I am  pleased to have Lisa Shusterman, author of Around the World in Easy Ways on Acting Balanced as part of Traveling with Kids!

 By lisa Shusterman

In June 2008, my family and I left for a one year trip around the world.  When we announced to friends, family and colleagues what we were planning, we met with a myriad of reactions.  Some looked at us with envy, others with dismay and still others with shock, but all had one shared reaction, “When did they hit the lottery?”  Since we hadn’t, people then assumed that a long lost uncle or great aunt had died and left us with a small fortune.  The truth:  long-term travel is just not as expensive as you might think!  True, it’s not cheap, but with some advanced planning you can make your trip for a lot less than you imagined.

There’s no getting around the fact that you will need to do some saving.  But if your travels are a priority, saving should be easier to swallow.  Skip that weekly latte knowing that the cost of each one will pay for a meal for four in India.  Do your own nails and save the cost of the manicure which will pay for a rain forest adventure in Thailand.  Or pass up on the Saturday Night Out of dinner and a movie knowing that the savings will pay for a two bedroom apartment in Ecuador, for a week!

The flip side of saving for the trip is the amount you will spend while traveling.  Figure out your budget and then work backwards.  Plan around what you can afford versus planning for something that will be out of reach and therefore impossible for you to attain.  Here are some ways to keep costs down for long-term travel:

1.  Consider renting an apartment versus staying in a hotel.  If you’re traveling with a family, often an apartment will cost less than multiple rooms in a hotel.  You also have the added advantage of cooking your own meals which is a huge cost savings.

2.  Plan your itinerary around countries that are less expensive.  The cost of a meal for four in India is the same as the cost of one can of Coke in Venice.  Which country would prove to be more affordable on a budget?

3.  Stay in locations longer and reduce the number of overall locations visited thereby reducing transportation costs.

4.  Keep the number of airfares down to a minimum; use more ground transportation.

5.  Consider home exchanges, couch surfing, hostels or any other type of sleeping arrangement to bring your accommodation costs down.

6.  Avoid souvenir shopping – think more memories, less stuff.

7.  Avoid splurges.  The trip itself is a splurge, you don’t need any more.

8.  Take advantage of free entertainment, free museum days and any type of discounts you can find.

Before you start shaking your head that this is still a financial impossibility, take into consideration all the things that you will not be spending money on at home while you are gone.  These can really add up.  We met people traveling in Southeast Asia for years because they said it was just cheaper to keep traveling that it was to go home.