People often ask me how I make my travel dreams possible. They either assume that my dad supports my travels or that I am independently wealthy. Well, to honestly admit it, I am not independently wealthy; and no, my dad doesn’t contribute anything to my travels.
You can call me a little lucky, for I’ve been travelling full-time since 2016, without any permanent corporate job but just relying on money I make from blogging. But I’ve worked hard for it. Over the years, and especially while I was working, I saved every bit of my income. I later used the same money for the initial years of travelling (and blogging) until my blog started generating revenues!
Just like with any business, becoming a digital nomad needs some investment too. Whether you’re into freelance writing, blogging, or selling photographs, you need to have some money saved in your bank account so that you can use that money in travelling for a few months, generate some content, and then sell that content and make money.
So if you’re looking forward to making travelling a full-time career, save some money before you actually start. Full-time travelling demands being money smart, and it demands it before you even hit the road.
Here are some proven, self-tested and effective ways to save money before you start travelling…
How To Save Money For Travel
1. Avoid Eating Out
Restaurants and takeaways are too expensive nowadays. I get a sticker shocker every time I get the bill after eating out. “You need how much for a meal?” I lose my heart as I hear the figure in reply.
As an advantage, I know cooking, and managing quick and easy meals is no hard task for me. I learned cooking while studying abroad. Similarly, if you’re serious about saving money, you need to start cooking.
Love your local restaurant? Well, that restaurant loves your money. So, avoid it.
I’ve seen people around me spending most of their monthly paycheck just eating out at fancy restaurants, and I’ve never understood the fascination behind it. I mean if I’ll ask any of them what benefit have they reaped out of spending 1000Rs for dinner when they could eat healthier food at home for 100 bucks, I am sure they won’t have a justification to make. Yet they do it, unknowingly, wasting their hard-earned money. I can understand eating out or ordering home delivery for meals if someone is extremely wealthy or busy, but eating out just because you were bored at home is a kind of addiction. It has no long-term benefit!
So avoid eating out and save money for travel!
The same thing applies while you’re travelling. For example, whenever I am on the road, I either rely on local cuisine or cook for myself. If I am travelling in a budget backpacking location, say somewhere in Thailand or Vietnam, where food is cheap and street food is common, I eat out.
If I am travelling in an expensive country, say somewhere in Australia or in Western Europe, I buy groceries from the supermarket and cook. And how do I cook? In a backpacker hostel. If you don’t know, most backpacker hostels come with a kitchen (equipped with a microwave, refrigerator and other necessary things for cooking).
2. Ditch The Car
Write down all the money you’ve spent buying a car. Add it to the figure you have spent in buying the insurance so far. Then write an approximate for all the fuel and repair costs to date. After taking a deep breath and adding all the figures, see what you have got. Probably a large sum of money. I am sure you could travel to another continent with that money.
So forget the idea of owning a car. Or if you have already got one, ditch it!
During my entire life, I’ve never owned a car, and neither did I drove (and spent crazy money on fuel) my father’s car, because in the world of amazing Public Transport if I ever want to visit someplace I would take a bus or a train and save money.
3. Buy Second Hand
Okay so here’s a simple equation: why pay full price when you can pay half, or perhaps much less than that?
You can get all kinds of second-hand material used for travelling on dedicated websites like eBay as well as on Facebook groups. One of the Facebook groups is about how I recently got my hands on a second-hand Pannier for my motorbike with accurate measures, and I used it during my solo motorcycle ride to Spiti Valley.
So don’t rush to the nearest digital store, next time you find yourself hooked to the idea of buying a Kindle or an iPad – use eBay and old and Facebook Marketplace to find a second-hand product. The Internet is there for a reason.
4. Create A Recurring Account
Despite never being addicted much to the idea of money hoarding, I opened a simple recurring account while I still had a full-time job. I used it to deposit about one-fourth of my earnings, each month, for almost a year, and this helped in two ways…
- I learned how to spend less by the time I quit my job to travel (on whatever I had).
- I saved enough money to feel financially secure.
I personally feel that binding yourself in something like this helps you save a lot of money, which is otherwise impossible.
AND A BONUS…
Learn How To Make Money Online
Saving your money for travel is indeed important. But if you can invest in yourself and learn how to make money online, there’s no stopping you from being on the road indefinitely.
For long-term full-time travelling, you need a source of income, and as I know it, the internet can give you heaps of it.
Is it writing or photography or digital marketing? Find out where your interest lies, identify your skills and put them to use. If you’re a writer, start a blog. If you don’t want to start a blog, become a freelancer. If you’re a photographer, start selling photos on stock photography websites. Make youtube videos, if filmmaking interests you.
There is no dearth of ways to reinvent your working style and become location independent!!
Further Reading: Different Ways of Making Money From Blogging