How many times have you seen a photo of someone travelling around the world, with only a backpack to call home, and a wide grin that says freedom rocks and you need to get some?
I bet you want some of it too right?
Most people do. Except, most people place the idea of a life of travel in the too hard basket, or a basket only there for the wealthy or lucky.
I mean really, how could it be possible for someone with average, or less than average incomes, to travel the world for weeks, months or even years at a time?
It can be done.
I left home at the age of 21, with my 3 day old teaching degree, a backpack, and only a few thousand dollars. (If I can be honest with you, that money wasn’t even mine, it came from the bank – I don’t recommend you do this btw).
I’ve been traveling ever since.
I have created a life of travel for myself. And now I’ve created a life of travel with, and for, my children. This does not mean I have endlessly been moving from one country to the next. I often stop for work breathers, a place to stock up again before moving on. We love slow travel and immersing ourselves deeply in other cultures.
The pauses can be acts of discovery, exploration and fun synonymous with travel as well. We’ve lived in 5 countries but have traveled through over 50. I’m not a big counter, I count the memories, the experiences and the friendships more.
Because that is why you really travel.
How to live a life of travel
I am often asked how to live a life of travel.
You’ll be shocked to know that I am not wealthy – far from it.
A life of full time travel is not as difficult as you may think. There are many clever strategies you can employ to travel around the world for low cost and sometimes even free.
We have created a lifestyle of travel. It’s what we do everyday, even when we are not travelling. When we are ‘settled” (not sure how to define that) we still have our travel attitude on, which is a major part of what travel is.
It’s an unconventional life, but we love it. Make sure you know the sacrifices you’ll have to make to create this travel lifestyle. Otherwise you might quit on your dreams and travel goals.
But to get to the nitty gritty, here are our biggest secrets to help you live a life of travel.
1. Make it a working holiday
What? You mean I have to work?
Ain’t nothing going to come to you unless you work hard for it. Glinda the Good Witch is a fantasy. If we have disappointed you, I’m sorry, you are probably reading the wrong post and were hoping I was going to say we were rich, because then you’d have a good excuse to not follow your heart.
We all have to work and we need money to travel. Why not work and travel at the same time?
Here’s why we love earning money while we travel
- you don’t have to save as much initially.
- you earn local currency
- every day is exciting as it is new.
- you experience a culture deeply.
- weekends and days off become adventures.
- you may get perks such as free accommodation, meals or flights.
The best way to do this is to live and work in expensive countries. Better to spend the local currency and save your own money for other adventures. I never could have travelled the UK and Europe on the Aussie dollar, so I lived in an apartment in London with many other travelers and earned pounds to travel on instead.
Craig and I have followed the working holiday through 5 countries since 97. Some of our richest travel memories come from the experiences we had living in another culture. It is by far the best strategy to have a life of travel.
We’ve had a wide variety of jobs overseas including teaching, teaching English as a Foreign Language, working on a pearl farm, hospitality and working for the airlines. There are so many jobs you can do!
Here are 20 ways you can work and travel in Australia – one of the most expensive places to travel in the world. A working holiday will help you make it a reality.
Here’s another cool opportunity – How to teach english online to Chinese students – from anywhere in the world.
2. Travel long-term in affordable places
Choose the countries that are cheap to travel to for the long-term. Our long-term trips have taken us through South East Asia and Africa – countries where the budget conscious could get by on $30-$50 a day or even less. I’ts much easier to afford than places in Europe or Australia.
Your experiences become richer when you are not worrying about budgets and having to deny yourself.
Travel in cheaper countries means you can do more and travel for longer.
3. Make smart spending decisions
It’s all about how you choose to spend your money. Is that luxury 5 star accommodation really worth it, especially if you are out exploring from sunrise to twinkling stars? Can you go the comfy 3 star hotel and have a little extra cash for the fun stuff?
Do you need to eat in a restaurant for three meals a day or can you cook your own breakfast and settle for a picnic lunch?
What about that city tour, couldn’t you do a self-guided one?
Prioritize. Work out what you are willing to sacrifice and what you aren’t and craft your travel experiences around that.
4. Save well
Yep, not only do you have to become master budget spenders, but expert savers as well.
The two questions you ask:
- How can I create more money?
- How can I save more money?
Just be careful that when you create more money, you don’t suddenly start spending more! Take the extra cash and put it in your travel fund.
To create more money you can:
- sell your possessions
- take on boarders
- rent out your property
- work extra hours
- work two or more jobs
- invest wisely
Look at your expenses and work out what you can cull and then work to save money in all areas.
To save more money you can:
- move in with your parents or house share
- cut out luxury items
- live off one wage (if you are a couple)
- save your bonuses
- buy in bulk
- eat out less
- reduce your entertainment costs
- use reward cards and frequent flyer programs
- use coupons
- pay off bad debt
5. Create a lifestyle around travel
Digital nomads and those creating their own travel lifestyles are becoming more common. If you want a life of travel, discover how you can make it happen.
- How are other people living a life of travel?
- Could you do the same?
- What special skills and talents do you have?
- What jobs could you work that involve travel?
- How can you create your own business that gives you the freedom to say where and when?
Want another creative way to be able to travel and live abroad? Try housesitting
Craig and I started this travel blog because we wanted travel to be our lifestyle. Our working holiday visa options were up (due to age) so we had to discover a new path. Our life of travel now continues with our two children because of our online business. We can live and travel where we want and earn a great income.
We’re not reliant in only being able to afford to live in a place like Chaing Rai where our monthly expenses are super low. There is nothing wrong with this, but we wanted to create an income and a life of travel where we could live and work anywhere, we weren’t limited by money.
All we had was a very clear dream of what our ideal travel lifestyle looked like, then we became 200% committed to it, and we took small steps each day with passion and conviction.
And look what the Universe delivered to us a result.
Because of our travel blog, we’ve traveled to countries like Singapore, the Philippines and Austria. We also road tripped around Australia for 18 months and are now currently road tripping the USA (and exploring the Northern Hemisphere) for the next three years … at least! We have endless choice.
6. Make travel your focus
Many people want a life of travel, but they don’t make it their focus.
You don’t always have to travel far and wide. There are plenty of ways you can make travel a focus of your everyday life.
I like to say make travel your magnificent obsession. That means it fills your day dreams and night dreams. Every decision you make from now on is directed towards making that life of travel a reality.
Once you start focusing on something, you start planning, and then usually the Universe helps you by bringing what you need to make it happen.
The small steps start to grow bigger and before you know it you are living the life of travel you thought was only possible for the lucky ones.
7. Have a strong enough why
Constant travel is tough. I often want to quit, but I never will because I have this huge why–a gigantic urge that only travel can fill.
I’m happy to ride on the back of a pick up, or sleep in a van, and eat two minute noodles for weeks, if it means I can continue to explore and experience newness every day.
There’s no other life that makes sense for me so I continue to leap over the hurdles.
For many people a life of travel would suck! Different strokes for different folks. You have to decide WHY you are traveling. What burning need are you trying to fulfill? How will this life of travel make a difference and why is this important to you?
Work that out all your paths will fall into place.
That life of travel you desire can be yours.
What is your travel path?
Is it constant travel from one country to the next you yearn for? Or is it a slower form, with frequent pauses for a sampling of the “settled” life before travel calls you back on the road?
Or do you want to just have more travel, even if it is only an extra 2-3 weeks a year?