There is no one way that I pay for my adventures. And my source of funding depends on a lot of things. Including how much the adventure costs, my opportunities at the time (in the early days before I had an established blog, financial sponsorship wasn’t really an option like it is now) and also what sort of adventure I want it to be (a sponsored expedition comes with a lot more responsibilities and expectations than one you’ve just funded yourself).
If you find this blog useful you will probably also want to read my Income report for 2018!
How much does an expedition cost?
So here is a list of most of my expeditions over the last couple of years, how much they cost and how I paid for them.
Note that the costs below are for 1 person – so if I did the trip with others, this was my share. The cost might, therefore, be slightly higher if you are single (accounting for shared transport, double rooms being cheaper pp, etc) but it should give you a rough idea. I also haven’t included any trips where I did any form of organising or expedition leading as these should be self-explanatory…..if you are a qualified expedition leader putting on trips then your expenses are covered in the cost of you leading.
You can read more about these expeditions on my adventure page.
Adventure: Hiking 1020km the length of Israel
Time it took: 2 months (in 2016)
Expedition costs excluding gear: £550 (including return flights from the UK, all food and accommodation)
Total cost for me: £550
Sponsorship in kind: we got hydration packs and a pair of sandals donated from Source Outdoors. We also stayed in 3 hostels along the way who said we didn’t have to pay because we said we’d mention them in our blogs.
How did I pay for it: Savings….I actually budgeted £2000 for the hike so had plenty left over.
Worth noting: We have family in Israel so had somewhere to stay for free either side of the expedition.
You can find a full breakdown of costs hiking the length of Israel here.
Scoot the Loop
Adventure: Kick scooting the 240km London Loop
Time it took: 5 days (in 2016)
Location: London, UK
Expedition costs excluding gear: £50
Total cost for me: free
Sponsorship in kind: 2 scooters and helmets. We got very lucky with the scooters as we didn’t have a following or blog at this stage. They wanted photos of the scooters on an adventure though for their website so we got lucky!
How did I pay for it: I entered the Next Adventure Grant and won £100 which covered the cost for both me and my husband to do the adventure. This was the first time I’d ever applied for an adventure grant!
Worth noting: we were doing this adventure for charity which is why I think the restaurants were so keen to support us
Sailing the North Sea
Adventure: Joined a team sailing from Gothenburg to Portsmouth
Time it took: 8 days (in 2016)
Location: the North Sea!
Expedition costs excluding gear: £1020
Total cost for me: £720 (the sailing trip cost £600 and my travel and 1 night in Gothenburg came to £100. The only gear that I needed to buy that I didn’t already have was sailing wellies at £20 as the company provided all the waterproofs needed)
Sponsorship in kind: None
How did I pay for it: Savings
Worth noting: This trip was originally £900 but was reduced last minute to £600 so I got it at a discount. Check out Tall Ships Offers Page regularly to see what trips they have in the sale. Sailing is expensive but what’s great about Tall Ships is that if you prove your capabilities on a voyage you can return as a volunteer.
The Everest Adventure
Adventure: Hiking the height of Everest over 5 days in the Lake District
Time it took: 5 days (in 2017)
Location: London, UK
Expedition costs excluding gear: £150 (covering transport, accommodation, food and a team T-shirt)
Total cost for me: £150
Sponsorship in kind: We got a discount on our expedition food and waterproofs from Columbia
How did I pay for it: Using savings
Worth noting: This was a really easy and cheap expedition to do. We were wild camping so our only costs was getting to the start and finish and food.
Kicking the States
Adventure: Kick scooted the length of the USA
Time it took: 3 months (in 2018)
Expedition costs excluding gear: £2,850 in total but (I haven’t included the 10 day holiday that we had after the expedition just enjoying the States and have also left out the money I spent to have someone film the expedition for us)
Total cost for me: £350
Sponsorship in kind: We got our Yedoo scooters donated as well as panniers from Over Board
How did I pay for it: Both mine and Gil’s costs were covered almost entirely by sponsorship from VivoLife. In exchange, we wore their T-shirts, provided photos and exposure on our social media platforms and will deliver a talk.
