(Last Updated On: June 17, 2018)

Long-term budget travel…how to sustain it.

long-term budget travel

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.

long-term budget travel

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

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.

For more information on how to participate in volunteering projects see here Workaways  Volunteering abroad

long-term budget travel

Teaching

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.

long-term budget travel

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.

For more information on teaching abroad check here TEFLTeach away.

Digital Nomad

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.

Long-term budget travel

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.

Here is a great article on how to become a digital nomad. by Johannes Voelkner, a digital nomad from Germany and owner of web-work-travel

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:

Studying abroad.

Work sponsorship.

Make and sell trinkets or ornaments.

Busking.

House-sitting.

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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  1. I’ve been travelling and working at the same time from the past 6 years. I agree. There are so much choices now than before. Also, I would recommend not to limit yourself to teaching English or IT related jobs if you don’t like it. I love travelling but I also love the corporate world. I thought it was impossible to find a job that would cater my passion for business management and corporate world and my love for travel but more than 6 years ago, I found a job that made it possible.

  2. I’ve never did a long term travel but I think another good option to pursue this “hobby” would be something that every human being should have (maybe in the future?): A job or part-time job that leaves 3 or more full free days per week. In that space one could easily afford some short travels , maybe with some cheap flights , and/or follow their other hobbies and care their personal life. We need to “work to live” and not “live to work” ?

  3. I’ve never really done any “long term” travel, I do lots of smaller trips, and work in between. But there is some really helpful advice and tips here should I decide to do some full time travelling in the future ? x

  4. I’ve also read several articles like this one, and yours has given a wider understanding on this matter. Traveling long term should really be prepared well. Thank you so much for sharing this with us and surely this will be a help for me as I’m planning to travel long term soon.

  5. Thanks for sharing your tips on this! Long term travel is a thing I’d love to try one day, especially working holidays

  6. Amit, these are very interesting tips. However, I don’t think I’d ever have the guts to quit my full time job completely and travel, relying on these unstable, short term money-earning solutions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing them or anyone who decided to take them up; actually I really admire people who have the courage to follow their dreams and find solutions to sustain them along the way. These people totally inspire me! Have you tried all these tips yourself? Volunteering, teaching, house sitting, etc?

    • Haha, it’s ok it’s not for everybody like I always say there is no right or wrong way to travel 😀 Out these options working holidays have been the main one I’ve done, I’ve done a few of the others but I haven’t done any teaching (admire anybody that does teach but not my thing)

  7. Ohh great I am now age of 24 I explore to many places in india but never visit outside India just looking right time to took from job to explore the world

  8. I love how you started off with “how the conversation usually goes” – I’ve been there! Also completely agree that slow travel is the best way to go, I am working on the digital nomad life! Thanks for sharing this!

  9. Having travelled for years o a tight budget, I know it is entirely possible. Great post, always good to let others know it can be done xx

  10. Loved and enjoyed reading your post, some great insights into how you manage to roam the world,travel, and work.
    I have bookmarked your post as it has some fantastic ideas and tips. I am doing an interview series on my blog on nomads around the globe and would love to feature you.

  11. Thanks for a informative post! I turned 32 a few months back and i feel so bad about my age now! Would love to do volunteering jobs in a far away land. It helps me keep fit and in touch with the local community!

  12. its trye there a lot of option out there but you really need to be professional, or if not take courses and do the job that fits you while travelling. there are those who travel only for vacations and those who are on the road for a long period

  13. You hit the nail on the head with this one! Been long term expating for 5 years now and working holiday visa’s are the best! learn something new, different language and teach yourself to be in someone else’s shoes. great read thanks 😀

  14. I worked as an au pair in the USA and it allowed me to travel, it was the best decision I made and often regret that I had not started earlier. Loved your write up – advice and inspiration filled!

  15. I totally agree – there is a lot of options out there and if you want it you can make it happen! On the other hand i think that not having somewhere you could call home could be difficult for many people.

  16. Its really great that you managed to do this. One of the biggest challenges I face as an Indian passport holder who loves travelling is that we aren’t eligible for working holiday visas 🙁 So, I guess have to do something along the lines of volunteering or Digital Nomad. Personally, I have done internships and studies abroad and great experiences!

  17. Loved reading this post! Looks like I’m too old for the working visa haha! I tend to work a bit in the UK then travel and take time off – have been doing this for over 10 years. Good on you … it’s all great life experience! ; )

    • Yeah it sucks that they limit the age to 31, glad you enjoyed the post ?. This year has been the first time I’ve been home to work since I left in 2010 and I hate it lol …but it has given me a chance to start this blog, always a silver lining I guess

  18. ah work and beach, I miss that about Bali and Australia – Just nipping down to chill on the beach during my break or after work and watch the sun go down.

    • Yeah same here, People ask m sometimes why I haven’t been to more countries and it’s because I work in the countries I go to. I stay longer, see more of their way of life. As you might have seen I complain a lot about being home and working but when I’m working in a different country it just doesn’t feel like I’m working in the everyday grind; if that makes sense lol ?

      • Makes perfect sense! ?? It’s because you are learning so much more, even if the work is simple. Some of the best times in my life was working as a waitress in the Greek Islands. No-brainer work, but the go go go lifestyle of tourist season and beach is just insane. Like you’re in a bubble. Love it!!

  19. Interesting to hear about your Aussie and NZ adventures. I left the UK started my working holiday Visa in 2008 and it was pretty much like you described, odd jobs, being skint etc. I did manage to get sponsored in the end (and later get my PR) which means I can spend time unlimited between AUS / UK while travelling other parts of the world. I hated being tied to one place at the time but it was worth it in the end.

  20. Awesome man! Hope you can keep that lifestyle going ~ Some of my really tough experiences were pruning vineyards in New Zealand but the memories are worth every cent!

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