Dancing With the Devil in the Details of a Career Break Budget

Written By: jeff

Posted On: January 19th, 2012

travel budgeting, budgeting for a career break

Figuring out if you have enough isn't an act of faith.

Let’s get right to it! One of the top questions people ask me is how can you afford to take a break to travel? There’s no magic, but there is budgeting.

The first step is to take a look to see if you have the funds available for a break. As I’ve written before, long-term travel budget planning and estimating are easier than you might think. And, for a deep dive into the topic of saving for your dream trip, be sure to check out Dream.Save.Do. By Warren and Betsy Talbot, which I will be reviewing soon.

Once you’ve determined if you have the money travel, it’s time to start creating your functional travel budget for your career break. And, don’t forget, this is one of the 5 most important things you need to do before you quit.

So, let’s take the mystery out of budgeting for your career break. There are 3 parts to a career break budget that I’ll tackle in 3 follow-up posts of this series so I can go into detail into each. Here’s the overview so you know what to expect!

How to Budget Your Money To Travel in 3 Parts

Part 1: Pre-Takeoff Budget

The pre-takeoff budget covers all of the things you need to buy to prepare for your trip. The timing of this budget starts from now until you get on the plane to leave.

There are 2 parts to this budget. The first contains travel stuff: tickets, gear, insurance are the most popular items in this category. If you’re still working when you start buying these items, they will be easier to pay for since you still have a salary coming in.

The other part of the budget includes home expenses you will have after you leave your job and before you get on the plane. Don’t forget to save money for these costs like utilities, internet, groceries, etc. That money has to come from somewhere and it’s better to have planned and saved for it.

Part 2: Travel Budget

This is the pot of money you need when you’re actually on the road: accommodation, food, tours, in-country transit, additional plane tickets, etc. When you hear people write about traveling for $30 or $50 a day, this is the part of the travel budget they are talking about.

This part is a little harder to budget in detail since you likely won’t know what you’ll encounter on the road. This is where your scenario planning comes in handy. Be conservative and budget as high as possible. Then, watch your budget like a hawk so you can come in under budget.

Part 3: Re-Entry Budget

How much money will you need once you return before you have an income again? Start thinking about it now. If you have a job waiting for you, you likely won’t need to budget too much. But, if you’re going to be looking for a new job, then make your best guess as to how many weeks or months are needed. And, if you’re thinking about a career change after your break, plan for even more time. There is no doubt that this can be the most difficult part of the budget estimating process since there are a lot of factors that will determine how much you need.

I hope this series helps you get you on your way. Budgeting is critical and anxiety-inducing. But, that’s only because it seems so daunting. Let me help you go through the process. And, be sure to leave your questions in the comments or email me with your questions if you desire a bit more anonymity.

Watch your feeds for parts 2-4 of the series!

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