Around the World Travel – When is the Best Time to Start it?

Valuable money saving trick I have learned after my trip to Iceland made it clear for me that the best time to switch from corporate lifestyle to early retirement was at the break of two months. The way it works in Canada is that when you were moving to your current place of residence, you would have left the damage deposit with your landlord. Damage deposit is typically one month worth of rent. This damage deposit is then refunded back to you upon final inspection provided the apartment is in the same state as when it was given to you. Based on further arrangements, you are typically required to give your landlord one month notice in order to ensure your damage deposit makes it back to your pocket.

It was the middle of July of 2009. The premise of early retirement and the dedication to live life instead of spending it were clear to me and I knew it was only a question of short time before I would quit work to travel around the world. I only had a few things to take care of beforehand to ensure that I don’t jump into anything totally unprepared so I don’t have to face potential bitter consequences right away. Choosing the best time to start my around the world travel was one of the crucial decisions I was to come up with.

I didn’t want it to be too late as I could not stand watching more days of my life pass me by, but I couldn’t take off tomorrow either as that would only be possible at significantly increased cost. The decision was not all that difficult, even though it was an important one.

First of all, I needed to time it so I take off at the end of a month. The obvious advantage was that I would only spend as much money on rent as necessary. If I were to take off at the middle of a month, I’d have to try to make special arrangements with my landlord which would be excessively difficult, would waste a lot of my time and may not result in arrangements I’d be happy with. In order to maximize savings and avoid needlessly increased costs, timing my departure for the end of the month was essential.

I could not wait to take off so I looked at the first available end of month which was the end of July. That would send me on my way in two weeks which would be perfect. I could not do any more of that corporate lifestyle and also could not wait to get back on the road so being only two weeks away would keep the momentum going and I’d be a happy camper. However, this bore countless issues.

If I were to take off at the end of July, beginning of August, I wouldn’t have given my landlord enough notice which would result in loss of damage deposit. That’s $850 down the drain if worst case scenario comes to be, less if they have mercy on me and only swallow part of it. I would definitely lose a good chunk which seemed like a stupid waste.

July is also in the middle of summer which according to Canadian travel agents is the busiest time of year as far as vacations are involved so prices are hiked up. By giving myself only two weeks, I would have little time to leverage for better deal on plane tickets I am otherwise so good at scoring.

End of July would also give me little time to boost income from my websites I needed in order to secure myself with positive cash flow before I embark on a worldwide journey. So all in all, even though the premise of taking off this early was tempting, there were many hints suggesting that I’d be throwing myself head first down the abyss.

Naturally, I took a closer look at next available end of the month – August/September. And not surprisingly, this date seemed by all accounts to be the best. End of August fell on a weekend, which meant I would be able to take off during natural time off work which would make things less tense. I’d have enough time to conveniently give notice to my landlord, my electricity provider (Epcor), my internet provider (Rogers), my mobile phone services provider (Koodo) and they all would get them well in advance which would be no room to rip me off. The more leverage in my hands, the more money I can save.

End of August also gave me 6 weeks to look for the best plane ticket to take me away from Canada and into some third world country where cost of living is significantly lower so I could sustain my stay easily even with only $300 positive net cash flow. 6 weeks would also give me an extended amount of time to focus intensely on my website in order to boost the income to as high a level as possible so not only I have enough positive cash flow, but also end up with some extra pocket money just in case.

End of August it was. I found the best time to leave my corporate lifestyle and embark on around the world travel while having everything at home taken care of. With specifically defined goal as to the departure clearly set, I was able to start working on all necessary planning. Having your goals clearly defined is essential for how are you supposed to achieve something if it is not entirely and undisputedly clear in your mind what exactly it is that you want. Have your goals clearly defined, know what you want, say it aloud, write it on a piece of paper so you have a daily reminder and focus on it with all your conscience and subconscience. Whatever your dream, know it’s achievable. Believe in it because no matter how distant it may seem, you can have it sooner than you think. Your mind is your most powerful tool and the fastest way to the results. Make it work for you, not against.

Longer Vacation is Cheaper – Explained

When I took a trip to Iceland, I was able to balance the total cost of it to a point that even though it’s one of the most expensive countries in the world, I only spent a little over $1,500 for 10 days, which included return plane tickets from Edmonton to Reykjavik and back, car rental for the duration of my stay, entrance fees to attractions which count as some of the most expensive in the world, food, drink, gasoline, lodging and all other associated costs. Yet despite my ability to get the most out of the trip for an unbeatable price, compared to my previous trips to Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the trip ended up being almost twice as expensive. Sure, the distance was significantly longer and country is significantly more expensive. However, after I have returned, I realized that an entire trip would have cost me way less, had I spent 1 month in the country, instead of original 10 days. Yes, what I’m saying is that longer vacation is cheaper. How is that possible? Let me explain.

Looks at it this way – if you take your normal vacation by using the vacation time allocated to you by your employer, you will leave for your destination while keeping arrangements with your current residence in your home country. That means that if you are renting a house, you will have to pay your monthly rent regardless of whether you are at home or gone on vacation. If you are a home owner, your property taxes will apply regardless of whether you are in the house or not. And if you live in Canada, the ridiculously high delivery and administration charges added to your power bill will be applied regardless of whether you have used any electricity, or not. I don’t know what it’s like in other countries, but in Canada the amount of money you are charged for electricity used is often less than delivery and administration charges. In my particular case, the power bill for the apartment where I was staying when I took the trip to Iceland totalled up to about $50 a month. Out of which, only about $5 were actual electricity usage charges. Epcor likes to bump up your power bill with their own charges which are so inadequate, I don’t understand how it’s not illegal and how they get away with ripping people off like this.

On top of your rent and electricity, you also have the internet, cable TV, mobile phone, and whatever other month to month bills apply to you. These you will pay for normally even if you have not been in the country half of the month. So basically – if you cancelled all of it, you would end up with positive four digit figure which would easily be enough to extend your vacation to last a month.

If I made arrangements with my landlord that I would move out of the apartment on the day I was leaving for Iceland, I wouldn’t have to pay my $850 a month which would be more than enough to sustain my stay in the country for extra 2 or three weeks. If I also cancelled the electricity and the internet, and if I temporarily suspended my cell phone number, I’d be looking at a thousand dollars saved.

It really made no sense taking a 10 day vacation in Iceland. While I was there, in one of world’s most expensive countries, the money for amenities in Canada was being paid out of my pocket even though I wasn’t using any of it. Rent for an apartment where I was not staying was paid yet I had to cover for my lodging in Iceland. In other words, I was paying rent for two places at the same time, while I could physically only be in one.

The lesson I have learned, was that one of the keys to frugal travel is to book your vacation and make arrangements in your home country for a month. One week or two week vacation ends up being a costly endeavour which is why so many people either can’t afford it, or can only take one or two a year. It’s simply because you are wasting a lot of your money on things you are not using and end up covering for two simultaneous services while only using one at a time.