Travel Tips
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How I Afford My Travels

After more than two years of uninterrupted travel, the most common question I still get is: “How do you afford traveling all the time?” Well, here’s my answer…

airport

Since 2015, I have been living out of my backpack, while exploring an assortment of new places all over the globe. And it is because of that,  the commonest question I still get is, “how do I afford to travel so much?”.

To most of the people, it looks like I am having a blast (which I sure am). But there’s more to it. I’ve worked hard to make this happen. And interestingly, even after two years of full-time travel blogging travelling, I still struggle most of the months in a year to make money from travel blogging.

But first things first, here’s how I DON’T fund my travels. My parents, family, and friends don’t give a dime to my globetrotting. And there is no single company sponsoring my ventures. Though I keep finding temporary sponsors, on the way, I do not have a particular organisation taking care of all my travels.

campsite in Manali

I Had Enough Savings To Start With

Blogging is a slow process and takes time to eventually grow into a full-time revenue-generating business. Even if you’re exceptionally good at writing content and have a fair knowledge of how SEO and digital marketing works, expect no monetary benefits during your first year of blogging stint.

So one thing I did right, as I always advise others, is, I enough money to sustain my initial one or two years of travelling until my blog started generating revenues.

When I quit my job I’d enough to be able to keep travelling for 3 or 4 years without making any money. Having some financial assurance helped me going and as with every business, with blogging too, if you survived your initial one or two years consider your business a success.

Further Reading: Tips For Becoming A Full-Time Travel Blogger 

Surviving The Initial Year Of Travelling

Though I was using a big chunk of my saving during the initial one year of travelling, I still used different ways to make money and contribute to my lifestyle while on the go. This included:

Freelancing: Freelancing is a great way to keep money inflow. During my initial one year, I kept looking for freelance writing projects or took part-time and location-independent writing assignments.

Check out freelance writing marketplaces like Upwork, or online travel magazines like Matador and Go Nomad that offer opportunities for nomads to earn while on the go. Those into photography can try their luck as a freelance photographer, by uploading and monetizing from their pictures on stock photography websites like 500px, ShutterStock and YouPic, among others. Please note that different websites pay differently, so read their terms and start making money from all those amazing journeys you’ve had in the past.

Travelling On A Budget: Other than whatever small bit of money I made, I relied totally on budget trips during the initial year of traveling to make sure that my money lasts as long as possible. And because I knew how to travel the world without spending much money, I could support my travel appetite. Hospitality networks moreover helped me travel across Europe by spending literally no money. So before anything, find out ways that can help you travel for a long period of time on a significantly low budget.

Avoiding Paid Itineraries: I hate paid holidays. They are overpriced and offer a poor experience. But if we look at the Indian travel market, they are exceptionally popular. Even the poorest travellers would buy a paid holiday, and bleed money, unnecessarily. I think Indians have some kind of personal attachment to this entire phenomenon, or they’ve never tried independent travelling. Something very popular among Indians is a week-long tour to Thailand. Now, even if you buy the cheapest 4D, 5N trip to Thailand (which only takes you around to Bangkok and Pattaya) it costs around 20 to 30 thousand Indian Rupees (including all costs, but flights). I travelled in Thailand, on my own, for 15 days, in less than 20 thousand Rupees (including all costs, including airfare). My daily budget was less than 1000 Rupees, and I had the flexibility to do what I wanted, go where I wanted, and eat what I wanted.

Planning your own trip has a lot more to it and is exceptionally cheap. Use websites like Bookings.com and Skyscanner.com to book cheap flight and hotels for you in advance. This is how I save most of my travel money. In over 2 years of travelling, you won’t believe that never once did buy a paid tour and I’ve saved hundreds and thousands of Rupees. [Read: How I Completed A  Solo Motorbiking Expedition In Spiti Valley In Under 5000 Rupees]

How I Make Money Now

Travel blogging is all about building your presence. Once people start following you, it becomes easier to find ways of making money. For example, now, after two years of travel blogging (as of March 2018) I’ve become a fairly known blogger in Indian travel blogging industry. More than 75,000 people follow me on my social networks like Facebook and Instagram. My blog, moreover, gets a fairly good number of hits every month, making it easier for me to find opportunities. Yet speaking of how I sustain my travel needs, at this moment, here are a few ways:

Brand/Tourism Partnerships: Partnering with tourism boards and travel brand make the most of my earning who pay me a fee for their services to be advertised on Footloosedev’s website and/or social media accounts in order to reach out to my audience. So far, I’ve worked with over 50 Tourism Boards and Travel Brands in Europe, Australia and Asia, most of which were paid campaigns.

Yet, finding a paid campaign is a matter of luck and chance. Naturally, I rely on different ways to support my travels.

Getting Help From Influencer Sites: Influencer sites connect bloggers with brands that want to raise awareness. The few main sites I use for sponsored content is Cooperatize, Webfluential and Copypress. Though they might take some time to get your first few sponsored deals, once you start getting them, and your influencer score improves on their platform, more and more brands start reaching you out. They’re moreover free to join.

