Can you afford to give in to wanderlust?

Whether it’s long service leave or a short sabbatical, it’s a dream held by many to do away with work responsibilities and explore the world. But is it financially viable?

Most people at one point in their working lives have stared off into the distance and daydreamed of their next big travel adventure. 

And fair enough. We’ve all got those friends and family members who seem to be perpetually globetrotting, intent on driving your envy levels to crazy new heights each and every time you check your social media. 

One week they’re kicking back at the opening of a chic beach bar in Bali, the next they’re tucking into some traditional pizza in a centuries-old establishment in Naples. 

But before you throw all caution to the wind and request extended leave – or quit completely – it’s wise to look at your financial commitments and make a calculated decision about what’s achievable. 

Travel costs to consider

Most people are aware of the obvious costs associated with travel. 

They’re your plane tickets, nightly accommodation, daily food and drink budget, transport costs, and excursion expenses such as tour guides, cooking classes and ski passes. 

But all too often people underestimate just how quickly the costs stack up – especially when you’re in a carefree holiday-mode. 

So it’s important to figure out how long you want to travel, and then create a conservative travel budget using a spreadsheet, or by giving yourself a daily spending allowance. 

For longer trips, it’s very easy to blow out your budget by buying a gift for a family member, having a few extra rooftop cocktails, or forking out for a slightly more plush hotel room. 

And that can quickly add up, which could cut your trip short. 

So make it easier for yourself by monitoring how much you’re withdrawing from your bank account each week and then tracking your progress in a spreadsheet. 

The importance of the right cover

Travel insurance is not your only insurance consideration. 

While it’s true that some travel insurance products pay out in the event of your death, you need to make sure the cover is adequate for your family’s needs should you not be there to provide for them. 

Other steps to make your dream trip a reality

Your home

If you have a mortgage, you may wish to rent out your home to cover repayments. If you do, remember to factor in real estate agent fees and rates. 

For owners and renters, temporary storage and removalists may also be an expense. 

Your health

If you’re travelling to developing countries, organise your immunisations and/or malaria medication well in advance, and have funds ready to stock up on any regular medications. 

Other expenses

Getting money out of an ATM overseas may be expensive (AU$5 a withdrawal is not uncommon), so research which debit and credit cards are best for long-term travel. 

Then there’s backpacks, suitcases, travel gadgets and technology – such as cameras and laptops ideal for travel – which could easily cost thousands of dollars. 

But hey, if you’re going on a once-in-a-lifetime around the world adventure, you’ll want to capture it with the very best technology to maximise your friends’ jealousy!