The first time I left to go traveling, I had saved about $10,000 and was ready to live off of that for an entire year. While I know that budget wasn’t massive, especially since my first stop was in Europe, I was determined to make it work. With that budget, I managed to travel all over Europe, the US, and all over Southeast Asia, in what I can only describe as a whirlwind of a year. I was on a budget but I still managed to see and do everything that I wanted, it just took a little ingenuity and resourcefulness.
Eight months after I returned from my big trip, I decided to leave again, this time, with only $2000 to my name. Armed with big dreams, this blog which we just started, and not much money (at least on my end), my partner Tom and I left for Indonesia with no particular plans except we wanted to grow our blog and travel the world. Fast forward to today…we’ve been working and traveling the world for almost three years non-stop. Want to know how you can do it too? Here are a few of our top tips to help you travel the world for longer.
- 1 #1 Be Thrifty
- 2 #2 Learn How to Master the Art of Travel Hacking
- 3 #3 Alternative Travel
- 4 #4 Develop Your Skills & Use Them
- 5 #5 Travel Slow
- 6 #6 Travel to Cheap and Affordable Travel Destinations
- 7 #7 Make the Most of Free Activities
- 8 #8 Cut Down on Common Travel Expenses
- 9 #9 Mindset Matters
- 10 #10 Look For an Income Stream
#1 Be Thrifty
Tom teases me a lot calling me the stingiest person he knows. For example, in my backpack, I always have instant coffee or bags of tea stashed in the side pockets just so I don’t have to spend $3 on a cup of coffee. I budget endlessly and try to save money in every way I can. While we have a steady flow of income coming in from our blog, being thrifty has helped me stay on the road for longer. Remember though, there is being thrifty but there is also being cheap and being impractical. I would never NOT leave a tip as I appreciate the hard work that people in the service industry do. I would also never sacrifice not eating well just so I can save a couple of bucks. There is a line between beings stingy and being uncomfortable and unhappy. When traveling, think of cutting out little expenses and you will be surprised at how they add up in the end. When on the road, especially if we are in one place for a long time, we always rent places with kitchens so we can save money instead of eating out all the time- plus cooking at home is a lot healthier too! See the photo of me below? That was me eating a sandwich near the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Instead of spending $6-7 each for a meal in a restaurant, we went to the local grocery and bought bread, cheese, and prosciutto. BOOM, $2 lunch for two.
#2 Learn How to Master the Art of Travel Hacking
When traveling, transportation is usually always the biggest expense. While you can easily get by in countries like Thailand for $20 a day, the flight to get to Thailand is another story. Thankfully, the internet has TONS of articles on travel hacking and how you can find great deals. Nowadays, you can even fly for practically free thanks to air miles and credit cards. However, our personal secret to booking cheap flights and scoring amazing deals is scouring flight comparison sites like Skyscanner. Through Skyscanner, we’ve managed to get $30 flights to Amsterdam, $800 flights to the USA and South America and other ridiculously crazy deals. We’ve also booked tickets on a whim using their Fly to Everywhere and map feature. The app also has lots of good deals especially when finding cheap flights from the US to Europe.
Editor’s Note: Download the SkyScanner App and you’ll see what I mean about cheap flights!
#3 Alternative Travel
Another way to stay on the road for longer is to look for alternative ways on how to travel. Websites like Couchsurfing, Wwoofing, Trustedhousesitters.com, Mindmyhouse.com have become the new trend to help make travel more affordable. For a place to sleep at night, you can volunteer your time by working in a farm, entertaining your host (I always cook for my CS hosts), or even volunteering to take care of pets! The internet and modern day technology has helped make travel so much more affordable! My point is, get creative when it comes to stretching out your budget. If you want more information and tips on what tools and websites we use, you can check out our travel resources page which is a list of all the companies we use on a daily basis. We have friends who have traveled all over the world saving thousands and thousands of dollars on accommodation all by housesitting!
#4 Develop Your Skills & Use Them
Traveling long term is the perfect time to develop and learn new skills. Are you a great photographer? Why not trade your time and approach hotels and hostels? Speak to restaurants about taking drool-worthy food shots for menus in exchange for meals. Are you a good graphic designer? Approach hostels and offer to re-do their website for free accommodations. As soon as we started traveling, both Tom and I have taught ourselves various skills which we think would eventually come in handy. I taught myself social media management, writing, and digital marketing. Tom has taught himself how to code, manage websites, sales and email marketing. While traveling is meant for seeing the world, it is also about self-discovery and trying to be the best version of yourself. Pick a skill that you are interested in and teach yourself everything and anything that there is to know about it. Take it to the next level and use those skills to help leverage you complimentary stays and meals.
