Long-term budget travel…how to fund and sustain it.
Here’s how the conversation usually goes:
Fellow traveler: Ah, you’re a long-term budget traveler, me too.
Me: Nice, how long have you been on the road for?
Fellow traveler: I’ve been traveling for 7 months on this trip, It’s nearly time to go home and back to work. What about you how long have you been traveling for?
Me: A little bit longer, I’ve been traveling since 2010.
Fellow traveler: Ah, so you must be like me, go home, work and travel again?
Me: No actually I slow budget travel, I just roam the world.
Fellow traveler: WHAT! HOW?…Is that even possible? How can you sustain and fund long-term budget travel like that?
It’s a conversation I’ve had on a regular basis and a question on so many lips. It’s something that pops up not just with other travelers but with friends back home and even family members. Some people just can’t fathom how long-term budget travel is sustainable.
Nup I’m not a millionaire…No I didn’t get a family inheritance…no my family are not funding me.
So how can you sustain long-term budget travel?
The truth is, It’s not as hard as you may think. There are so many options out there for us now, we live in the digital age, we live in a world where traveling is more accessible than ever before.
Over the year’s there’s been different ways that I’ve been able to sustain long-term budget travel. Don’t worry I’m not a drug trafficker or anything; although I’m sure some people are convinced that I am.
So if you’re looking to long-term budget travel but not sure how it’s feasible, let me show you.
Working holiday visas:
A working holiday visa is one of the most popular ways to start with long-term budget travel. It allows you to work as you travel, the visa is available in a number of countries all over the world and available for people between 18-31. (Sucks after you become 31)
So how does it work? Well in a nutshell, with a working holiday visa, you’re allowed to be in the country for a year in most cases (Sometimes you can apply for a 2nd year.) During your time in the country you are allowed to work in full-time employment for a single company for up to 6 months. Technically you’re only supposed to supplement your travels but in reality you’ll work as much as you can.
There is no limit on what type of work you can do, so you can apply for and work in any job that suits your skills. So that could be office work, sales, restaurant or bar work, laboring, or if you have skills in a specific niche. Basically any job you did back home you can apply for.
Personally at first I didn’t want to work in the same field as I did back home so I just looked at other options when my funds ran dry. The beauty of having a working holiday visa you can just work to top up your fund so you can just work here and there as you’re moving along. It wasn’t until my second year that I decided to go back into my field of work where I worked for a single company for the maximum of 6 months.
second year option:
Some countries will allow you to apply for a second year extension depending what country you are from (mainly between commonwealth countries and agreements between countries). It depends what country you’re in on how you can get your send year. For example if you want a second year in Australia you have to undertake 3 months rural work, while in other countries you can apply directly for a second year once proving you have enough funds to continue your stay.
Volunteering is such a great way to experience traveling, giving you a completely different experience of local culture. Not only will it help prolong your travels but it can fill you with such a sense of accomplishment knowing that you’ve helped make a difference.
There is such an abundance of choices when it comes to volunteering abroad; there are so many organisations that offer all kinds of options. Organisations like HelpX or workaways can help partner you with local families or certain projects. You can choose to live with a local family, help with day-to-day work, work on farms, wildlife conservation’s, marine conservation’s, community building projects, and so much more on offer.
Being able to speak English in a foreign countries is a massive plus if you’re looking to work and the best way to put your English to work is to teach.
Like with Volunteering there are so many different types of options on offer. Different countries will have different requirements for travelers wanting to teach; like different levels of qualifications and experience.
In some countries, you don’t actually have to be a qualified teacher back home. In these cases you can obtain TEFL qualifications which you can complete online.
Although I’ve never taught myself, I have met a lot of fellow long-term travelers who fell in love with teaching. These are people who never considered teaching before hand but wanted to prolong their travels and once they started found that they loved it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Sometimes you don’t have to look for work while you travel, you can simply just take your work with you. We live in the digital age, almost all of our work is done through the internet, so many jobs can be done remotely.
I can’t give much information on this as I’m not a digital nomad; I’m just a nomad. However I do know there are plenty of fields that allow you to be one like IT, IT developers, website design, online marketing, online business owners, graphic designers, SEO consultants, writers, photographers, freelancers and probably a lot more than I know of.
I even met a guy in Nicaragua who was working remotely for an American based tele-marketing company. He would simply put in 4-6 hours every other day on the hostel computer, use a mobile provided by his company and make his calls. This was a traveler who hadn’t stepped foot in America for more than 5 years.
Of course if there is anybody in the position to be called a professional travel blogger (I’m not there yet) they would also be considered a digital nomad.
Casual work for long-term budget travel.
One of the biggest lessons you learn as a long-term budget traveler is to always keep an open-mind. And, that also applies to finding some casual work from time to time. So many countries around the world now cater towards travelers and especially budget travelers. Hostels, backpacker bars, budget tours are in abundance and picking up casual work is not hard.
It’s not hard as long as you can keep an open mind and willing to check your pride at the door. What I mean is sometimes as a long-term budget traveler there will be times you have to do some less than glamorous work; trust me I’ve had more than my fair share.
You can work in hostels on reception, or as a cleaner, work with tour companies in exchange for free tours, pick up casual bar work, promo work, even just glass collecting. With casual work, sometimes you will get paid cash in hand, other times it will be in exchange for free rent or food.
There have been times when I’ve had no money but the hostel manager has been able to get me some casual work so I could cover rent and have food.
Other options for long-term budget travel:
Make and sell trinkets or ornaments.
As you can see there are plenty of options and ways to sustain long-term budget travel. However I have to stress I do not condone those people who run out of money and put videos on Social media asking strangers to send them money so they can continue their travels. These are the types of travelers that give the rest of us a bad reputation! If you get into that much of a hole, then it’s time for you to go home!
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