How To Live A Life Of Travel (and Create Amazing Memories)

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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.

Sunset in Kona, Big Island of Hawaii
Sunset in Kona

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.

Do you want to live and travel in Australia? Here is our complete guide to the Australian working holiday visa.

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.

The better you get at spending, the more you will have a life of travel. Click to read our 52 ideas on ways to save money on travel.

Getting ready to zip line in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

4. Save well

Yep, not only do you have to become master budget spenders, but expert savers as well.

The two questions you ask:

  1. How can I create more money?
  2. 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.

We had no idea how to create this  travel lifestyle through our travel blog. We had no special talents and definitely no money (Read I want to know your secret to discover the truth).

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.

Pop your name in the sign up form below to get access to our Unplugged Life and travel toolkit – free resources and planning guides to help you move from travel dreaming to travel reality!

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?

Pin to share:

Want to know how to live a life of travel? We've been doing it for 20 years so can show you it's easier than you think #lifeoftravel #travelifestyle #nomad

 

 

68 thoughts on “How To Live A Life Of Travel (and Create Amazing Memories)”

  1. Totally agree with working! That’s what I did after I’d had enough of my call centre job in the UK, but didn’t have enough money to travel full-time. I got a job in South Korea and saved a lot of money over 3 years to pay off credit card debt, and do the trip I’m doing now. Great tips, as always!

    1. Yes! We think it is the best strategy for travelling long term. Earn the money and travel at the same time–genius! I also managed to pay off credit card debt while I was working and travelling. It works so well.

  2. My dream some day is to work for a travel company (eg airline,cruise company) so I can get staff discounts so I can travel more!

    1. That is a great strategy Maggie. I’d start looking into it. When Craig worked for Delta we got lots of free flights including business class from LA to Sydney. Huge savings!!

  3. yes, i always see some traveler they go travel over the world, sometime i’m curios are they have much money, what is they job, to be honest i want be like them, for me is enough to go travel all the province in my country, but the fact i’m not effort, some my friend told me to go travel with low cost like backpacker, but still not effort, but i’m not give in, i will working hard and spend less to saving money, and i will follow some tips that u given us. i love reading traveler blog, they inspired me. and make me believe we can reach our dream as long as i believe. thank u for inspired me. God bless u

    1. Pleasure Susan. I think travel really is possible for you. As you said it’s about believing and then taking a few steps toward that dream to make it happen. There are so many different ways to make it happen. You have to be a little creative but you can do it.

  4. Emigration! I live in Sydney and have done full time since 1998 and off and on since 1987. It’s such a different life to where I grew up in Scotland that there’s always an element of travel even though family life here in the ‘burbs can be mundane.

    My fave is to live in other countries and work – done in Italy, Pakistand, here in Oz and even… England! I have a yen to live overseas again and am sure we will as a family one day. Meanwhile, the wee trips are SO mentally stimulating.

    1. Pakistan would have been an amazing experience. I really don’t think you can beat living and working in another country, you get the best of both worlds. Every day is exciting and new and feels like a holiday. I love it.

  5. I found your blog last night on Pinterest and I am obsessed with it. I can relate so much to you Chaz. I am 21 graduating with my teaching credential and will be moving from California to Sydney in September for a year to be an au pair making Australia my 8th country, small in the big picture. I definitely have the travel bug and would love to follow in your footsteps. Love all your tips!!!

    1. How Awesome Ryen and you can call me Chaz if you like!! LOL I’m so excited that you are coming to beautiful Sydney! You will love living here. September is a great time to arrive. You have such an amazing travel life ahead of you. I think it is so awesome that you are embracing it

  6. I may just have to show this to all of the travel naysayers I come across! Right now, I keep things fresh by moving around the U.S. every few years. I’ve also switched jobs/careers with those moves, & spending like a backpacker even while at home has allowed me to always take a longer trip in between jobs. Now I’m trying to immerse myself in the travel world online and meet like-minded people. It’s so much easier to forge a path when you see that its totally feasible with enough effort.