Worth noting: This was the first time I’d secured sponsorship for an expedition. It worked because I already had a platform and following so was able to offer value in return to a company.
We saved a huge amount along the way being hosted by kind people who would not only give us a bed but also often fed us. We found a lot of them on the WarmShowers network. The rest was using Facebook or people contacting us as we got a lot of media attention. I think we had more support than most would because we were doing something unusual but also because we were doing it for charity.
I also think you could do this expedition much cheaper. A big chunk of what I spent was food (about £1,000) and taxis (about £300). We decided to just eat out and not carry a stove. A big reason why was because of the logistics involved in planning food and we wanted to focus our energy on fundraising. The taxi costs were getting to and from talks we were delivering in exchange for donations for our cause.
Crossing the Jordan Desert
Adventure: Hiking across the Jordan desert from Dana to Wadi Rum
Time it took: 2 weeks (in 2018)
Expedition costs excluding gear: £1100
Total cost for me: free
Sponsorship in kind: We received a lot of gear in kind – sleeping bags, roll mats, shoes, buffs and tt-shirts We also got given a free nights accommodation at the start of the trip in London and also 3 nights at the end in Aqaba (in a 4-star hotel!!)
How did I pay for it: We received a total of £5,500 in sponsorship from Tiso and Merrel. This covered our expenses and also paid for a photographer to follow us for a section (sponsors want decent photos!)
Worth noting: I did this expedition with 2 well-known adventurers Mollie Huges and Cal Major. A collaboration like this made it very easy to get sponsorship as companies were getting exposure 3 for the price of 1 effectively.
Hiking Acatenango Volcano
Adventure: Hiking Acatenango Volcano
Time it took: 2 days (in 2017)
Expedition costs excluding gear: £100 (this cost was for the tour, porters, gear and food….I was already in Guatemala so haven’t accounted for travel)
Total cost for me: free
Sponsorship in kind: none
How did I pay for it: I joined the expedition for free in exchange for writing a blog about the experience
Worth noting: I’ve joined a lot of adventure tours like this in exchange for blogging and posts on social media about the experience. As well as providing them exposure it also gives me content for my blog. For those that are sceptical about bloggers getting free things…..this Acatenango blog is one of my most popular. It receives about 30 visitors a day and the local guy I worked with said he gets more recommendations from my site than from anywhere else. He got a good deal!
Whale Shark Conservation Project
Adventure: Working on a whale shark conservation project in Mafia Island
Time it took: 2 months (2018)
Expedition costs excluding gear: Thousands!
Total cost for me: £700 (for flights and food)
Sponsorship in kind: Myself and my husband, Gil, were staying at a hotel on Mafia Island for 2 months. In exchange, Gil built them a website and set them up to take bookings online.
How did I pay for it: I initially joined a whale shark company on a tour for free in exchange for blogging. We got on really well with them and saw an opportunity to set up a conservation project to make their tours more environmentally friendly. We helped them with running the tours, English and swimming lessons and building a website and in return, we got to swim with whale sharks every day! Working together to make the tours more Eco.
Worth noting: I’d done a marine conservation course previous so had the conservation knowledge needed to set this up
A lot of my expeditions have been supported by sponsorship. To help others looking for support either financially or in the form of gear and services (free nights, transport, etc), I’ve put together these blogs with all my advice:
- How to fund your adventure
- How to get sponsorship for your adventure
- My top tips for securing financial sponsorship for your adventure
- How to write a sponsorship proposal pack
- Sponsorship proposal template and examples
If you’ve found this helpful, please do take a minute to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or you can support me via Patreon. And if you have any questions just ask in the comments box below and I’ll get back to you!