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This is How I REALLY Afford to Travel and Live Abroad

This is How I REALLY Afford to Travel and Live Abroad

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“How do you travel so much?”

“How do you afford to travel and live abroad?”

“How can I live as you do?”

So I get asked these questions a lot… I think anyone doing something unconventional, like living abroad and traveling for years on end, would get questioned.

Many people have seriously asked/said to me –

“Who supports you?”

“Are you rich?” or “Do you have a trust fund?”

“Oh, your boyfriend must pay for everything”   (hilarious because I was traveling solo for over four years before meeting him)

And the best one yet….Someone actually asked me if I was an heiress!

Why, yes, yes, I am an heiress… That’s why I’m lugging around my own suitcase/backpack, staying at places for less than $30 a night, and wearing an H&M clearance t-shirt. *insert eye roll*

It’s not that easy, but at the same time, it’s really not that hard.

I’m not rich, my parents don’t funnel money into my accounts, and I don’t have a sugar daddy.

I feel like people actually want me to say that affording to live around the world so much is like this:

1. Find a fairy and negotiate a good deal on some of her fairy dust. –  THE BEST KIND SHE HAS!

2. Sprinkle it on top of your head. Make sure to avoid the eyes.

3. Think about the place you want to go to. REALLY imagine it!

4. Poof! Done! You should be at the destination you thought of with your pockets full of money!

K. Bye!

Sorry, I enjoy sarcasm.

So for real, though…

How Do I Really Afford to Travel and Live Abroad?

I fucking work for it!

I have numerous posts on how to save money, make money, and prolong your travels so I’ll make this pretty short and sweet and point you in the direction of further information. (hint: come back to click on the links I just mentioned/the ones I’m about to mention!)

This is How I REALLY Afford to Travel and Live Abroad
Can you tell I started traveling before camera phones were really a thing? lol.

How I Got Started Working and Living Abroad

I saved. I worked my ass off for two years, working three jobs. (A 9-5, a bar job, and promos.)

When I left with my one-way ticket to Bangkok: I had $6k in the bank, paid off my credit card debt, and prepaid my student loans for eight months. This wasn’t easy, trust me! Lots of cooking at home, not going out, and well, lots of doing nothing but working.

Read more on how I started this life.

What I Figured out to Do for Money Abroad

I figured out that teaching English was the easiest and most popular way to make money abroad. I got my TEFL certification online. I finished, then bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. There are other ways to make money abroad, but this is how I got started (and how many others do too)

Something else you can do to make money is to take advantage of the working holiday visas countries offer. You can make some MAD money if you put your head down and work for it.

Here’s how I saved over $20k USD in ten months working in Australia!

A significant part of how I did this was I lived in Australia for under $750 USD per month.

Me Melbourne, Australia, not spending a dime and instead, raking in cash!

PS – Australia is still considered one of the most expensive countries in the world! Yeah… I did good, if I may say so myself.

Here’s the beauty of this life… There’s a SLEW of travel-friendly jobs out there. Almost any remote job automatically is a “travel job,” and there are opportunities to work in other countries too. You WILL have to think outside the box. You might not get your dream job and you may even need to do a few travel jobs at least (I did!). In fact, I had 11 travel jobs in my ten years doing this.

You’ll have to find a balance, you’re own “formula” for this lifestyle, and you’ll have to trial and error just as I did. There’s no wrong or right way; you just need to find YOUR WAY.

Here are posts to get you started:

Your Shortcut Guide to Living Around The World

No seriously, I’m not joking!

I created the Live Around the World Shortcut just for YOU! It has quite literally everything you’d need to know about living this lifestyle, actually maintaining it, making money on the road, and all of the tips and knowledge that I’ve learned over the last 10 years.

No need to spin your wheels trying to figure everything out for yourself (which takes years btw), I got you! Live abroad like a pro from the start!

GIVE ME MY SHORTCUT

How I Afford to Travel: Quick Work History

In Thailand, I got hired at a school a few days after landing and actually had to turn some jobs away. (keep in mind I had zero experience!)

