A common misconception many people have is that travel is only for the wealthy. I would love to hear the ways that you all have been able to fund your travels.
Great question and it is true that many people believe you need to have lots of money to travel. When we started full-time travel people asked us, seriously, if we'd won the lottery. No, we hadn't and although we were/are debt-free, we only had our modest savings.
We may not stay in 5-star hotels and resorts a lot of the time, but I think the belief that luxury is needed for a great trip is slowly being replaced with experiential travel and really getting to know local life.
To fund our travels, we look to freelance work online - there are many freelance writing sites, or task sites such as Fiver, AirTasker and the like. If you have something you can sell online, a writing, design or computer skill, craft, talent, chances are there's a site that will pay you something for it.
We've also started to look into workaway.info, although we have yet to participate in a project yet - where you exchange weekly work for accommodations and sometimes meals are included.
Housesitting is another great thing we've started doing. Again, you exchange your services for accommodations but usually you are taking care of someone's pets or property. They have housesits around the world and we are anxious to continue this throughout our travels.
Travel doesn't have to be expensive all the time.
There are also ways we've found to save money on our travels or save money while travelling in order to reduce our daily expenses and prolong our travels or allow us some added luxuries from time to time:
1. Eating wisely - we tend to find local restaurants, street vendors and even grocery stores that have cheaper options than the touristy restaurants or upscale dining options. Not only do we save money, we get to taste some amazing local cuisine.
2. Accommodation hunting - we check several sites - booking.com, hotels.com, airbnb, priceline.com, etc to find the best deals for where we want to stay. We often look for places that offer the most bonuses for our money: breakfast, coffee and tea, etc. This also leads us to a free accommodation site:
3. Couchsurfing - we're new to couchsurfing and have only a handful of stays under our belts but we love this option because yes, it's a free stay and most hosts hate when that's a guests' primary consideration, but it offers so much more. You are able to stay with locals or expats and get a feel for where you are, learn about hidden local hotspots and experience a different side of a country. (you can also connect to people and just meet up if they are unable to host and learn a lot about a place that way).
4. Walking - we walk A LOT. Generally transportation doesn't cost too much in most places but by walking we do save a little bit of money AND get to have some of the best sightseeing for free!
There's a lot more we do to fund our travels and save on expenses, but these are definitely some of our top ways!
Honestly? It's not a popular answer, but - my parents. Without them, I would never have been able to visit 90% of the places I've gone. They took me on many trips as a child (as well as a few trips as an adult), paid for my college education (including a semester abroad), let me live with them for several years after I graduated to save on rent, and always encourage me to travel.
As for the 10% I've managed on my own, I try to find ways to both make more money and save the little I do have. I've run a successful Etsy shop, and have taken on freelance projects and additional hours at work to help pay for my trips. I've gone without things some people would deem necessities, the most glaring example being health care, but also things like winter boots or a smartphone.
Once I had enough to spend on a significant trip, I applied for a rewards card that came with 40K bonus points and put most of my travel expenses on it, earning a couple of free flights. Finally, I often plan trips to places where I have friends, which brings down costs significantly. I've gotten to see San Francisco, Cairo, and Rio de Janeiro thanks to friends who've offered me a place to stay.
For me working online has been key. Much of the last ten years I have been able to see the world while also keeping a steady income through remote work. With such a set up there are really no limits to how far or how long one can travel for.
I think the most suitable jobs for full-time travellers (regardless of whether they work for others or for themselves) are those that offer the maximum flexibility and require only a laptop and an internet connection point – where deliverables and paychecks can all be submitted online. Examples include the creation of website content, editing reports, handling graphic design assignments, computer programming, selling products on eBay, stock trading, translations, digital film editing, and freelance and/or journalistic writing.
Other ideas on how to fund one's travels can be found at http://www.worldleap.co/resources/ and http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-tips/working-overseas/.
I hope that helps! :-)
I'm glad there are so many answers here, many people talk about how to save money but not where the cash flow comes from and it's good to be honest as sometimes you can't fathom how so many people have disposable income to travel!
I'm barely what you could consider a part-time traveller, taking between 1-5 trips a year and usually not that far from home but it's still a passion of mine. My husband and I are what you would consider working class and often live paycheque to paycheque in lower salaried jobs with (gasp!) no emergency fund. As much as I know I could be smarter with my money I decided a few years ago to pick up a part-time job on top of my full-time job. I am still relatively young and married with no kids which makes this crazy schedule easier to manage. I take every cent from my part-time work and it goes into my travel fund. Recently I wanted to take a longer trip, 2 months in SE Asia which meant nearly 2 years of no travelling to save up for this trip. It also takes a lot of cost cutting and living super frugally. I rarely buy clothes, I cut my own hair and have to turn down dinners out with friends more often then I'd like but it's all about priorities and when I travel I spend a long time working with budgets and researching the cheapest options. Hard work but worth it for a lifetime of memories :)
A lot of foreigners come to travel Bhutan by volunteering with government agencies and NGOs. They provide you with accomodation and a decent salary to get by.
I worked part time in reservations at an airline for five years and waited tables on call for a hotel for ten years. Now my job is a wedding photographer specializing in offbeat weddings, so I get to travel.
Sometimes I will offer cash for my friend's miles, especially if the ticket is over $1000, I will offer $1000-- someone will take that CASH!! or tag along on someone else's business trip!
When I do travel for my business, I always add on extra days!!
Keep your change! Me and the wife were bar tenders for many years and acquired a lot of change.we saved it in 5 gallon jugs and In one year we had $1600 in change! That was nice to have for a month long trip in Spain and Morocco.
The best habit I've formed is to always ask myself before an non-necessary purchase: Do I want this, or do I want to travel? It's saved me an incredible amount of money because I almost always want to travel more than I want the thing-du-jour.
