After returning home from my two-month long backpacking trip across Europe, one question I was particularly asked, was how did I afford to travel in Europe for so long. People around me wanted to know how did I afford travelling for so long in a continent so expensive, despite having no job for the past few years.
Those who knew me personally and had a little idea about how I make money travel blogging still thought that my dad or someone else in the family supported me financially. A few high-school buddies even mocked, stating that I might be into smuggling drugs or busy working illegal ideas, after repeating, yet once again, the usual family sponsorship gamut.
And when I spoke in defence and confessed of my innocence, declaring “it’s my blog that supported… and that’s how I travelled Europe for so long without spending much” they called me a Dishonest Don. “We all know your stories fucker, now tell us how did you do it,” one of my friends snapped.
How Blogging Is Contributing Since Day One
Blogging had been kindest of all the things, experiences, people, or events I’ve met so far since travelling — at least if financially speaking. The first six months of my blogging stint did not give me much but only a few free trip. I was so new to blogging that I knew no one would pay me to travel, and if a company was giving me a free trip it was my best deal. With time and increasing readership, more free trips followed.
I’ve now even started making a little money from my blog. But that does not include one thing, but a mix of many. I think because every blogger starts with limited resources and many challenges — with the biggest of all being gaining popularity and making money during the process. It’s important to find a mix of revenue models, eg I use Adsense, freelance writing, affiliate marketing, product reviews, and a few other things… and I get to do it all because I have a blog!
Moreover, I’d like to tell that I’ve been blogging for 1 and a half year, but I’ve been travelling full-time for much longer. After I quit my job to travel, I travelled without blogging for almost a year. Blogging came much later, as a way to sustain my travel needs. Slowly blogging took over, offering me monetary help and better ways to travel.
So to summon up the answer, I’d say… I’ve been able to travel the world uninterruptedly, over the past two and a half years, without any steady source of income, because one, I’ve been blogging and blogging has made me a little money to travel; and two, because I have always budget travelled.
How Did I Travel Europe 2 Months In Less Than 70k
In reality, if I were to pay for all the experiences I savoured during these two months, hotels I stayed, and transportation I took, I would have ended up paying somewhere between 10 or 12 times of that money. But thanks to the blog, I was fully sponsored, or partially supported, by travel boards and independent tour companies in more than 6 countries. This allowed me to travel places without having to spend too much.
I partook in day tours, travelled one country to another and explored cities without having to pay anything. But one thing that really helped bring the cost of my travel down is spending absolutely no money on accommodation. You heard that right! In 5 cities including two in Germany (Stuttgart and Frankfurt), one in Slovakia (Bratislava), and one in Switzerland (Basle) and one in Hungary (Budapest) my entire stay, between accommodation to transportation to free tickets to events were sponsored by their tourism board. For other places I travelled to, I partnered with a hotel or a hostel. [Read: How To Find Sponsors For Your Next Europe Trip Europe, If You Run A Travel Blog]
Though of course in return I was reviewing their property or providing them pictures of their property/services etc, and promoting on my social media channels, it was something I was anyway doing, as a blogger.
And to keep a balance between work and play, I planned two hospitality network jobs, once in Germany and once in Italy (using workaway.info). Where on one side it kept travel-for-work and travel-for-life in equal proportion, it also saved money on the other. [Read: Hospitality Networks That Let You Travel The World For Free]
So if I classify the costs. It will look somewhat like this, for two months in Europe (all costs in INR)…
Accommodation: NIL | Food: 20 to 30k | Transportation inside Europe: 5 to 10k | Miscellaneous: 10 to 15k | Flight cost: 30k | Visa cost: 7k | Duration: 58 days