Making Money by Product Affiliations: Sometimes when I share my favourite travel gear, photography equipment, or things I recommend, I include special affiliate tracking links to those products. This means if you decide to click through and buy something, I’ll receive a small commission. The price remains the same whether you use my special link or not. There are many companies including Amazon.com, Booking.com, WorldNomads.com, Skyscanner.com, and others, that offer affiliate programs in the travel industry.

Here’s a good example of one of my pages full of affiliate links: Travel Gear I Use.

Blogging Workshops: Teaching your fans about the art of travel blog, sharing all the knowledge you’ve acquired and charging making money for it is another way how I make money from time to time. I also speak in colleges and travel forums as and when I get an opportunity.

Hospitality Business: I have also started a small campsite in Manali recently (started March 2018) that will further add to my revenues.

night sky australia

And with that, I conclude the list of all the different ways I make money and afford my travels. But not before I share…

A Golden Tip: Money Will Never Be Enough

And then, the thing about money is that no matter how much of it we collect in our lifetime, it never feels enough. And the mental fights to acquire it more and more curb us from doing things we always wanted to do, or from seeing places we always wished to see. “Oh I always wanted to ride a camel through the Arabian Desert, or experience Snorkelling at The Great Barrier Reef but the life was always busy”, we would say in the end. And what kept us busy? The many processes of making money. Life is too boring if you live it chasing money, but too interesting if you cherish small and timely experiences it has to offer.

After only working for a few years in the corporate world I realised that I don’t want to waste my time chasing hedonism. I decided to quit my job and travel, and blogging became a way to sustain it. Now I earn not to buy latest gadgets or drink booze in nightclubs but to sustain my travel needs, and that’s the biggest reason why I have, so far, managed to afford my travels. So understand your choices and set your priorities right. I happened to travel ceaselessly and pursue a lifestyle that many people would not even risk trying, only because I made it a priority.

And remember, if I could make it work, so can you!

If you found this post useful, you can Subscribe to get my monthly newsletter (shared only once every month!) delivered to your inbox, and learn the art of long-term travel!

Filed under: Travel Tips

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Shortly after my first real nine-to-five job, I left that lifestyle behind, and with it, everything that didn't fit in my backpack. I've learned that this world is too big (and too interesting!) to stay in one place. I believe that with a little courage and inspiration, everyone has the power to follow their dreams. Just as I've followed mine!

22 Comments

  1. Great info here Dev, most people don’t share exactly how they make money or what they did to start or how difficult it is to blog, find gigs, and the need to drive your blog and online presence like a business to be successful.

  2. Claire Summers says

    I’m in a very similar position to you. I live out of my backpack and I travel like a local. I work a lot on an exchange. and after a year of traveling, I’m just starting to make a small profit from my blog. My blog is a labor of love, its hard work and for not much financial gain. But like you I do it because I love to help people and share my adventures. I’m going to check out a few of your tips for selling my photos which I’ve never done. Thanks for the great advice. Happy travels.

  3. That’s Really Nice.. & Cool man..!!

    The similar thing happened to me as well.. I quit my job, but still not in that phase to jUST kick-off for a life-time travel.
    Anyway..!!

    It was really good you sharing all this info., Hope you keep Shining..!!

  4. Hey, thanks Dev for sharing the whole information, especially the Travel Deals part. I wasn’t aware of it.

    I am also thinking, that inspite of me having good DA/PA Score, Klout Score, reasonable number of followers, why aren’t the brands coming to me ? Rather, they also don’t respond. I don’t know what’s wrong. Do you think there is any other thing that is more crucial ?

    • From what I’ve noticed, brands check your blog and go straight to your social networks, they ask for engagement. Do people write you comments on social networks and on your blog? Most of the brands have contacted me after finding me on FB or Insta or Twitter. Make sure you they look impressive. And it matters how old your blog is. Consider a poor response from brands for at least the first six months of your blogging.

    • Partner with different brands working in your niche. Eg brands like Booking.com and Airbnb would be my targets. Provide backlinks of you affiliated brand, in different articles, wherever possible; checkout amazon affiliate program, I am sure that would be of some use to you.

  5. Krishna Khanna says

    I was wondering what should one Google to get good travel or sales deals. Could you share some tips?

    • Start with Travel Contests on Google, you’ll get so many useful links. For travel deals, be a little specific, type-in what you want and see if there’s anything. To get valid travels deals, however, subscribe to newsletters of different travel companies. Air Asia for example send awesome flight deals via email, do subscribe it. Also try to follow a few travel brands, that operate in your geographic location, on Facebook and Twitter.

  6. Great post! Just what I was looking for. I especially love what you had to say about money. It’s so true and really so unfortunate. Great tips! Thank you.

  7. Anonymous says

    Thank you very much bro. Keep inspiring ppl. It was really helpful. Thanks

    • Thanks, Ms Anonymous
      (& how great it’d be, if I’d find out your name. haha, kidding)

  8. Very insighful and helpful post. Loved reading it and got some good tips:) keep sharing such good stuff. Now going through your travel hacks 🙂

    • Sure brother, will keep sharing the knowledge as I learn from my experiences. Keep reading.

    • Thanks for reading it man, will also write about how to make money from a blog, once I myself learn that art. Until then this is how I mostly go about my travels at the moment (other than a couple of sponsors I’ve scored): playing contests, freelancing, traveling cheap and so on. How do you afford yours?

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