People are always asking me how I have been travelling for so long or travellers are shocked when I tell them how long I have been travelling.
I will start with a bit of background about me. I was a qualified teacher in England before deciding to quit my job and travel. I have now been travelling for over 2 and a half years, where I have been to more than 30 countries in 6 different continents. I didn’t plan on travelling this long, it just sort of happened. I haven’t inherited money or taken out a loan or have an endless supply of money but here’s some information about how I travel long term.
1. Save as money as possible before you leave – when I decided that I was going to travel, I started focusing on saving my money. I cut some things out of my life like not going out as much, taking lunch with me to work, not buying coffee out, buying clothes I needed rather than what I wanted, selling my things and staying somewhere for a month rent free. However, I had already a month planned in Japan, two weeks in Zimbabwe and several weekend trips inside and outside the U.K before even leaving to travel long term. As you can imagine, I didn’t save that much but I tried my best.
2. Travelling as a lifestyle vs travelling for a set amount of months – I travel as a lifestyle, which means that I work, volunteer and travel. I am not constantly on the move like a traveller who is going to different countries for a certain period of time and not working. Therefore I am getting an income, saving up then travelling around different countries. The advantage of this is that I experience the culture, people, food and lifestyle in different countries. I am also not flying back to the U.K just to earn money and set off again. It means I am able to make a living and follow my dreams of constantly travelling. On average, I am working in a country for 6 months of a year and travelling the other half of the year.
3. Volunteer – When you are abroad there are many volunteering opportunities. Research and find out what is suitable for you. I volunteered with ICS (International Citizen Service) in a charity called Tearfund and Zoe Life in Durban, South Africa. I was a team leader, working in day cares for 3 month. The advantage of this programme is that they pay for the flights, transport, food and accommodation in exchange for raising some money for the charity before leaving and volunteering with them. Therefore, the only money I spent was on extra activities. Unfortunately this is only for people who live in the UK. Some others volunteer in hostels or farms in exchange for food and accommodation. I have also volunteered in Colombia through Greenheart Travel. There are so many ways of travelling through volunteering and not spending much money.
4. Utilise your skill – If you have a particular skill, untilise it while travelling and earn money. I am a qualified primary school teacher so I decided to teach English abroad, learning about English grammar and structures, passing that information onto others. As I had the experience and skills as a teacher, I was able to ask for a higher salary in Thailand, I didn’t have to pay the extortionate price of the CELTA qualification in Australia and I could get extra jobs on the side, just by using my skills I already had.
5. Work hard – In the time periods of working in other countries, I try to work as hard and much as I can. I often have more than one job so I can save more. In Thailand, I worked in a public school during the day and once I finished I tutored privately to different aged children in Bangkok. When I was in Australia, I often worked 13 hours a day during the week and sometimes extra on the weekend; I was working at two different language schools at the same time as well as invigilating on the weekends. Then in Colombia, I had 3 jobs: teaching English in a college, doing private classes in businesses and working online as an English Teacher. Therefore I would encourage you to work extremely hard when it’s time to earn money.
6. Budget – When travelling, set a budget depending on how much money you have: it doesn’t matter if it’s low or high, just try to stick to it. I had a very low budget in South-East Asia as it was a cheaper area to travel and I didn’t have as much money. Whereas in Australia and New Zealand, I had a lot bigger budget as it’s more expensive and I had more money to spend so I went on a lot more tours and treated myself to different activities. I also try to only spend and travel on the money I’ve earned from the country I have just worked in. When I travelled for 2 months around South East Asia, I only spent the money I saved in Thailand or when I travelled around South America, I used the money I earned in Colombia. This means I haven’t been going into my saving and I am able to continue travelling on the set budget.
These are just a few things I do so I can continue to be a long term traveller, visiting many more countries. I hope this has given you hope and ambition to follow your dreams as a traveller.
If you have an more advice or question, please comment.