#5 Travel Slow
The biggest secret to be able to travel for longer is to learn how to travel slow. Be flexible with your travel dates and look at alternate routes. Opt for buses, slow boats, and van rides instead of quick flights. While it is most often than not convenient, traveling is about the journey getting to one place…so yeah, that includes long 30-hour bus rides. When it comes to flying, get creative. Add stopovers, check the prices of one-way tickets, look at alternative airports. We also realized that it’s actually cheaper to stay in a place for longer rather than just breezing through. To this date, we’ve lived in Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Ecuador. In each place, it was cheaper to rent an apartment for a month rather than just stay for a couple of days. In Chiang Mai, our apartment (in the photo below) costs a whopping $230 a month. Oh did I tell you that came with a pool and a gym? #winning
#6 Travel to Cheap and Affordable Travel Destinations
While $1000 will probably last you a month in Europe and North America, it can last you two months in Asia. If you’re really tight on money and want to travel for longer, choose your destinations based on their affordability. Spending less time in big cities and exploring lesser-known off the beaten path places can also save you heaps of money, allowing you to stay on the road for longer. Planning your trips around budget destinations just helps make sure that you won’t be scrimping on every single penny.
#7 Make the Most of Free Activities
Another big expense that you can save on while traveling are tours and activities. While I would never say scrimp on these things as they are all part of the experience of traveling, be smart about it! Make the most out of free walking tours, hikes around the area, free diving, snorkeling, walks on the beach, etc. There are so many free activities that you can do in each place that you will barely feel like you are missing out. In all honestly, we are very lucky in this end as we usually collaborate with various companies to go on various adventures. In return, we provide them with honest reviews and coverage on our site. This works well for the companies as we do our best to promote and market them and it works well for us as we get to go on awesome free adventures (like paragliding, trekking through the Amazon Jungle, and even scuba diving with sharks!).
#8 Cut Down on Common Travel Expenses
When on the road for a long time, learn how to get around on basic travel expenses. Pack light so you don’t have to spend on airline luggage. Learn the public transportation system instead of taking taxis everywhere. Eat street food over meals in restaurants. Take advantage of free museum days and activities. Make friends with locals and find out ways on how they save on money!
#9 Mindset Matters
If you want to travel for longer, another top tip is to have the right mindset. Be willing to get creative and resourceful, and put yourself out there. Long term travel isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure. But if you ever find yourself bitten by the travel bug with no intentions to stop, stretching out your budget and finding ways to travel for longer is possible!
#10 Look For an Income Stream
Last but not least, while this probably deserves an entire post of its own, the only reason why we have been able to travel for this long is because we were also working along the way. For us, it was this blog that kept us traveling, but it doesn’t mean it has to be the same for everyone. Some people work in hostels, other people teach English, others have blogs, others work as yoga teachers. Believe it or not, there are a million and one ways to make money while on the road. Working while you travel will not only help extend your travel budget but will also help you improve and learn skills you didn’t even know you had.
When we first started this blog, we knew nothing about blogging, websites, and the online world in general. Now, we have employees working full time for us and we are also about to launch our app, Get Stoked! Our blog now brings in anything from $3000-5000 a month, allowing us to comfortably travel and work from anywhere in the world. While this still isn’t mega money, the fact that we can work from wherever we want to, makes it the best job in the world for us. Not only has starting a blog changed our lives (turning us into start-up owners and entrepreneurs) it has also helped us travel for longer. If you want to learn how to start your own blog, check out the link below! We have created a step-by-step guide to help people like you start your own blog.
Read: How to Start a Travel Blog (and make money!)
Nowadays, as long as you have a computer, you can freelance and work from anywhere in the world. Places like Fiverr allows you to do menial tasks like editing, translating, and even basic graphic design. Etsy, Society 6 allows you to sell handmade items and prints from anywhere in the world. If you like social media, you can also consider becoming a VA and managing various social media accounts for blogs and brands.
After reading books like the $100 start up or the 4-Hour Work Week, you will be amazed to see how easy it is to actually start your own business- even while traveling on the road! In Chiang Mai, most of the people there work online and you will be AMAZED at the variety of jobs that they do. From selling e-books, digital courses, drop shipping, etc. My point is, diversifying and finding another income stream is not as hard as you think.
P.S. I’m going to put a shameless plug here and say we just launched our own Adventure Guides to Southeast Asia. We are BEYOND excited- go check it out!
Hopefully, you’ve picked up a few good tips or two to help you travel for smarter, cheaper, and longer! See you on the road.
Looking for more inspiration? Check our other related articles:
- Do I Travel to Escape Life?
- Why I decided to Travel the World in my 20’s
- 20 of the Best Travel Hacks
- How to Find Cheap Flights to Anywhere