One question we are asked frequently is, “What kind of budget did you have for your four year voyage?” We hear this question from other people planning to cruise like we did.
The answer depends on the person(s) cruising, the type (length & make) of the boat and the cruising destination(s). These variables will determine the amount of money spent on their voyage.
Like living on land you can have a lifestyle that is frugal or extravagant. How you choose to live on a boat, cruising to various locations will depend on you. But here are some things to consider when deciphering your budget by examining each category…
Person(s) – Do you prefer…
- Living on the hook (cheap) or dockside at a marina (expensive)?
- Eating out every night (potentially expensive) or dining in (cheaper)?
- Buying trinkets or souvenirs at every location or just enjoying the moment?
- Do you take a taxi (expensive), bus (less expensive) or walk (cheapest) when you reach land?
- When you reach a destination, are you hiring a guide to show you around or trekking about to make your own discoveries?
Boat – The type of boat can cost you more…
- A bigger boat exponentially increases the cost to moor it, store it & possibly clear it into a country
- A bigger boat can cost more to maintain and outfit. For example Bigger Sails, more equipment etc..
- Do you own the boat or are you making payments?
- Are you required to carry insurance?
- Consider fuel consumption…Do you sail in light winds or motor just to get to your destination?
- Is your boat decked out in the latest technology or do you have what you need to get by?
- Where do you plan to haul out your boat for hull painting and maintenance? We found it to be more expensive outside of the States.
- Regardless of the age of your boat, you will be spending money on unexpected repairs and replacements.
Destinations – Where are you cruising?
- Check-in fees in third world countries can cost more than in developed countries, but cruising in them can make up
for the initial cost. Groceries, dining, services and attractions can cost less. For example.. When we cruised (2005-2009) the cost of diesel in the Mediterranean was $9/gallon and in Venezuela it was $.11/gallon.
- If your cruising destination is in “hot” tourist locations, you will be paying more for the services provided on shore.
- Are you leaving your boat for land excursions?
- Are you required to renew your visa if you stay too long in one country? You may have to leave the country for the visa renewal.
After reviewing the above questions examine how you would evaluate your potential cruising budget? For example, if your budget for dining out is currently $200 per month, depending on where you travel it might be less in another country or more. While boating in home waters, do you motor-sail or sail? Are you on a tight budget or can you freely spend. Like all budgets, it is a personal topic.
We cruised on less than many of our fellow-cruisers did. How? We had a 35 foot, bare-bones boat. We ate out,
but in affordable places. We sailed in 4 knots of wind and when we were land based, we rarely moored in a slip. Some people don’t like our style of travel, but this lifestyle was not a sacrifice to us. We are used to it…our lifestyle on shore is fiscally conservative. We don’t have car payments (we drive old cars), we rarely eat out (I like to cook awesome meals), our entertainment is watching DVDs, hiking, playing disk-golf, reading, basically living inexpensively. We do this so we can afford to go out on a boat and travel the world again.
So do what you can afford, it will vary from person to person.
If you want more information on how to cruise on a tight budget, read, “Cost Conscious Cruiser” by Lin & Larry Pardey. They can give you insight on how to do it on the cheap, because it’s easy to spend money if you have it.