Author Topic: Share how you got $ & time off to tour  (Read 3419 times)

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Offline rosie1973

Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« on: June 03, 2012, 11:22:21 am »
I'd love to hear some stories from members on how you found the time off and the cash to afford a long term bike tour.  This is something that boggles my mind. I know there are a variety of folks who have the resources: independently wealthy, retired, finishing school, sabbaticals, busting butt to save with 3 jobs, have your own company and make your own hours, etc.  I'd love to hear what some of those stories are.  I've got a dream to ride across the country on my 40th birthday, but am coming up against all kinds of road blocks in making it happen, mostly related to finances and getting the time off work.  I'm resourceful though.  Please share how you did it!  I wanna know how it worked for you....

Offline John Nelson

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2012, 03:03:21 pm »
I don't think there's any magic formula here. Live below your means to allow you to save money. Do this for as long as it takes. Then tour frugally and come home before your money runs out.

Some people maintain their home while they are gone, and some sell everything and/or put it into storage. More the former than the latter I would guess.

As for getting time off work, it depends greatly on the job. In my case, I just repeatedly told them I was going to do it (starting two years in advance), and was prepared to quit if necessary (luckily it was not). With enough advance notice, many employers can accommodate. It also depends on how replaceable your skills are. Many people seem to tour when they plan a job change anyway, or just after they've been laid off.

Offline reed523

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2012, 03:06:35 pm »
Here's my story.  Today happens to be the 1 year anniversary of my "trip of a lifetime".  It started as a dream and to be honest, i didn't ever really think it would happen.  However, I had worked for several years to acquire the gear "just in case".  The majority of my equipment (including bike, panniers, tent, stove, etc) was purchased used.  As far as funding the trip itself, be sure to include the saving of money you won't be spending if you were living life as usual such as fuel/commuting costs, work related expenses, entertainment purchases(i had very little/need interest to seek outside "fun" while on the road, others may be different).  It also helps to justify the cost by comparing what you might spend on a normal vacation. 

The time came when I unexpectedly changed careers.  You can read about that here www.crazyguyonabike.com/whenlife.   The interesting thing is 2 1/2 years after I made the career change, i'm back with the same organization in a different role.  So i guess I would just say have a plan in place and take advantage of the opportunity when it presents itself.  I'll also say i'm twice the employee i was before the trip because my perspective on so many things has changed.
Good luck!
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 06:25:25 pm by Fred Hiltz »

Offline Galloper

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 08:44:32 am »
I suppose the old Yorkshire saying has some validity:

Hear all, see all, say nowt.
Eat all, drink all, pay nowt.
And never do owt for nowt unles tha's doin' it for thi'sen

Online staehpj1

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2012, 10:30:40 am »
I don't think there's any magic formula here. Live below your means to allow you to save money. Do this for as long as it takes. Then tour frugally and come home before your money runs out.
+1
Kind of obvious IMO.

As far as time off, that is only a bit less obvious.  Making career decisions with the ability to take time off as a priority, is a good start.  Saving as much leave as you have and not using it for other stuff helps.  Negotiating more paid leave, the ability to carry over leave, and maybe the ability to take leave without pay might be the way to go.  It helps to be valuable enough to your employer that they do not want to lose you.  It also helps to be marketable enough to be able to find another job if necessary.  Both of those put you in a better bargaining position.

Both the money and the time are harder when raising a family.  It is easier before you have family depending on you and gets easier again when you are later in your career and the kids are grown.

I know that when I took time (10 weeks) off for the TA, I told them I was going and asked if I would have a job when I got back.  Fortunately they apparently missed me while I was gone and realized they didn't want to lose me.  I think it actually helped my career.  Later when I changed departments at the same employer, I made it clear that I took off lengthy periods of time and expected to do so in the future.  It was just something they needed to expect if they were to hire me and I considered it a condition of my accepting the job.

Offline Miller

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2012, 12:02:59 pm »
I am recovering from a long neurological illness. I work part-time, my wife works full-time, we live frugally. Cycling has done a lot for me and my wife sees the value of a cross country trip. We are planning the trip for 2014. I imagine at that time I will have increased my freelance clientele quite a bit and may be working close to full time but with planning I'll be able to make time for the trip.

As far as finances, there are little things you can do that over time will make a huge difference.  We downgraded our cable/phone package and are saving about $90 per month, we also grocery shop every 7 instead of every 5 days, we have dumb phones instead of smart phones, and we don't spend money on little things that don't make our lives better or bring us joy. Surprisingly we haven't missed any of the above and it all adds up to 3-4k per year, which will pay for an entire cross country tour. 

