigantic accommodation budget. You can see the proof yourself in our breakdown of expenses from our first five months of travel in Europe. Not all housesitting gigs are equal– some longterm jobs ask for you to cover utilities– but all the ones we took were free of cost on our end. Of course, it was also free of cost on the homeowner’s end, so we weren’t paid either. Fair exchange in our opinion though!

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How Much Does It Cost to Travel the World?

How Much Does It Cost to Travel the World? -- One couple answers how they spent four five months traveling Western Europe on less than $20 a day per person. Tons of infographics and explanations.

So… how much does it cost to travel the world? We’ve gotten this question plenty but haven’t given you hard facts and numbers yet. But finally, here they are! We’re overviewing our first five months of full-time travel in Western Europe.

I’m going to break it down for you in a couple ways.

1st  I’ll lay it out based on categories of spending. You’ll get to see how we set up our budget, and the total amount we’ve spent.

2nd I’ll break it down again by month, where you can see how much we’ve spent depending on where we’ve been and what we’re doing.

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How to Pack for A Year in Europe: Part 2

How We Packed for a Year in Europe: Our packing strategy for a whole year traveling in Europe and Africa.. photos and explanations!

This one’s for the girls… about twenty-five, in a little apartment, just trying to get by, living on dreams and spaghetti-o’s, wondering where your life is gonna go.. THIS ONE’S FOR THE GIRLS! Man, what a great karaoke song (; But seriously, this post is geared towards the ladies. And I do hope you ladies find this post on how to pack for a year in Europe to be helpful should you ever want to pack just a carry-on (!!) for a year of traveling. Check out detailed descriptions beneath the photo map.

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How We Packed for a Year in Europe

how we packed for a year-long trip to europe// helpful video with lots of travel tips

We have had lots of people asking how we packed for a year-long trip to Europe.  The short answer is: we each took one pack and one smaller bag, and we did lots of research on what to put in them.

The long answer… well, I could talk for about five minutes just on how we arranged our bags. Which I did. In this video.

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Budgeting for a Move

One thing that I love about budgeting is its predictability. Every month in Indiana, I knew what we would make and what we would spend. I could predict the fixed monthly costs (mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc.) and set aside the rest for more fluid costs (groceries, restaurants, entertainment, etc.) I find an odd comfort in that system and order.

Budget Screenshot

Now, imagine taking all that order and predictability and throwing it out the window… because we decided to move to Alaska. I’d planned for day trips, weeklong trips, and even month long trips. But I’d never planned to move my entire life and live somewhere new for an whole year. That took a new type of plan. Sometimes planning is synonymous with saving, and so that is what we did.

As soon as we decided to move, we decided to start saving…..big time. Anytime we were under budget at the end of a month, we would put every penny in our “Alaska Fund”. Anything we sold would go into our Alaska Fund. Found some loose change on the ground? Alaska Fund. I honestly didn’t know how much we needed to save, but I was leaning towards too much rather than not enough.

In the end, we saved nearly $3,500 in about 6 months. It took a lot of discipline, a lot of craigslist-ing, and a lot of garage sales. But I was so proud of the amount we were able to save in that amount of time. Again, I had no idea how much it would cost us to get up here, but I planned for the worst. So, did we save enough? See for yourself:

Pie Chart

Total Budget: $3,500.00

Total Expenses: $2,506.83

We spent nearly $1,000 less than we budgeted! That was a pleasant surprise when we calculated our final expenses. (We intend to use that $1,000 toward the security deposit on the apartment we just signed a lease for today.)

The only way we were able to do our move so “inexpensively” was because of our diligence in saving as well as the willingness to sell nearly everything we own. But, also, a huge assistance in travel savings came in the form of amazing friends and family who hosted us along the way for overnight stays. Shout outs to Pat and Lana Murphy, Ken and Cora Klay, Aaron and Lauren Cloud, Grandma Goldie and Aunt Mary, Michael and Bethany Berens, and Levi and Heidi Smith. You guys made this trip possible and we are eternally grateful. We intentionally rented a 2 bedroom apartment so that all of you can come up and visit. 🙂

We wanted to share this inside look into our finances to 1) let people know it takes hard work and preparation to travel like this, but 2) it is definitely doable and we want to encourage people to take the leap. Travel, in any form and for any length of time, can be done within your means and relatively inexpensively.

As I hinted, we have found an apartment, and we’ll be sharing more details on that as soon as we’re moved in!

^^^ Photo at top from the Signpost Forest in Watson Lake, Canada

Snacks for Long Roadtrips

This is our Good Eats: Roadtrip Edition. We did some meal planning even for our trip! It was a much looser schedule, but since we were on a budget we wanted to think through things in advance. Haste and spontaneity are the enemies of budgets. (Sorry all you free birds out there… but you can always budget spontaneous splurges into the budget!)

I started brainstorming (and pinterest researching) early on, but was disappointed to see that all the resources I found online were geared towards one-day-long — at the most– road trips with kids. Not helpful when I was planning for two weeks of driving without the guarantee of refrigeration. So I came up with my own list of possibilities:

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