    1. Yes show it to them Megan! The naysayers will always find a way to steal your dreams, that is why it is so important who you choose to hang around and share your dreams with. I think it is totally doable, but as you said it does involve effort, but if it is what lies at your heart centre then it is worth it

  7. This post pretty much mirrors I have managed to travel the world indefinitely. I am fortunate to have found employment in impossible places to go to otherwise (Antarctica!) Or in places where I would have otherwise probably not bothered with (currently Abu Dhabi). These have all been relatively short-term jobs that have provided housing so I have been able to bank a lot of money while working and then take lots of time off to travel – focusing on places where my money will last longer.

    1. Loved how work got you to Antarctica Will!! It’s amazing how you can travel when you think a little outside the box and come up with strategies to make it a reality. The money you can save when costs like accommodation has been removed is amazing–and you get paid as well. We worked on a pearl farm in Broome WA for 4 months. All of our food and accommodation was covered and we lived in a remote area so had nothing to spend our money on, after a 5 week swing we walked out with $10,000 in the savings account. Three times doing that meant we had a stack of money to travel on again. Too easy!

  8. I’ve been trying to figure out what travel I want in my life recently. I think I’d like a weekend away once a month and 2-3 trips overseas per year (though at the moment I’d even settle for one trip overseas a year!)

    1. I think that sounds perfect Vanessa! I think if you are getting away as much as you can, even if it is just for a weekend, your happiness and sense of peace improves dramatically. IT just helps you to feel you are doing something for yourself to enjoy your life.

  9. This is the way to do it! I left about seven months after graduating for the working holiday visa in Australia. I prefer traveling like that more than any other way possible! I guess technically I am still traveling, I’m not in my home country, but I stop in places for very long, so I think it’s just my lifestyle now and hopefully forever!

    1. Yes, I think it is still technically travelling because you have created that travel lifestyle. Living in a different country is just another form of travel. I totally love it!

  10. Sadly, this is not possible for someone who has citizenship that requires long complicated most often rejected visa process to enter another country…. But I’m thinking once you put your mind to it, be determined to make it so.. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Ah yes this can be a complication. I would suggest then focusing on those places you can go to, and of course your own country. Travel can be anywhere and it is always great to discover more about your own country or even region. Once you do make a commitment you start to discover ways you can make it a reality. Nothing is ever so black and white.

  11. I just returned home from 4.5 months of traveling South America, and now I’m looking for ways to go back indefinitely! Your post is great, and it reaffirms what I learned first hand which is that long term travel is absolutely possible with very little money. I highly recommend WWOOF, which is an organization that hooks you up with farms. You work on a farm in exchange for housing and food. Also, Couchsurfing, where you can stay with locals for free.

    1. Thanks for the tips Jeanette– WWOOF is a great organization as is couchsurfing. House sitting is also a really good option for getting free accommodation and making a life of travel possible.

  12. Jeremy Branham

    These are all great tips and suggestions. I know people love to travel and I always look forward to that next trip. However, I feel like there is something missing in these tips that I am very passionate about. You hint to this but I think more needs to be said.

    You don’t need to travel far to live a life of travel.

    I believe in exploring close to home. It can be in your own neighborhood, a town over, or an hour away. Take a day trip. Go hiking. Be a tourist in your own town. So many places you’ve think you’ve been but have never really gone. Seeing places close to home with a different perspective will change the way you travel. Travel is a mindset not a destination.

    I’ve taken spontaneous trips near home. I spent this weekend taking over 200 photos of a place close to home (I’ll write more about that later). People will be surprised at how much they can enjoy travel without spending a lot of money or going far.

    I linked to my spontaneous trip post below. I’m going to spend more time encouraging people to travel closer to home. I really believe in this. People don’t need to travel half way around the world to build great travel memories. For most people, the best travel experiences are the people and stories they have to tell, not just the destination.

    1. Oh yes we definitely agree with this. It is one of the tips in our video series people get when they sign up to our newsletter. Travel is a mindset and we love encouraging people to start by exploring their own backyard. Get off the couch and see what is in the next suburb, you’ll be amazed.

