Long-term budget travel…how to 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: 3 Months this time, it’s been a long one so time to go home and back reality. 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’ve been continuously traveling, living, working and roaming around the world since 2010. 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?
Me: There are lots of options if you look into them.
This has been a regular conversation I’ve had over the years. It pops up all the time and it’s not just from other travelers but the more I’ve traveled it gets asked by family members. Some people can’t fathom how long-term budget travel is sustainable but I’ll show you how if I can do it, so can you.
(NOTE: I traveled, lived and worked around the world from 2010 -2017 continuously, only returning to England (home) for short breaks. In 2017 I finally got tired of traveling and took a sabbatical from traveling to try normal life out. It didn’t work out and started traveling again in May 2018).
This post is for those of you who want to learn how to sustain long-term budget travel if you are just a holiday taker, short-term traveler or somebody that goes on breaks here and thee, this post is not applicable for you.
How can you sustain long-term budget travel for years on end?
Here’s the thing, it can be done, – No don’t worry I’m not going to say all you need is your laptop and to start a travel blog and the millions will start rolling in, I mean who would even want to be a travel blogger?
No, but seriously the biggest thing you need to be able to sustain long-term budget travel is the want, desire, and mentality to keep it up. This post shows you the mechanics needed to maintain long-term budget travel.
And I say that because, yes we do live in the digital age, yes you can work remotely with just your laptop but we all know it’s not so simple for most people. I for one, have zero qualifications or any technical knowledge to do any IT/software related jobs – you should see the number of things I’ve had to google what I googled to get this website where it is.
However what I do have is the want and desire to travel as long as I can, and between 2010 and 2017, I couldn’t think of anything worse than returning home. So, if you’re the same and wonder what kind of jobs you can do and how you sustain it too, I will show you.
Working Holiday Visa
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 a country for a year in most cases (Sometimes you can apply for the 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
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 organizations 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 country 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 beforehand but wanted to prolong their travels and once they started finding that they loved it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
With the age we live in, teaching isn’t just restricted to classrooms, you can teach online to children anywhere in the world, most notably China.
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.
If you have the skill set if you’re already in the profession or field then if you have the desire to do it take your work on the road with you.
The most common type of remote and freelancer jobs are IT developers, website design, online marketing, online business owners, graphic designers, SEO consultants, writers, photographers, freelancers and plenty of other options.
I even met a guy in Nicaragua who worked remotely for an American based telemarketing 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.
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 find 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, manual labor, odd-jobs, 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.
Homestays and housesitting.
“Homestay is a popular form of accommodation whereby visitors stay in a house or apartment of a local of the city to which they are traveling. The length of stay can vary from one night to even a year and can be for free, in exchange for monetary compensation, in exchange for a stay at the guest’s property either simultaneously or at another time, or in exchange for help on the host‘s property. It is sometimes used by people who wish to improve their language skills, immerse in a particular culture, or become familiar with the local lifestyle.” (source: Wikipedia)
House sitting is the practice whereby a landlord (or “homeowner”), leaving their house for a period of time, entrusts it to one or more “house-sitters”, who by a mutual agreement are entitled to live there rent-free in exchange for assuming responsibilities such as taking care of the homeowner’s pets, performing general maintenance (including pools, lawns, air-conditioning systems etc.), keeping trespassers off the property, readdressing the mail, and in general, making sure that everything runs smoothly just as if the owner was at home. (Source Wikipedia)
Work in your profession
Another option is to take what you already know and apply for jobs overseas. If you want to travel long-term but don’t think you can do any of the others mentioned above you can look for a country you want to travel, and do some research if they have a need for your people in your current position, apply for the jobs and go.
With this option, obviously you will be based in one place more, work for as long as you want whether that be one month, 6 months or years and on whilst your working take short breaks to explore the country.
Other options for long-term budget travel:
Make and sell trinkets or ornaments.
If there’s a want there’s a way
As you can see from this post if you have a want to make traveling long-term happen then you will find a way for it to happen. Here’s the thing, long-term budget traveling can be difficult, it can be a grind, and it isn’t always glamorous but the rewards you get out of it will change you and your way of thinking.
There may be some of you reading this and saying I could never do this, it’s too risky, that you need the security – Well if then Long-term budget travel isn’t for you. However, If you do want to do it, then any of the options above will help you out.
Did you find this post on sustaining long-term budget travel helpful? Let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to know.
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