Feeling jealous about your children enjoying a gap year overseas? So were Duncan and Jane Dempster-Smith until they asked the question “Why can’t we have a 12 month overseas escape too?” They failed to come up with a good reason why not, and in 2013 headed away on a 12 month sabbatical with the goal of seeing the world and living on $A185 per day – the target for what it would have cost them to have stayed at home.

Experiment over, they decided on their return that it was possible to gear themselves for a more permanent travel experience and, after a short period of housesitting, they embarked on a more permanent overseas lifestyle with the goal of living on the equivalent of the Australian pension of $A92 per day, around $US63.

Well into their experiment the Dempster-Smiths are hitting their expense goals while having a ball traveling the world. In our interview with them they talk through the process of planning, how to ask the right questions before you start and how to keep your travels to an unbelievably affordable budget

You can check out their blog and investigate how to get started on your own adventure with their handy resources at http://totraveltoo.com

MarseillesThe View from Mirador Y Monumento Al Pipila

What I learned from speaking with Duncan and Jane:

  1. If the children are keeping you from going then clarify why. When Duncan and Jane established their children were seeking financial rather than emotional support it made it easier to make provision and not let guilt stand in the road of their adventure.
  2. Ask good questions. Don’t assume something is impossible, instead ask how it can be done. Their expectations of the budget they could live on was higher than it needed to be until they encountered the experiences of others who were doing it for less.
  3. Slow your travel down. The cost of relocation is significantly reduced on a daily basis the longer you stay in one spot – and you get a truer experience of what a place is like if you can stop to smell the roses.
  4. Again they emphasized the benefits of housesitting as a means of reducing costs. They got a few housesits under their belt at home in Australia before they embarked.
  5. If relocating don’t just consider airlines. Permanent travelers like Duncan and Jane, and the Mundells are increasingly using cruises as a cheap way to get from A to B. Cruise relocations such as their Miami to Barcelona sailing cost $800 for 14 nights – an average of $57 per day including accommodation, all meals, transport and entertainment. Try matching that on an airline!

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  • Dougie and Julie

    Hi guys. Have you an end plan to your travelling, ie settling near grandkids or do you plan to travel for ever?

    • totraveltoo

      Hi Dougie and Julie.. Great question and one that we think about from time to time . At the moment the plan is to self fund the retirement being 60 and when we get to 67 the Australian aged pension we will present ourselves at Centrelink and obtain our right ful aged pension. Looks like the laws are changing and potentially limiting pensioners to max six week overseas. If this is the case then we will certainly keep traveling to 67. By traveling to cheaper countries we reduce our daily costs considerably rather than sitting on the sofa in Australia. If grand kids arrive we will want to be part of their lives and we will need to see what that presents. That being said we would not like to create a co dependant lifestyle ,, still need the flexibility to travel may be slower and less. Finally the plan would be to travel Australia and SE Asia as post retirement age…

  • TonyArgyle

    Hi Duncan/Jane. Do you know if there are any restrictions on how long you can be out of the country prior to qualifying for the pension? I’m fairly sure in NZ you must be living there for a minimum of 5 years between the ages of 50 and 65 to qualify (not sure if that includes travel or just being your abode). I was wondering if Australia placed any restriction on how long you “lived” outside Australia prior to pension qualification age or whether the 6 weeks from the time you are 67 is the only thing to be aware of?

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