  13. I would love to make a living out of travel, but I realize that is not as easy… so I daydream and plan ahead a lot of my travels and try to take short trips as much as we can. I would love to live in Europe (I lived in London for almost a year 10 years ago), but I know it’s not an overnight process, so I continue on planning and daydreaming. And I am lucky that my family shares the same feeling about travel, so I can safely say that travel is our priority and it is one that always pays off.

    And I’m with you when you say that because you travela lot it doesn’t mean your wealthy – same happens with me and a lot of people still think I am swimming on a sea of money, LOL.

    Grea post!

    1. You are right it is not easy and some people definitely have more challenges than others. Starting with short trips is the perfect way to start living that life of travel, you can still do it even if those short trips are only an hour from your home.

  14. We only started our lifestyle of travel 14 months ago, but it has been the most exciting time in our lives! We have created various income streams that we can earn as we go and are looking forward to this for the rest of our lives.
    We work very hard on our projects but it is all worth it to be able to travel.

    1. Sounds awesome Serena. It is all so worth it. I saw a quote yesterday that said Entrepreneurs work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours. I loved that!

  15. Fortunately I was able to take a year’s leave without pay from my job (been there 15 years) and my partner and I have just begun our 6 month trip to the US. It was my partner’s dream to to do this. Without their determination and passion to travel, I would still be at home in my 9-5 job. I don’t think I would have been able to make myself resign from my good job to do this trip, so I am very grateful to my boss. We have rented out the house and are on our way! So, we haven’t given up everything to travel long-term so far, but maybe this experience will give us the confidence to do so.

    1. It’s the perfect first step Kathryn. And remember life is always evolving so take each step as it comes and decide then and there what path it should lead you on.

  16. I have been living the life of travel somewhat for awhile now. I travel in my RV around the country and sometimes out of the country. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  17. Hi there
    Thanks for your blog it’s an amazing source of info!
    Quick question for you –
    I am currently planning a travel across SEA and to Australia sometime next year. I currently live in London but I’m originally from France.
    I realised that, should I decided to go and wander for a few month before maybe settling for a year in OZ, I would need to carry with me a fair part of my possessions. I am planning in getting rid of the non-essential, store somewhere in London the large bits I can’t live without, and pack a bag to take off east-bound.
    What’s your recommendation in terms of packing for the great departure?
    Should I consider buying cheap ‘summer’ clothes while traveling in South East Asia?
    Would one suit/dress be enough for job interviews when I get back to my ‘serious job/serious life’? Or should I not care about it until the time comes to buy new clothes?
    Should I plan to get some of my ‘stuff’ sent to me wherever I decide to pause and settle for a bit?
    Any experience/tips would be very welcomed 🙂

    thank you
    Marion

    1. Great question Marion.
      There are a couple of options. You really want to carry as little as you can. So you could decide on what you need for Australia and send it over by sea mail. I did this all the time when relocating. IF you only focus on taking the essentials it shouldn’t cost too much, but will be worth it to save you the hassle and weight in carrying it around SEA.
      You can definitely consider buying cheap clothes in SEA–you’ll have no problems doing that. Shopping is cheap and the clothes are awesome. Bangkok is a great place for shopping.
      One suit or dress would be enough for interviews. You could even buy this stuff in SEA as well. I would try to have clothes for Oz for when you come here. Perhaps either sent over by sea mail or bought in SEA, as Australia is expensive. You can get bargains here though, but if you can do it another way it would be better.

      I hope that helps.

  18. Lots of great tips. When I was in my 20s, I taught English in Europe and used that work to travel a lot, not just around Europe but also in the country where I was living (the Czech Republic). Now that it’s a little harder to travel overseas often, I focus on traveling in California as much as I can and visit family in other destinations, which helps with accommodation costs.

    1. Yep! There are so many ways you can do it. Staying with family and friends is a great way. If you can find a way to reduce accommodation and transportation costs then you are on your way!

