I have been getting a lot of emails from you guys asking how it is that I fund my travels and how it is that I can do it for months and months. I will tell you how I did it and trust me it is easier and cheaper than you might think. I have been interviewing several travel bloggers and have met many people throughout my travels that I have collected valuable and honest information that will open up your eyes to reality.
Traveling is not entirely free to anyone, most if not all travelers have to pay for their travels believe it or not. Of course there are many that might get some hookups at hotels, tours or restaurants every once in a while or for some maybe most of the time; there are some who might even get some free flights, complimentary stays and some upgrades. Certain tourism offices particularly will choose certain travel bloggers and writers to come out to conferences or to come out to their country and write about it which is a great opportunity. But I have found that most of the people who actually travel nonstop for free are the ones who have a job in the business, like independent travelers for travel agencies, magazine contributors, editors etc. For all the rest of us who are traveling with no set job there is of course some freelancing which can become very helpful in terms of earning some money along the way but this could get a bit tricky because whether you want to or not “you get sucked back into working and making it a priority” as a blogger put it.
There are many out there that make it look like they are traveling for free but I have found it not to be true, most people save up money or work while traveling. From the travelers I’ve met who are freelancing they are not moving as much as I am, they stay at certain countries for months or years and then move onto another country and so on. As a writer I recently met told me, “it’s hard to keep up the time difference, all your activities, the friends you make along the way and then there’s the wi-fi problem. You have to dedicate your days some days to find a good connection”. So it is possible of course but I think it’s a different experience, I think that even though you are traveling you are still tied down to having to work, to having to sacrifice other experiences or hanging out with people you meet because you absolutely must turn something in. I am not saying it’s a bad thing, if it’s the only way I could afford travel then yes definitely but right now my idea behind the trip is to take some time off, to see the world and enjoy every single second of it. Which is why as you can see, my posts aren’t very constant :S oops.
I’ve also met several traveler bloggers who have awesome blogs and get paid to write reviews or articles for certain companies, get complimentary stays and tours in exchange for promotion on the blogs or work for companies that pay for information on certain countries or cities. The bloggers/writers I’ve met, however, are always stressed out about having to post on the blog and having to write a review and having to do this and that because they are getting paid to do so and that’s exactly what I didn’t want, I didn’t want my trip to revolve around having to do stuff to do it was completely the opposite, I wanted to have the freedom to make each day an adventure and follow wherever it took me, whether it was a flight to a new destination, hanging out with new friends, a date, whatever it was. But when the money runs out I am sure I will have to figure out a way to stay afloat and there are so many options out there that I am positive in won’t be a problem. For now, I am still good for some more months to travel around the world.
I myself am not working while traveling, I am simply enjoying the trip and not stressing over work at all I am just spending money, literally! My bank account just keeps going down But it has all been worth it. In these past four months I have not worked at all nor have I received any money I have just been smart about budgeting and spending. Now, how did I do it? Easy.. I saved up some money. Just like the olden days where you would work really hard to get what you wanted. I locked myself up in my home for a year, almost literally; I would keep my same lifestyle but I would only do things that would be free like going to beach, running, hiking, trekking, visiting friends etc. I wouldn’t go out because that would involve drinking or an expensive meal, I would rarely eat out, I wouldn’t even go to the movies. I stuck to staying at home as much as possible and having friends over instead. I found ways to cut back on my expenses; planted a veggie garden so I wouldn’t have to spend so much on produce, used public transportation or my bicycle instead of driving, cut back on cable, Netflix, Hulu and all of those guys, cancelled any cards or memberships that involved and annual fee, lowered my electricity and water bills and made my home as efficient as possible. I also looked for ways to make money like tutoring, selling my clothes on eBay or swap meets, selling my furniture and home accessories on Craigslist, sold my car, sold anything I didn’t absolutely need and I then I also bought items that I could resell and make some money out of in flea markets. By the end of the year I had a substantial amount on my bank account that would allow me for at least a six month trip. After that it went into a solid research of earning points and miles with credit cards and signed up for some of them as well and this helped with one of my major expenses. This is just the way I approached my year of saving at it involved a year of research as well, on how other travelers had done it, on how to save money while traveling, on which places where good for budget travelers and what not. There is a lot of information available to us out there and we must take advantage of it.
I think some bloggers have let it all get to their heads to be honest, the whole point of having a travel blog or journal for people to follow is to show others the world, to inspire others to travel and to show not only our own perspective of the world but the people’s we meet along the way as well. I met a one travel blogger who wouldn’t even respond to emails she received from fellow travelers or people asking for tips because “they wanted stuff for free” she said, she wasn’t going to waste her time in responding to an email or giving out free info that she could be paid for. I couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth, what happened to enjoying travel and wanting others to experience it as well. These bloggers have turned around-the-world travel into a business instead of it being the experience of freedom,of wanderlust, cultures, meeting people and giving/receiving love. Same for the people who will write reviews of places or services they haven’t even been to or given it a try themselves but will write about anyways so they can get money out of it. This could potentially ruining the experience for many of us, to the blogger it might just be some words she/he put in as a review but for us, their followers, well it could be a horrible or dangerous stay. Of course, I can’t generalize this is just the experience I have had with bloggers and writers along the way and I myself have been offered to money to review places I haven’t been to or services I haven’t even tried but I have declined of course, I wouldn’t someone doing that to me and I wouldn’t do it you guys.. just FYI
Please don’t travel to make money out of it, travel because you want to do it, save up some money and go. I swear that once you are on the road the money will subsist, you will learn to budget and extend your trip as much as possible and then there are always other options when the money runs out. Travel for as long as you can whether it’s a month or 12 months, you won’t realize how easier it gets to budget and travel on the cheap until you are actually on the road.
Here are a few links you can follow in order to extend that dollar of yours:
Through WOOFing you are volunteering to work on organic farms in different countries like Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia and Canada just to name a few but there is a total of 99 countries available at a low-cost of $35USD to sign up. This is a way of saving thousands of dollars when traveling around the world because your housing and meals are set up for you at no cost, all you have to do is work. It’s a good way to take a little break from traveling in the cities I think and you will learn a lot from farming along the way.
Follow link for more info on WWOOF
2. Volunteer for an NGO
There are several websites you can find information of where and how to volunteer for an NGO in the country of your choosing. This is an amazing way of saving money because not only are you in another country and are saving money you are learning so much from the people you are working with and working for. Working for NGO’s requires more direct involvement with the communities which I think is the most valuable experience of all.
Here are some websites to check out:
www.leaveurmark.com for opportunities in India
3. Volunteer at conservancy agencies or disaster relief
Here are some websites to check out
4. Teach English abroad
This is the number one option for most travelers because it is the one opportunity where you can actually get paid in many cases if not your room and board is taken care of and it’s an easy way to get by. It’s a fun job and there’s not much work required on your end, you can assist the teacher or tutor for certain hours a day so it will also give you more freedom on a schedule of your choosing. There are MANY options out there, please google the particular countries you are heading out to and opportunities for teaching there.
You can look into WorkAwayto get a job while traveling in several countries; there are opportunities from farming, working at hostels, teaching and volunteering as well.
Follow link for more info WorkAway