People snipe at us passive-aggressively with trash like, "Oh must be nice to have all that money to travel with," but it always comes from people who make no more than us, but who clearly don't value travel as much.
Here are some things that help us:
* We don't drink much. Alcohol is SO expensive. We like cocktails and beer, but we're just not in the habit of going out for drinks or drinking much at home.
* We have a travel savings account. Any little windfalls get channeled right into that.
* Buying clothing infrequently. When we buy clothes, we don't buy throwaway things, which are cheap upfront but end up costing you because they never last.
* I use travel rewards credit cards. However, it should be noted that I never build up a greater balance than what I can immediately pay off.
* Saving a regular chunk of money on each payday.
* I don't want or mean to be snotty about it, but use your common sense. Keep an eye on your money and what you do with it. Develop a conscience about things like eating out.
We save for our travels with a "Christmas Club" style account with our bank. We have a certain amount taken from every pay check and every two years we have a nice chunk of cash to spend on our "big trip". So far we have done extended trips to England and Costa Rica. We do plenty of shorter trips as well, but this ensures we don't put our most expensive travels on a credit card.
I went on a volunteer trip for a month to Costa Rica and I was able to get a grant for part of the cost, definitely helped! If you're looking at doing any kind of studying/volunteering scholarships and grants are great help.
Something I like to do is buy currency for the place I am headed to when it is a good rate. It's a great way to save for spending money or hotels you haven't paid for yet because you can't spend it without going back to convert it again.
Generally, as soon as I get home from one trip I am usually always looking for the best deals to take another one. Shopping for deals is ALWAYS worth while -- flexibility is key though. It also helps to have loyalty memberships, they are free to join and they can pay off. I use hotels.com for almost every booking I make and it's great because they price match and every 10 nights you get one free -- they add up quick! If you take a 2 week vacation and booked all nights on hotels.com you already have a free night waiting for your next trip! Miles are also great, even if you can't save enough for a flight you can usually trade them in for hotel vouchers or major attraction tickets.
It's all about finding your comfort zone and type of activities you want to do while traveling. Might sound unbelievable, but in some cases to travel, especially for a long time, can be actually cheaper than to stay where you live because basic necessities like food, shelter, and transportation are way cheaper in foreign country than in your home country. Yes, initially you might pay a lot for flight ticket and travel insurance, but even for flights you can have many times sweet deals.
I always calculate what I call "clear cost of vacation". This is simply all the money I spent on my trip minus what I would be spending on average during the same time being at home (grocery shopping, gasoline, bars&restaurants, cell phone charges if it's prepaid plan, gym,...). It's even cheaper if you are young and don't have a lot of personal stuff so you can maybe move out of rental apartment, store your stuff in your parents basement and save few months worth of rental money. If you are a freelancer working with your computer even better. What difference does it make if you are coding in some village on the coast in Guatemala or Los Angeles as long as you get your job done? Something called geographic arbitrage.
Another thing is people many times picture vacation as some exotic place with stay in a polished hotel with full service and don't even know what they have behind their backyard. I can spend camping, kayaking, hiking and fishing May-September in Canada where I live every year and always different place for the rest of my life and will not see everything. Not even mentioning that I will have a lot of fun for a very reasonable price.
I moved abroad after graduation with only $700 to my name and I've been traveling ever since! I recently hit my 5 year anniversary and wrote up a huge "How I did it" recap here:
I've worked on a reality tv show in Singapore, taught English in France and China, and worked as a journalist at international sports events. Travel is definitely not only for the wealthy, if you're willing to branch out and try new things :)
I wrote a post on my blog on how to travel without being a millionaire (http://bit.ly/1eBdyvn). Additionally find some ways to save money before you're heading out in the world (http://bit.ly/1GhoUSK). You can also have a look at my Work around the world series (Work Exchange, Paid Jobs, Work Online, Volunteering) if you're interested: http://bit.ly/1NOgVvE.
Travel definitely doesn't need to be expensive. Just make it your priority and you'll find a way to afford it.
A lot of people have brought up some really good points, but I feel the freelance work isn't an option for everyone. What if you have a very demanding full-time job as is; or your field of expertise isn't exactly something you can freelance (say if you are a mechanical engineer, what type of freelance work can you find?). I wouldn't put too much thought into finding an extra source of income unless it's going to be an on-going gig (think of how your boss might feel if you're just working for 6 weeks to fund a trip, then he/she has to find someone else).
In all honesty, I think the key is just save. Cut back on things that aren't a necessity in order to fund a trip. If you like going out to eat, maybe cut down on that for a few weeks; maybe you drink the coffee at your office, or make your own at home instead of hitting Starbucks twice a week. All those little savings adds up.
Well, me! My savings are those that fund my travels. I've been working since I was 19 and saved a lot since I stayed with my parents until age 30 (!)
Even know I try to save as much as I can in order to fund my trips!
I carefully budget all my money! I work as a waitress, and I make really good tips, in cash, and I budget all of it.
I don't go out to the bar every weekend, I do a lot of free stuff, I cook delicious foods at home, and I also wrote an article on my blog called; My "How I Manage to Travel Around the World Working Only 2-3 Days as a Waitress" System, that has the rest of my secrets on it! (: You can read that here
The simple economic reveals the basic fundamental food, clothing and shelter. But when we replicate the same in Tourism , it can be revealed as Food, Nature and People, Iam very sure we all travel lovers appreciate the basic.
A very perfect planning in terms of continent you wish to travel, further the destination, duration and the season will give a clear financial requirement.
Off season is always cheaper than the seasonal travel for any destination, i always suggest the beginning of travel season to any destination will have control on our saving on the actual budget.
I have seen people approaching bank loan for their travel needs for Europe and USA holidays, which can be covered in less than two years.