“How do you travel so much?”
“How do you afford to travel and live abroad?”
“How can I live like 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?”
“Oh, your boyfriend must pay for everything” (hilarious because I’ve been 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 $15-$20 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.
^^ TheTravelHuman, Garrett, my bf, non-sugar daddy.^^
I feel like people actually want me to say that affording to travel 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!
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!)
How I Got Started Working and Living Abroad:
I saved. I worked my ass off for two years working two-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, I had paid off my credit card debt, and prepaid my student loans for eight months. This wasn’t easy, trust me! Lot’s of cooking at home, not going out, and well, lots of doing nothing but working.
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)
***Discount for my readers wanting to get a TEFL Certification: Nina35!***
[box]RELATED: Can You Teach English Online/Abroad Without a Degree? [/box]
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 $17,000 USD in ten months working in Australia!
A major part of how I did this was I lived in Australia for under $750 USD per month.
PS – Australia is still considered to be one of the most expensive countries in the world! Yeah… I did good, if I may say so myself.
Living Abroad and Making Money: What I Quickly Realized
In Thailand, I got hired at a school four days after landing and actually had to turn some jobs away. (keep in mind I had zero experience!)
I lived simply. 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). My one year plan turned into an “I’m doing whatever the hell I want” plan.
I found work online. Teaching in a school is great, but if I can work from home (which could be anywhere), I’m going to do it. Teaching online was actually my first job online. Then next thing you know, I got work online as a freelance writer along with some other jobs (all online), a few years later, my blog which was a hobby then became my business…
Working is a way to prolong your travels, but there are other opportunities that aren’t “too real” of a job. Those opportunities are for a much wider market and are a fulfilling experience. I loved my HelpX opportunity in Pai. I didn’t spend a dime on rent for about two months in exchange for a bit of work. How about even more opportunities to work and study abroad, especially for Americans? They exist!
I realized there are tons of different ways I could stay abroad. Why go back home and work when I could just work abroad and travel more?
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 even imagine.
Some Helpful Links For Making This Process Easier/Cheaper:
There isn’t necessarily a WRONG way to do things, there are just ways that are smarter than others. Which can result in fewer problems abroad, cheaper findings, and overall a more seamless life on the road. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard many times, I still make mistakes. I’m human after all! But here are some things that will hopefully make your life easier:
- This is how I book my cheap flights to everywhere.
- This is how all the solo females can stay safe abroad. (Hey, men too, why not?)
- These are some of the best flight hacks out there. I bet you haven’t seen some of these elsewhere! Oh, and no worries having to master 100 stupid credit cards either!
- Here are more tips and tricks and more opportunities about working abroad.
What About The Blog?
I do make my money from this blog, and it’s now my full-time job. BUT the majority of my travels were all 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 a million posts on it out there, I won’t bore you or Google with another submission on how to start a blog. But what I will tell you is, it’s NOT easy.
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!
Blogging is a bitch. Don’t start it if money is your sole reason for doing it, not unless you already know 100% what you’re doing and you know the ins and outs of a blogging. This was a fun thing I started 5 years ago. It accidentally became my business.I love it, it’s my baby. Yes, it makes me money and allows me to travel, but I did it for years before seeing a penny.
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!
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! That’s another blog post though. There are more people doing this than you realize.
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.
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 last year spent around $1000 for nearly a year of traversing Asia and Australia. Yes, you read that right, $1000 for a year. He couch-surfed, hitchhiked, worked, and ate the cheapest local food available. This is extreme, of course, but it shows you it’s POSSIBLE.
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.
What other questions do you have about how I afford to travel and live abroad? I’m always happy to answer and help if I can.
Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad and epically failing at the American Dream since 2011. Her sassy yet informative blog, Where in the World is Nina? is all about how to work abroad to live a more adventurous life. If you want to travel longer you have to work to wander.