I lived simply. I didn’t spend the money I saved and worked.

I realized how easy it is to live abroad if you really want to do it. Of course, there are some obstacles like anything in life but nothing that bad… I just thought living around the world and traveling just wasn’t even remotely an option.

And nearly fresh off the plane, I’m having revelations! Maybe I can do this?! Maybe it is possible!? And so, my one-year plan turned into an “I’m doing whatever the hell I want to continue this lifestyle” plan.

You can even go abroad and teach in addition to teaching English from home.
Teaching in Thailand started it all for me!

I found work online. Teaching in a school is excellent, but if I can work from home (which could be anywhere), I’m going to do it. Teaching online was my first job online (this was a new thing back in 2012!). Then next thing you know, I got work online as a freelance writer and some other freelance jobs (all online). And after about 11 travel jobs, I turned my blog, which was a hobby, into my only job!

Keeping Costs Down

Working is a way to prolong your travels, and obviously make some real money. But there are other opportunities that aren’t “too real” of a job. Those opportunities are for a much broader market and are a fulfilling experience but don’t pay. I loved my HelpX opportunity in Pai; I didn’t pay rent! I also spent weeks making local friends and getting free accommodation while in Guatemala using Worldpackers.

Worldpackers is actually super awesome, people need to stop sleeping on it! You can get free accommodation and immediate local friends!

There are even more ways to travel for practically free… So by using travel jobs and doing things to keep costs down, this only helps your journey get cheaper which means you can go for longer!

I realized there are tons of different ways I could stay abroad. So why go back home and work when I could work abroad and travel more? Especially since I realized I was SPENDING LESS money traveling and living around the world than just to exist in the US.

How I travel and work abroad
Going beyond my borders and working abroad instead of back home. Same same, just a little bit different 🙂

This blew my mind. I thought travel was supposed to be expensive!? Guess what – IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE! Read more on how traveling is cheaper than the US.

By the way, keep in mind I’ve been using the word “living” a lot. And I mean it. I’m literally just living a normal life most of the time. I wake up, have coffee, work, eat, and repeat. I’m living “normal life” but I’m doing it abroad and I then leave time to explore the country I’m in before hopping to the next place. I’m NOT traveling 24/7.

If you’re curious, I try to live in a place for as long as they give me if I can! This can mean anything from one month to three months to six months or more depending on the country. Read everything you need to know about visas, how to extend, the longest visas, etc.

Seriously… that’s it. Is it easy in the beginning? No. Is it a bit scary because it’s new? Totally. Will things go wrong? Yep, it’s called life, people! Will it be worth it? – More than you can ever imagine.

RELATED: 11 Ways to Get Free Accommodation While Traveling The World!

So How Do I Afford to Travel NOW?

I make my money from this blog, and it’s my full-time job. I actually own multiple blogs.

BUT the majority of my travels were paid with my blood, sweat, and tears working hard at jobs abroad/online. PS – I’m still working very hard—blogging ain’t easy!

If you want more info on starting a blog and all that goes into it—there are tons of blogs out there that tell you how to make money blogging. But I will tell you is; it’s NOT easy. You can make good money blogging, but it takes a lot of time and work.

If you think you’re going to travel for free if you start a blog – think again. If you think you’ll start making money next month after starting a blog -THINK AGAIN!

Roy's Peak famous picture
I accidentally became a blogger, oops!

Blogging is a bitch. Don’t start it if money is your sole reason for doing it, not unless you already know what you’re doing and you know the ins and outs of blogging.

Fun fact – blogging is actually like ten full-time jobs in one. You need to understand social media, marketing, SEO, photography, and maybe even videography, writing, editing, affiliate marketing, how to create products, lead generation, and email funnels, WordPress, and tons more IF you want to actually make money blogging.

This was a fun thing I started when I first started traveling. It accidentally became my business. And yes, I literally taught myself everything I just listed above. I love it; it’s my baby. Yes, it makes me money and allows me to travel, but I did this lifestyle and I blogged for years before seeing a penny.

