You see it all the time…
You know, that couple who seem to be endlessly travelling around the world, constantly posting photos on Instagram seeming to never be going home or even doing any work for that matter?
Or that guy who’s lived overseas for a year who looks like he’s on a permanent holiday.
It can only leave you wondering… How the hell are they affording this?
Oh right, they’re making money through influencing, monetizing a youtube channel and generally being a digital nomad superhuman…
This makes it seem like travelling (especially full time) is a far fetched, impossible to reach dream reserved for Instagram famous nomads…
However, nothing could be further from the truth, and in this post were going to find out what you can do and put it into action right now to afford a life of full-time travel.
Table of Contents
What Type Of Traveller Do do You Want To Be?
Before learning how you can afford to travel, you need to establish what type of traveller you want to be…
This can be either; Full time (yep, a real-life digital nomad), 3-6 months (gap year style) or just a quick fortnight here and there….
All these things are going to affect the decisions you make on how you’re going to afford trips.
For example; Travelling full time is going to take a lot more strategy and planning.
The following list isn’t necessarily a ‘how to skimp by and scrape every single penny together to travel’ type guide, it’s more about how you can prioritise travel while at the same time maintain a good lifestyle, move forward with a career and grow your wealth…
1. Drop Your Responsibilities
Ahhh responsibility, we’ve all got a few of these. Most of the time we have too many.
Way too many.
Before undergoing any travel, you need to be cutting down on any responsibilities. Basically, anything that ties you down to a place.
This mostly means a job or education that requires you to be somewhere at a certain place and time.
But can also mean disassociating with people that don’t have the same lifestyle goals, cancelling any club/membership subscriptions and arranging a remote work or study agreement with existing work or finding new work.
2. Do Research!
Before heading anywhere in the world, do a tonne of research.
Personally, I spend half my day researching; next destinations, flights and costs.
Affording to travel is largely about choosing somewhere you want to go, working out potential costs and then creating a daily budget based on that…
To work out a daily budget for your planned destination, be sure to research;
- Nightly accommodation
- Cost per meal
- Transport costs
- Return flight prices
- Activity costs
- Any other sneaky costs (e.g visas)
Tally up all of these things and work out a daily (and weekly) budget.
3. Prioritise Travel
Both before you travel and during (if you’re on a long trip) travel should be the number #1 priority.
This means questioning pretty much everything you do. Which is a weird thing to get used to especially if you’re happy to spend on small luxuries.
Every time you go to make a purchase (for anything) ask yourself – Do I really need this or would this money be better spent going towards travel).
As part of your research, the greater part of it will be looking at flights.
Researching different flight options is critical in affording travel.
First, start looking at a standard return flight from your location to your desired destination.
Then, check the price of a one way (in each direction) to see if it works out cheaper. Most of the time, return flights always work out cheaper, but it’s always worth checking.
One way flights can be great if you’re going on a long term trip and don’t know when you’ll be coming home.
If you’re planning to visit lots of destinations, then check out an ‘around the world’ ticket.
There are sites you can use to plan round the world routed and get prices, which is fun and exciting, but mostly I will just use Skyscanner’s ‘Multi City’ search and add destinations on there.
When searching, always play around with different dates as some days of the week or usually cheaper (Tuesday’s) and make sure you’re not booking on any national holidays.
Travel hacking refers to taking advantage of credit card rewards schemes.
This sounds dodgy, but it’s actually perfectly legal and very handy if you’re going to be travelling a lot.
Many credit cards offer rewards (in the form of points) when you sign up and spend a certain amount during the first 3 months.
This is usually not a problem when you’re likely spending the minimum anyway using your debit card.
Every time you spend anything, whether you’re paying rent, buying a coffee or even booking a flight, you should be using your credit card to build up points and meet that minimum spend.
As long as you stay on top of things and pay the card in full every month, it really is a no brainer to build up points using a credit card.
6. Not Getting Back To Zero
For years, I travelled on a budget.
And a very low one at that.
Scraping together just enough money to get a flight then forcing the rest of my money to stretch and keep me away for as long as possible.
And it was fun, however now I’m a little older and I don’t want to just scrape by.
I want to travel with a little more comfort and make sure I’m not back to zero every time I return from a trip.
Put money aside, that you don’t touch! This money acts as a buffer between you and completely broke.
That way you always have a safety net for when things go wrong or to use if you’re out of work between trips.
You do this by setting up a separate savings account or diversifying your finances by investing. (More on this later).
7. Strategic Travel
Jetting off from one corner of the world to the other every other week sounds incredible right?