  19. Smart spending decisions is a biggie I think, as are all the other points. It’s one thing to have the desire, but another to have the self control and discipline to extend your travels long-term. I know I give in to temptation and splurge more than I should on my travels and end up paying for it later in the form of less travels!

    1. Absolutely! And many people can’t take the sacrifices which is why they never get the travel. It’s really hard and you have to stay so focused on the ultimate dream and reward yourself with small wins so you keep going

  20. Great tips, I especially liked keeping to a lower budget and saving the extra income instead of increasing spending.

    My husband and I moved back in with parents about 1 year ago to save for our Australian WHV (17 weeks to go!) and it’s meant we could afford some other little trips in the meantime too (Corfu, Amsterdam & shortly The Isle of Barra, Scotland)

    Focus is definitely the key & having the patience to scour the internet for the best deals/special offers. Our life of travel is just beginning and its looking good.

    If we can do it, ANYONE can 🙂

    1. I agree! Our motto is if someone else is doing it then we can too! You can always find a way and moving in with your parents is probably not what you really want to do but it’s a small sacrifice and look at what it will bring as result.

  21. Kiera @easytravelmom

    I think you are in my head! We may have the opportunity to move to Switzerland for work and if it happens, we are at a crossroads. We will miss our family dearly, and they will miss my daughter the most! But as you said, it’s a great way to see and travel more. It helps if you like the job too!

    1. Yes. It is difficult to move away from family, but you have to always follow your own path. If you don’t you only end up with regrets followed by resentment. The world is so small now that communication across the seas is much easier.

  22. I can relate to traveling even when you’re not traveling. You can still use the tools and skills travel has taught you and experience the world in a richer way even when you’re not on the other side of the world. I also love it that you took away the T from “can’t” and added it to “try”. “Can try” is much more empowering, and what you did with this post can be done with any big dream somebody has. Break it down to steps, then break it down to even more steps, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    1. Yes! I used to always do the can try with my students and now with my daughters. Of course they give you a weird look but I think it sinks in for some of them!
      Small steps is always the way to achieve anything

  23. I think it’s a matter of prioritising. If you want to travel a lot then you have to forgo something else.

    Years ago when I was about to head off on a backpacking trip around Europe a colleague asked how I had managed to save so much money.

    I replied ” live with your parents, don’t spend $100 (now $200) at the pub each weekend, don’t always buy the latest clothes”.

    1. Yes Yes Yes!!
      We would always reply with something like that or we choose to own a shit box car that gets us from A to B rather than the latest luxury model.

      Priorities is right!

    1. Agree Matthew!! Such a big one. Craig worked for Delta so we got free flights. I know lots of PR or travel agents travel a lot for free. There are so many clever ways to do it.

  24. Great read! People always asked me before I left, “well what if you don’t like it?” I always said, “so what? It will end up being a long vacation if worse comes to worse.” As long as you have some money (and I agree, not from the bank!) that’ all you need. Just try it!

    For me, I was supposed to be gone MAX 1 year. Uhm, 2.5 years later and counting…. haha. I think this is the usual story for us crazy nomads. That one year ALWAYS turn out longer. We just can’t help ourselves.. hehe

  25. My husband are from Europe and our work lets work from anywhere. So we travel everywhere. Since the average stay in Europe is 3 months how did you manage to stay longer and work? Was it with visas and work permits?

    1. We’re Australian so the rules are different. We’ve always had work visas which are of varying lengths depending on which country we’re in

  26. Thank you for your response. 🙂 I like reading on how people do things like with you and the traveling. I have always thought myself lucky being from Europe because I can pretty much go anyway in the EU and stay not have to worry about visas and such. We are branching out though. We are hoping to get to Australia within the year.

    1. this article and idea of constant travelling really sounds fun………..I’m Indian so people out here hardly think of constant travelling but articles like this have really made me inspired

  27. Hey! I love this. Is it more difficult to do this with your spouse? Meaning are there pros or cons in being legally married? (Taxes, etc.)

    1. I’m not really sure of the pros and cons to being legally married. I guess it might help to get work visas and possibly taxes in some places, but other than that I Can’t imagine it would impact things too much.

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