I’m kind of part of the OG bloggers, but I didn’t even know it (there were very few travel blogs 10 years ago)! I’m also one of the only bloggers out there that DOESN’T talk about “how to be a blogger/influencer to travel the world.”

A million bloggers do this, and I will not because I know there are 4290754290 other ways you can live this life, and being a blogger will undoubtedly be the HARDEST way.

palu Things to do Around Sulawesi and Maluku
Mermaiding – One of the cool things I get to do when I work and live abroad because I often get to post up in gorgeous places…

Now, I make more money with my blog than I did working at my 9-5 AND my side gig as a waitress in Florida combined. It took a while, but it’s how I travel now. Remember, there are many ways to live this lifestyle; you don’t have to be a blogger or Youtuber, or an influencer!

Here are the 11 travel jobs that kept me on the road before becoming a full-time travel blogger. And here’s a list of over 70 travel jobs you can dig into!

Remember, your travel job doesn’t have to be travel related, it just has to allow you to travel! You can be a graphic designer, become a ski instructor, or be a nanny and STILL live and work around the world. These jobs and many more, traditionally, have nothing to do with travel but they CAN be a travel job.

Also, don’t doubt yourself. Just because you don’t know HOW to do some of these jobs doesn’t mean you can’t teach yourself. I had zero experience in pretty much everything I did! And like I just mentioned, I taught myself EVERYTHING I know about blogging and made it work.

You might not get your dream job tomorrow, but you can surely start on something and work towards it.

Your Shortcut Guide to Living Around The World

No seriously, I’m not joking!

I created the Live Around the World Shortcut just for YOU! It has quite literally everything you’d need to know about living this lifestyle, actually maintaining it, making money on the road, and all of the tips and knowledge that I’ve learned over the last 10 years.

No need to spin your wheels trying to figure everything out for yourself (which takes years btw), I got you! Live abroad like a pro from the start!

GIVE ME MY SHORTCUT

You’ve Been Lied to. MANY People Live and Work Abroad…

For some reason, there’s this diluted vision that traveling and living abroad is more expensive than living at home and working. When in reality, it can actually be cheaper!

Just go with it! I’ve met a ridiculous amount of people who have very little money and have only OK English skills, and they still get jobs, volunteer exchanges, and find ways to prolong their travels.

I’ve met many people who live and work in Australia, an expensive country, and because they lived a simple life, they SAVED money (I did this! And I also happened to save over $20k doing it!).

Nina riding a bike on a zipline with views of Micos waterfall and jungled mountains in background - this is one of the Huasteca Potosina tours in Mexico
Balancing life and travel be like…

Some teachers in South Korea and Japan pay their student loan debt off in a matter of 2-3 years with the money they save.

A French man I met spent around $1000 for nearly a year traversing Asia and Australia. Yes, you read that right, $1000 for a year. He couchsurfed, hitchhiked, worked, and ate the cheapest local food available. Of course, this is extreme, but it shows you it’s POSSIBLE.

Remember! There are many ways to save moneymake money, and stay on the road.

This is how I get to travel so much… I live abroad, I work abroad, and I live a simple life. It’s not just me. Many people from all walks of life can afford to travel and live abroad, but you have to work for it. No fairy dust involved.

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Cynthia

Saturday 16th of December 2017

I loooove your story!! I am so inspired! Much love!

Nina Ragusa

Sunday 17th of December 2017

Aw yay! Thank you! :)

Rachel

Friday 12th of May 2017

Just signed up for myTEFL! Thanks for the discount code. Can't wait to start traveling/working abroad!

Nina Ragusa

Friday 12th of May 2017

Yay! So exciting!!!! Xoxo

George

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

Your shit moved me woman!!! Love this, keep it up

Nina Ragusa

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

Omg! Thanks, George!!! :)

Krishna

Saturday 10th of December 2016

Really helpful. Thanks a lot

Ann

Saturday 17th of September 2016

Hi from Darwin Nina :) A nice read .. Enjoy the Territory! Cheers, Ann

Nina Ragusa

Saturday 17th of September 2016

Thanks Ann!

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