However, long haul flights across the globe are expensive and leave you extremely tired, meaning you’re jet-lagged for the first few days you arrive at a destination.
If you’re planning on going to multiple places, It would be much more strategic, to travel slower and go visit countries that are next door to each other and move across the world this way…
Start in one country and visit all the other countries that are close by. Flights between neighbouring countries are often cheap, especially in Europe and Central America.
This way you’re not burning through cash unnecessarily and you’ll actually have time to take in all the places and meet people.
8. Cook Your Own Food
Eating out, both before your trip and during is going to dig away at your savings.
It’s ok to splash out now again, maybe for a date or to catch up with a friend, but as a general rule, you want to be cooking your own food.
Across the world, you can always find affordable local ingredients that cost a fraction of what the same would in a restaurant.
All that extra money should be then going towards further travel.
9. Saving Up Beforehand
How much you want to save before a trip is going to depend on two things;
- Where you’re going
- How long you’re going for
There are obviously different costs associated with different locations and lengths of time.
But in the lead up to a trip, it’s always a good idea to keep putting away at least 25% or more of you’re income.
Basically, any spare cash (that isn’t for rent or food) should be going towards your travel savings!
10. Earning While Traveling
Thanks to technology, working remotely and earning money from a laptop is becoming increasingly common.
And it’s a real winner.
No matter what the job is, being able to open your laptop and work from anywhere is going to mean you can travel to wherever you want, whenever you want and earn money at the same time.
There are a tonne of jobs you can do online now and skills you can build up to let you work remotely.
You may already have an online-based skill?
Check out this full guide on how to become a digital nomad with no skills and no experience, for more information.
11. Learning As You Travel
When travelling, it’s easy to think it should be just one long holiday, where all you do is sip margaritas in the sunshine and relax at the beach.
And when you say it like that, it does sound good…
However, if you want to travel and afford to do so over the long term, you’re going to want to constantly develop skills that allow you to work when you’re away.
I would highly recommend checking out this post, for skills you can learn online and doing some serious research about something you might want to learn.
For example, learning to write for Google, creating websites, video editing and SEO are all full-time careers in 2021, all of which can be done with no degree, just the desire to learn…
As you travel, read and constantly learn things that are going to allow you to work anywhere.
12. Living Below Your Means
As you earn more money, make sure you still live below your means.
For example, if you’re on the road and you now make a decent wage online through writing or design, you don’t want to upgrade your lifestyle with it
This means not upgrading to better accommodation or visiting fancier bars and restaurants.
This is one of the fundamental principles in wealth creation and you should always be practising it when travelling.
13. Diversifying Your Money
Over the last two years, I have been trying to diversify my portfolio rather than keeping all my money in the bank.
This is for two reasons;
- Having all your eggs in one basket (like a bank) means your money is not growing and just stays the same
- Protection Against inflation
Diversifying your income will mean you have all your money spread across different investments, which can go up in price, pay dividends and grow your money over time via compound interest.
That said investing your money does come with risk, but having all your money spread across different things such as; Stocks, Crypto & Commodities significantly reduces this risk.
Fiat currency (the dollars or Euros in your bank account) actually lose value over time due to inflation, whereas a commodity such as gold and Bitcoin, holds their value.
Please note – I am not a financial advisor, I am just sharing things I do that allow me to travel full time and help me not drop back down to zero!
Being a minimalist is awesome!
Minimalism doesn’t mean ditching all your belongings, leaving your family and going to Alaska all ‘Into The Wild’ style. It simply means living with only absolute essentials.
Ask yourself – What do you NEED?
For me; I need my laptop to earn money and my surfboards to follow my passion.
Everything else I travel with is pretty basic. I own just a few tee shirts, 2 pairs of trousers, 1 rain jacket, a coat, some shorts and 1 pair of shoes.
Packing like a minimalist really does free you up and helps you let go of anything with no purpose!
Drop anything that doesn’t add value to you.
(Plus, you’ll also save on airport baggage fees).
Summary of How To Afford Travel
So there we have it.
A list that will hopefully assist you in making your travel goals possible.
The main thing you should take away from this article is to think more about what you can do that will allow you to; work remotely, earn good money, grow your wealth while travelling at the same time.
Learn online skills, live below your means, travel strategically and invest any leftovers.
You can travel the world with next to no money by budget travelling. However, you’d be much better off trying to learn an online skill that will allow you to travel full time.
Writing, web design, Online tutoring, SEO, digital marketing, software development are all jobs that full-time travellers can do to make money on the road.