This month marks four years of full time travel for me! My most asked question is “How do you afford to travel?”. I have decided to make an extensive series detailing how I afford to travel. While I am working on that, I decided to summarize the main things that enable me to afford traveling full time. Of course there are many other ways to make travel your reality, but this is how I personally can do it.
First of all I have no debt. To make money I work remotely doing social media marketing, consulting to help people plan trips or consulting to help people start a new travel blog. I travel nanny one or two months out of the year, photography and I pick up odd jobs that fit into my travels. Once in a while I partner with a brand. I even make quirky restaurant review videos for a Japanese website called CChannel! This year I also partnered for the first time with a gear company for a 12 day sponsored trip.
1.I have learned to live on much less-I cut back on going out to eat, new clothes and spending money on things that I don’t need. I often cook my own meals , I always carry my own snacks and often pack a whole lunch. I sometimes sacrifice convenience or comfort for a cheaper price. I prioritize spending my money on traveling.We tend to overestimate how much we need to be happy.
2. Traveling full time saves me expenses such as rent, car insurance and other monthly bills. I also shut my phone off every time I leave the US.
3. I use many free or cheap accommodation options. I stay with friends, carry a tent with me and camp, use www.couchsurfing.org (a community of people interested in travel that you can stay with for free) and hostels. Hostels can be as cheap as $5.00 per night. Starting this year I have splurged on hotels here and there as well.
4. I take advantage of coupons, sales and any other discounts that I can find. Especially at grocery stores. I also negotiate prices when I can.
5. For transportation I use tools like Skyscanner and Kayak to find the cheapest dates and airports to fly. I save money by being completely flexible on my flight dates. I subscribe to a newsletter that features incredible flight deals called Mighty Travels. I also take busses, car pool, public transportation and hitch hike on occasion. I typically spend at least two weeks in a country so that by itself cuts down my travel costs. I also submit a written complaint to airlines if my flight is delayed more than four hours due to reasons besides weather, often they give me a flight voucher. I also give up my seat on overbooked flights in exchange for flight vouchers.
6. I have traveled to a country and volunteered in exchange for room and board. Typically it is 25 hours of work per week and can be found on websites like www.wwoofinternational.org and www.workaway.info.
7. I often travel to places where travel expenses are very low. For example: Renting a hammock in Nicaragua was $3.00, a huge plate of food in Peru was $3.00 and an hour on a motorcycle taxi in Dominican Republic was only $2.00.
8. I find fun things to do for free or cheap. I spend a lot of time in nature, go to free museum days, free concerts and other free events I find.
9. Starting in 2014 I have gotten a handful of tours compensated or partially compensated in exchange for taking photos and sharing them. I have done and continue to do most of my travel independently.
10. I always carry a water bottle and I use a water Sterilizing pen called a Steripen so that I can drink tap water in any country for free.