How To Read the Budget:
The first two columns show our budgeted amounts for the month for a couple and for the applicable categories we included per day averages. The next two columns are what we actually spent. The final two columns are on a backpacker’s budget so you see both the reality and how you could do New Zealand for less, which can work for some people and not for others.
Couple’s Valcomspirt vs Backpacker Budget:
Valcomespirit is a word we made up combining the words value, comfort, and free spirit. After much contemplation of the type of travelers we are, we really couldn’t pick one as we are a little bit of everything. We seek valuable life experiences and if it makes sense we will live more like a backpacker, like traveling around New Zealand in a campervan. Other times we seek more comfortable accommodations, especially after living in a campervan for 17 days! We are always trying to get the most value of where we are with a balance of staying true to our free spirit of not planning every detail. Being open to take up whatever adventure strikes us at the time, without always having to restrict ourselves to a tight budget.
We discovered while researching our trip around the world that there were a bunch of these Travel blogs that focused on spending as little as possible. The consensus was you could live on $50/day, which sparked some questions in our minds. When you live on $50/day what activities are you doing, what conditions are you living in, and how many countries that you want to see are you actually seeing?
With the Couple’s Valcomspirit budget we are looking to have more freedom to go out and experience the fun things in life. We also will be trying to live in places where we at least have privacy as a couple most nights. With a Couple’s Valcomspirit budget we intend to spend about $32 pp a day more on average than what the typical backpacker budget would spend. This gives us more flexibility to do the things we enjoy and not count pennies as we travel.
Note: The first budget is for staying in Melbourne or a city in Australia for a month, while the second budget is for a road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane or any similar “on the road” trip in Australia.
In the City:
On the Road:
Staying in the City
Couple’s Valcomespirit Budget:
Australia is a super expensive place to travel for a couple’s budget. For our month in Melbourne we were only slightly over budget or 3%. We stayed really close to our budget by utilizing the kitchen, which saved some beaucoup bucks on food. We only went over because our friend Lisa visited us for about a week and we ended up renting a car for a few days and spending a little more money than originally planned. We also had a large phone bill of $105 USD because we thought that using Wifi AT&T calling we could also make local calls, but since our carrier is in the USA, we were paying the long distance/roaming rates! Lesson learned.
On the Road
Couple’s Valcomspirit Budget:
For our month on the road gas, parking in the cities, and lodging was more costly than expected in our couple’s budget. We stayed in mostly budget rooms or at an house, but they still averaged around ~$65 USD per night. We compensated for the extra gas, parking, and lodging expenses by trying to eat for less at grocery stores, food courts, take out, and less expensive restaurants. Also, while it probably looks like we drank a lot both months it averages to only 1 drink a day per person (average price per drink being around $7/$8 USD, even more for the yummy mixed drinks). Also, we had an unexpected cost when I shattered my iPhone screen of $125 USD, yes a lot of cuss words were involved. This is why it is so important to build a cushion into your couple’s budgets for life’s unexpected “oh shit” moments.
Couple’s Backpacker’s Budget:
Boy are couples on a backpacker’s budget going to have to squeeze their pennies if they are going to travel to Australia! For staying in the city or traveling around on the backpacker’s budget it is based on living in a bunk bed hostel for around $40 USD per night. 31 days in a hostel bunk bed for a couple, if that doesn’t kill the romance, I am not sure what will. Unless maybe you are more kinky than I am.
The food is based on $32 USD per couple per day. Eating out will have to be at a minimum and only at the bargain places. The hostel kitchen will definitely have to be utilized a ton!
Finally, the transportation for in the city is based on getting the Myki passes to get around the city, which is also what we used. For traveling through Austraila, this is based on Greyhound Australia hop on hop off bus pass between Melbourne and Brisbane of ~$180 USD per person for a 30 day pass, plus $140 USD to use public transportation to get around once you hop off the Grey hound.
The take away is that Australia is super expensive, so make sure you bring enough, and build in a cushion for unexpected expenses.