‘How to fund travel’ is the thing most people want to know from us when they discover we’ve been wandering long-term with our five kids since 2007.
“You must be loaded!” is what most people think.
The truth is, we’re not. And it really takes less money to travel than you think (probably less than you currently spend living ‘at home’.)
Yet since we first started exploring in 2007, we’ve taken our kids to 12 countries on two continents (as of Nov. 2013 – we’re still going!)
Many don’t see how it’s possible to travel full time, with 5 children (almost six), especially when ‘traveling is so expensive.’
But I’m here to tell you that funding travel is really quite simple… and possible! It just takes a little creative thinking.
The first ‘secret’ to funding travel is learning how to afford it (even with a family). To do this, you need to learn the difference between travel and vacationing (yes, there is a BIG difference).
If you learn how to actually travel than you realize how inexpensive (and affordable) it is. That makes funding it on a long-term basis that much more of a possibility.
The next step is discovering how to earn money. And not just how to earn money, but how to earn money in a way that gives you freedom to travel.
Many people like to ask us what we do, perhaps thinking that they could do it too, and then be able to travel like we do. (That’s what I used to think. I was always looking for ‘the answer’ that would provide the money we needed to travel full time.)
The reality is, there is no single way to fund a travel lifestyle. The modus operandi are as varied as the individuals pursing them.
The real key to funding your travel lifestyle is to be creative, to think unconventionally about income sources, and/or find a way to do what you do, but in a more mobile way.
If you can discover a way to work remotely, find a position abroad that uses your skills, or uncover a system for taking periodical ‘sabbaticals’ throughout the year, then you’ll have discovered the freedom to explore this big, beautiful world.
(You can see specific examples of the multiple ways people have actually done it in our How to Fund Travel Interview Series — discussions with travelers from all over the world, sharing the nuts and bolts of how they pay for travel.)
But, below I’m going to share the very specific income sources that we have had or currently have, in an effort to spark some ideas that might help you discover your own mobile financing.
We believe in the principle of ‘multiple streams of income‘, (or ‘patchwork income’). Instead of having one source of money, you create many – thus reducing your financial risks, and increasing your financial possibilities.
Below is how we fund travel:
BUT, investing in real estate is how Nancy Vogel (from FamilyonBikes.org) paid for their three-year biking adventure from Alaska to Argentina. (Watch her interview to learn more about how she did it.)
Day trading, swing trading, options trading and all of those stock market things give you lots of freedom. All you need is a laptop. You can make money when the market goes up, and when it goes down. And you can trade in other markets too. But beware, it’s easy to lose your shorts (and a whole lot more), so be well educated before you try this. (I recently found this guy who might have some good advice on where to get started.)
This is a strategy that many people use — working half the year to save up, and then taking short sabbaticals to explore.
Since then, I have been able to make more as a freelance writer. I’ve written for travel magazines and online travel sites that pay anywhere from $50 to $150 an article. (You can find freelance work on Elance.com and Odesk.com. If you want to become a paid travel writer, here’s a list of sites that pay.
Many people have used international employers to help them see the world. During our travels we’ve met people who’ve worked for Caterpillar, Fuji, Walmart and more. Before biking from Alaska to Argentina, Nancy Vogel and her husband worked as school teachers in Ethiopia. It’s a great gig to be an international teacher, because they cover all your expenses, and you can often earn a tax free salary.
My own sister taught English in Thailand, before landing employment with a T.V. production company in Bangkok, handling their social media. (This site has great resources for finding international employment. You can also find some adventurous jobs at ExplorersConnect. If you’re interested in teaching jobs, check out TeachAnywhere.com
I chose to focus on blogging as a ‘career’, something I had been studying for years through sites like Copyblogger.com and Problogger.com. I started treating my blog as a business instead of a hobby, and even though it didn’t happen overnight, eventually I began earning income — through affiliate sales, advertising and text links, and selling our own information products. (If you want to try blogging as a business, I recommend starting with something from Darrin Rowse at ProBlogger or Christine Gilbert of AlmostFearless — you can get 25% off with this link.)
Anything such as graphic design, website design, or social media can be turned into an online, location independent career. (This is how Colin Burns of OurTravelLifestyle funds his exotic life. Watch his interview.)
Or get involved in local commerce. Sell homemade chocolates or soaps, or even meat chickens (our most recent income adventure.) The options are truly endless, if you get a little creative.
If you have the ability to help others reach goals or gain a proper perspective on life, then why not take those skills on the road, and mentor others you meet in person, or via today’s online technology.
Above are a few of the ways we’ve been able to fund our family travels.
But we’ve also met dozens of couples and families who have found their own unique strategies. Here’s a few of them:
I know of at least two families (personally) that fund their travels (very comfortably) with network marketing. There’s at least 9 reasons network marketing is a great business model for funding travel. Don’t be close-minded, at least consider it.
To gain the freedom to travel, discovering flexible income streams is critical. It’s not always easy, but it IS possible.
Take the responsibility into your own hands, instead of looking to an employer to provide the money to pay the bills, and you’ll be half way to living the life you want to live.
And for still more information, READ THESE BOOKS:
- Four Hour Work Week
- Cash Machine
- Cash in a Flash
- One Minute Millionaire
- Multiple Streams of Income (and Multiple Streams of Internet Income)
How will YOU fund your travel? Or how have you? We’d love to know!