How On Earth Can You Afford It? This is probably one of the most common questions to full time or long term travelers. How can you afford to travel all the time? Well, first of all, we don’t. We live a traveling lifestyle, but we don’t travel ALL the time. There are as many different ways to do it as there are travelers of course, but the majority of people (that we have met, anyway) practice some sort of slow traveling, meaning that they stay in one place anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, before they move on to the next destination. Which makes it very different to being on holiday or taking a short term trip from a home base. More on that later.
So, how do you afford it? It’s a great question, and the answer is way simpler than what many people imagine. Read on to find out how WE do it, which is just one way among a thousand – and hopefully you will discover that full time traveling isn’t an unattainable dream available only to a few, but a lifestyle choice that can be made possible to most by prioritizing, planning and thinking out of the box 🙂
A Traveling Lifestyle Vs. Being On Vacation. The very first thing to realize, is that a nomadic lifestyle is not being on holiday. It is living your everyday life in different parts of the world. Big, big difference. When you go on a vacation, you will typically spend more than you would at home – because it’s a one-time event and you want to really mark the difference with ‘normal’ life at home, where you work or go to school the rest of the year. When traveling is a lifestyle on the other hand, being on the road IS your normal life – you are just living it in changing locations. This means that you will have people living on budgets that vary enormously, just like they do for sedentary folks. Some live for as little as $1000, some may have five or six times that. Most are somewhere in between. So, the level of expenses and the way of traveling will be just as different for nomads, as are the level of expenses and ways of life for people in general.
How To Earn An Income If You Don’t Live In One Place. Most full time and long term travelers still work, they just do it differently – online or in temporary jobs along the way for instance. You might have heard the term digital nomad, a concept that has become increasingly popular over the past decade or so. A digital nomad, or DN, is someone who works online and travels around a lot. Because their jobs are not tied to one physical place, digital nomads can choose to live wherever they want to, and still continue to earn a living. Digital jobs could be web design, marketing, translation, proofreading, teaching or running an online business of some sort. Or a million other things.
Working as a digital nomad is one way of funding a traveling lifestyle, but your income doesn’t have to be from an online source. What matters, is to secure some sort of location independent work, simply meaning that it can be carried out more or less anywhere, or at least in many different places. Examples could be teachers, traveling nurses, performers or therapists. There are about as many possibilities as there are people traveling. I do online administrative work plus organize parkour & creative movement sessions – so a mix of both digital and physical work. Your income source would be completely personal to YOUR situation.
The most important thing is to put on your creative hat and start thinking. What skills do I have that can be put to profit? Is there anyway my current job could be transitioned to online? Are there temporary work opportunities where I want to go? Could I learn a new skill or get a diploma in some field? What keeps most people from taking the leap, isn’t a lack of possibilities but a lack of seeing them. It might take some planning and some work, and it might not be doable overnight – but options are endless, solutions are out there. You just have to find them!
Adjust Your Expenses To Your Budget. I know, this sounds like a no-brainer and that’s because it is 😉 Wherever you are, living will cost you money. Well, unless of course you live in a tribal community deep in the rain forest somewhere, where coins and paper bills haven’t made their entrance yet….but in which case, you wouldn’t be reading this…otherwise there is no way around it – there are bills to be paid everywhere! Whether you live in one place or you travel around, housing, food, clothing and all other necessary or less necessary expenses must be paid for. But here comes the great part: many, if not all, of these things can actually be less expensive with a traveling lifestyle! Yes, you read me right. Everything depends of course, on where and how you choose to live, but as a general rule, the nomadic lifestyle is precisely a way of keeping your expenses down and being able to live on less, hence having to earn less – meaning you get more time to actually LIVE….and travel!
Alternative Ways Of Getting A Roof Over Your Head. One way to secure accommodation is of course staying in hotels, guesthouses or renting through airbnb. This can be affordable in various ways, like choosing hostels or smaller guesthouses over the typical hotel or holiday resort and being willing to walk a little to reach the beach for instance. While we were traveling through Thailand in 2018, we kept the housing costs down by choosing simple, basic guesthouses that had kitchen facilities, so we could cook our own food. Being in an inexpensive region of the world allowed us to do this for an average of $24/night, which isn’t even the lowest possible. You could find monthly rentals for less than that, but we don’t stay that long in one place at the moment. However, paying for housing isn’t the only way of getting a roof over your head when traveling. There are several other ways that you can find lodging, if you are willing to think a little creatively again:
A) Volunteer work in exchange for food and board. There are online platforms that facilitate this, by putting hosts and volunteers in contact. One of them is called workaway – a website with thousands of users and all sorts of volunteering opportunities! From helping out in a rain forest reserve in Costa Rica or a dog shelter in Greece, to working on an organic farm in Australia or building a straw bale house in Scotland. People also look for help with housekeeping and child care, learning new languages or maintaining their garden. The options are seriously endless. We have a profile there and use it to contact people we think might correspond to our situation, and so far have only had good experiences.
B) House sitting or pet sitting. Believe it or not, but there are PLENTY of people around the world, who will let you stay in their home for free while they’re away, in exchange for looking after the house/garden and possibly pets. Again, there are all sorts of offers. From a few days to several months. Flats, houses or farms. Cities, villages or remote properties. Big and small. We have personal friends who secured a home for themselves for a year in Mexico like this and another family we know is currently living in rural New Zealand for three months, taking care of cats and chickens for another traveling family.
C) Home exchange. If you have a home base (or a rental unit) you have yet another option for housing abroad: swapping with another family. Again, there are online platforms for this and the only things limiting you are your budget and your possible obligations time wise. I know several families who are traveling the world almost exclusively by doing this.
How To Get Started! Are you dreaming of traveling the world with your kids, but don’t see how to make it happen? No worries, all it takes is a good brain storming of your options and then a plan! It might not be doable right away and it might not happen overnight, but I promise you that it can be done – somehow and at some point. Probably sooner than you think. Watch out for a future post on how to create a plan for your worldschooling adventure!
Meanwhile, if you’d like some personalized support to get the project launched, feel free to contact me for an introductory chat at no cost. I would love to help you get started on your path to freedom 👊