If you need gear, planning a couple of years in advance gives you the luxury of watching for sales, which can amount to hundreds of dollars in savings. There are downsides to this of course but REI has credit card offers that includes a $100 gift card. If you are near an REI or know someone near one you can go to their scratch and dent sales. Grocery shopping with an Amazon credit earns reward points to buy gear (about $100-200 per year).. Also, you can obviously save money on the type of tour that you do... Originally I thought credit card touring was for me but now I think that camping and generally keeping expenses down is the way I prefer to do it. I'll probably do a hotel every week or two but to me it seems purer, more of an adventure to stay close to the land and do it all on the cheap...   
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 12:57:03 pm by Miller »

Offline Shane

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 12:31:15 pm »
I worked hard for 18 months, saving as much as possible. Cut down on luxuries like eating out, going to the pub and malt whiskey. Sold pretty much everything I own......

Now 6 months into the tour of a lifetime and hope to carry on for another 2 years........

Offline jamawani

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 05:14:47 pm »
As my father used to say,
"The best way to make money - - is to make money."

Offline chrisch

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2012, 01:14:54 am »
I'd love to hear some stories from members on how you found the time off and the cash to afford a long term bike tour.

It helps to live in Europe, where paid vacation can easily be between 4-6 weeks per year.  I've used this for tours, but becoming self employed has made this much easier.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2012, 04:15:51 pm »
Designate funds to be automatically deducted from paycheck or bank account and put into a special "untouchable " account for trips.  It's much easier to live on less if you set yourself up with less to live on. You just pretend that money is not there and it's surprising how fast it builds up.  My theory is that money is actually "stretchable" depending on your psychology.  So set a baseline to live on that is maybe a little less than you think is realistic and save the rest.

As far as time goes, I was a HS teacher, partly so I could have vacations and time for family and adventures.  It helped that I love teaching HS mathematics and if fact am still doing it as a private part-time business after official "retirement".

Good luck--there's always a way if you really want to make it work!   
May the wind be at your back!

Offline indyfabz

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2012, 07:39:41 am »
i begged to get laid off in the wake of a merger. knew it was coming for almost two years so i saved up money. took the severance package and ran. ended up taking 2 years off and doing 3 long tours. then i got my old job back.

save money and possibly ask for leave of absence.

sorry for the grammar and punctuation. fractured collar bone on sat. can't type so well.

Offline Hancock

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2012, 11:43:52 am »

As for saving money, one trick is to immediately save at least 10 percent of any amount of money that comes into your hands. The nice thing about 10 percent is that it's small enough that anyone should be able to do it with any amount of money. A 10 percent set-aside is small enough that it generally won't take a significant bite out of your gotta-to-live-life-and-pay-bills capital.

Some financial advice I once read put it this way: Whenever some money comes into your hands, you should immediately pay the most important bill you have to pay ahead of all others: your own savings account. If you keep it to 10 percent of whatever money you just netted, you'll be able to do it religiously.

An important element in the 10 percent trick is patience and a long-term, big-picture view of things.

As for time off, asking for leave without pay is a great option if you can be sure to have your job when you return.


Offline Mark Manley

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2012, 05:38:29 pm »
I have packed in my job to go off travelling on several occasions, I am currently on a 3 month motorcycle tour of Canada and the US after a 3 month cycle tour of India. I work in engineering where there is a skills shortage in the UK so have no problem find employment on my return, I also make myself as useful as possible when working so am usually welcome back at previous employers.
I have met many people who have chucked it all in and gone off travelling and none of them has regretted it, it can be an eye opening and life changing experience especially if you travel in developing countries.
Apart from the good advice already given about saving money I have sold everything I don't need on ebay, look around your home at everything you own and think will I ever need that again, it is amazing how much a lot of us have that we don't need and how much of our lives is spent earning money to pay for it.
 

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2012, 12:11:49 pm »
This is all fine and dandy, and perhaps doable before marriange and kids or after marriage and kids.

I however have 4 kids, one of whom is still in college, a wife I love dearly (even though she has minimal use for a bicycle), and a house payment to make every month.  I get my touring fix with a couple of overnights and week long trip each summer.  In 10 or 15 years, I will be retired, and then perhaps I will tour more.

But I would not give up the route I have taken. 
Danno

Offline MrBent

Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2012, 09:16:31 am »
Good point, Danno, although I read of families doing big tours, too, so I guess even that can work, too.  Creativity, dedication, bring everything you have to the game and we can accomplish a lot.  As for me, I'm a college teacher, a career that I chose in part because of the schedule.  I'm currently on summer break and planning on a four month tour down the Rockies to New Mexico then home to Cali across the desert.  Can't wait!  Right now I have to get out on a training ride before it gets too warm.

Bottom line:  Dig in and make it happen.  When this life is over, it's over.

Scott