Many people dream of travelling full-time. Most never fulfill their dream, since it seems too expensive, too difficult, too much work. But it can be easy if you prepare in advance, sort out your finances and start dreaming specifically rather than generally.
Travel isn’t as expensive as you think it is. We love to pamper ourselves on holiday, to make up for having to sit in an office for the other 50 weeks of the year. And the flights are expensive when you’re only going for two weeks.
But the flights seem cheaper if you’re travelling for six months, and you can spread your money more widely if you stay in hostels rather than hotels. Plus, you won’t spend as much on food if you don’t eat in flash restaurants every night.
Finding the money
You do need some money though, to pay for the flights and to have a buffer for if things go wrong. But you probably have plenty coming in if you just spend a little less and organise it better. Check out episode 67 on our cash budgeting system to give you some ideas. Start by killing debts and cancelling subscriptions, and cut down to just three bank accounts: a current account, a savings account and one credit card. Remember to never spend more on your credit card than you can pay back at the end of the month.
The cash trap
Don’t fall into the trap of buying heaps of expensive travel gear. Make a list of what you need and budget a certain amount per week to buy it. Keep the money that you would have spent on gear in the bank and buy yourself several meals in Malaysia or a week’s accommodation in West Africa.
Keep dreaming, but set a date for your escape. Give yourself plenty of time for the preparation you need – we gave ourselves four years to pay off debts and save, which took the pressure off our finances and a lot of stress out of planning. Having a rough date set for departure will give you motivation to prepare and should keep the dream alive.
Start researching by subscribing to travel blogs like Almost Fearless, Nomadic Matt, and Ottsworld; and listen to podcasts like the Amateur Traveler, Everything, Everywhere, or of course, the Indie Travel Podcast.
Join online travel networking sites like Matador, the Thorn Tree, Couchsurfing or Hospitality Club. The last two give you the opportunity to offer your couch or spare bed to an incoming traveller for a few nights, and in return you can stay with people all over the world when you do start travelling.
Do some training so you can work on the go. Bartending or teaching English are great jobs for travelling, or investigate if you can use skills you already have.
Learning a language can be a great way to get into the travel spirit – you’ll want to go so you can use it. Spanish, French or German are useful in Europe, or try Mandarin or Japanese for Asia. Try to find a language exchange group rather than shelling out on a school course.
You can travel full time. Start preparing now.