“How can you afford to travel the world for an indefinite amount of time? Did you win the lottery or what?” That was the most popular response I received from people when I said I was going to quit my highly paid career to travel the world. Well, I did win the lottery. Just not the kind of lottery where I received a bunch of money for free (before taxes).
I won the family lottery.
I won the family lottery. My parents were great teachers. They taught me, by example, how to make good financial and life decisions. They also supported me through some of the dumb decisions. Yes, I was spoiled to be brought up in a wealthy American environment and to have a University level education completely paid for. I didn’t take those things for granted! Also, for some reason, I was born to be a natural money saver. I love to listen to the common financial sense of people like Dave Ramsey. I have been made fun of for my daily budget spreadsheet review(s). Did I mention that I am on the beach right now? Oh, sorry, I thought I mentioned that… 😆
Anyway, here are my secrets:
- Hard work makes money but you have to live on less than you make.
- Always have a written plan. Yes, a written budget! Scared? Try Mint.
- Eliminate your debt and don’t depend on credit cards.
*Optional: Sell your TV and turn your extra stuff into travel funds $$$.
I am about three weeks into my travels and I have already found it hard to stay on budget. My budget is $100 per day, which includes ALL expenses: flights, accommodations, food, fun, everything. Also, I will have a few flights and hotel nights paid for by my accumulated reward points from my previous career. I have quickly realized that this lifestyle will not last long if I keep: buying a $4 coffee everyday, not planning enough, eating at every tourist trap, drinking beer instead of wine in Australia. It’s not a vacation. Lesson learned. People have done this type of travel for way less. Do a web search and you will see some amazing stories. I think $100 a day allows for a nice mix of backpacking type travel and doing whatever I want with some luxury. I’ll let you know if that theory is true for me.
I have been staying in a mix of hostels, hotels and airbnb rentals throughout Australia. Hostels and airbnb rentals are awesome, especially since you can cook your own food. This is healthier for me and saves a ton of money. Above that, with airbnb type rentals you get to stay in a suburb or part of a city where you get to feel like a local and see things you typically wouldn’t see while visiting a city. This is a great idea for more expensive places like Australia. I am currently renting a place in Sydney for 2 weeks! These longer-term residental rental type stays do require some book in advance planning though. Later on in my travels I plan to do some volunteer work that will hopefully include some accommodation and food so that should help keep me on track.
It all started by winning the lottery. What I am trying to say is: thanks Mom and Dad.
I am having the time of my life so far and I hope to stay below my budget so I can extend my trip until I figure out how to do this for my next career. I’ll keep thinking. For now I am feeling extremely fortunate for the opportunity to see what I have seen and experience what I have experienced. It all started by winning the lottery. What I am trying to say is: thanks Mom and Dad.