The Secret to Traveling Indefinitely

Traveling around the world is an expensive undertaking. The flights, accommodations, and fees all add up.Since I left for Thailand two years ago, I have realized that traveling indefinitely isn’t an impossible task. With the right tools, planning beforehand, and knowledge, it can actually be pretty simple.

Saving Money Beforehand

Saving money for travel can seem like a daunting task. It isn’t necessarily easy, but it can be done. They key is make travel a priority. I like to start by cutting out the trivial things I spend money on throughout my day. Whether it’s not buying that 4$ latte, or realizing you don’t actually need a luxury car, the key is to make travel a priority. These tips are simple, but can really make a difference if you do them for a period of time.

Set A Clear Financial Goal

For me, it really helps when I set a clear goal of exactly how much money I want to save in a period of time and how I will achieve it. I like to create a budget beforehand of exactly how much I will need to travel for x amount of months. For example, when I was budgeting for a 4 month trip through Southeast Asia, I budgeted about 1,500 per month. This actually turned out to be more than I needed, but it is always better to save more money than realize that you didn’t save enough when you get to your destination.

Create Inspiration 

I like to create a travel vision board that I see everyday. This can be as simple as cutting out magazine pictures of the places you would like visit, or quotes that inspire you. I created my vision board near my apartment door, so I see it when I leave. This helps me remember what my ultimate goal is, and remember to make smart financial choices throughout the day so that I can eventually achieve it.

Change Your Lifestyle

I’m not saying that you need to cut out all the luxuries in your life, but realize what things you don’t need. Some of the things I cut out when I am saving for travel are my morning coffee, weekly lunches with friends, and any unnecessary shopping trips. Instead of shopping for new clothes, I buy and sell my clothes at second-hand consignment shops so I can still treat myself to a ‘new’ outfit every once in a while. This may seem like an obvious choice, but it’s all about willpower and realizing that you are saving for an ultimate, more meaningful goal.

Jobs Abroad

So now you’re abroad. You’ve saved a lot of money, but obviously that money will run out eventually. Even if you were able to travel super cheaply by staying in hostels or couch-surfing, it would be near impossible to do this forever. The key to being able to traveling indefinitely is to work abroad. There are a couple of ways to support this lifestyle.

The first is to find jobs while you are traveling, such as farm work, working at a hostel, or picking up any hourly paid jobs that you can.  These jobs typically don’t pay much (or anything) but often offer free places to sleep and food. This can also be a great way to get to know locals and meet friends in your chosen country.

The second option is to do freelance, online work. If you have a background in writing, web design, programming, or any type of admin work, there are companies willing to pay for your services. Some great websites for this are Elance.com and Odesk.com. My friend in Thailand supplemented her income with freelance online writing, and was able to fund her trip back home because of it.

And the last, and I feel more sustainable option, is to get a long- term job abroad. There are many options for this, but the most common (and what I have done for the past 2 years), is to teach english. The job market for this is excellent, and you can find jobs almost anywhere. Daves ESL Cafe is a great resource.

Usually, the higher-paid jobs have a lot less vacation time, but the lower paying jobs offer easier hours and more vacation time. I have found this while working in Korea. Although I am getting paid a lot more than I was in Thailand, I have less vacation time and free-time to travel. However, this is a perfect way to save money. Expats that I have met that are able to travel use this to their advantage. They save up money from a highly-paid teaching jobs, and then move to a country with a lower cost of living and more vacation time. That way, they are able to use their money from their higher paid job to travel, while using the money from their lower paid job to pay for their basic needs and enjoying the longer vacation times.

I hope you found this helpful! Do you have any tips and tricks for saving money, or maintaining a traveling lifestyle? Let me know in the comments below.

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11 thoughts

  1. It’s not a massive one, but money tin – I swear by this and always will! We leave a money tin on our kitchen bench, and every day we empty our coins into it – it’s just change we’d have spent on crap like chocolate or coffee, and change we don’t miss, but it adds up to lots of spending money!

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  2. Ah my previous reply didn’t make it 🙂 Here goes again.

    This is just what I needed to read Kate! Thank you for reminder me that I need to save to go explore the globe! It’s a wake up call sometimes that I don’t need a lot of stuff. I’m moving to a smaller appartement next month to save some extra money. Hooray for me!

    Do you think that it’s possible for a not native English speaker to get a teaching job in Asia? I’m currently a teacher in Belgium (I’ve got my bachelor degree in education).

    Love,

    Stéphanie

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    1. In Thailand and other SE Asia countries it is definitely possible! I had several friends from different countries in Europe teaching in Thailand. In Korea, I believe you have to be a native english speaker. Good luck! 🙂

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  3. I have to agree with Jess above, I’ve got myself a money jar too! My boyfriend keeps stealing quarters out of it for laundry, but that’s neither here nor there. 😉

    How did you come up with your budget before you left? I think that’s honestly a HUGE thing holding me back. I feel like I need to be over-prepared moneywise (even though through that I’m making an obstacle for myself) and so I’m lost!

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  4. One huge thing that I think a lot of people miss is cooking your own food. Whether you’re saving money in advance or living cheap on the road. Also cutting out snack food saves a ton. You can even eat really really well on food you cooked with cheap simple ingredients and snack away on things you made. I’ve lived for a week on less money then many folks spend on a single dinner!

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  5. Thanks for the info Kate! I’m currently working as a travel nurse so I was thinking about one day doing a year abroad and I agree it seems like the long term job option is a good idea! From my experience, going shopping with locals who knows the market price (like a hostel worker) is a great way to make sure you you don’t get ripped off so you can stretch every penny!

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