How Do You Afford to Travel?


Almost every day someone says to me, “Do you mind if I ask how you get money to pay for your life?”  They imagine I must have some swank job.  (No thanks.)  Or maybe I’m a trust-fund baby.  (Ha! So, so, so far from it.)

One day I’ll write up the long version.  But I’m constantly dashing off quick explanations to friends and readers curious if they might be able to similarly travel the world. (YES!)  Here’s what I scribbled out for a friend who said, “I need a change in my life and want to start traveling more. I was just wondering what you do to afford traveling as much as you do.

1) Start flying for free.

Thanks to free flights, I haven’t paid to fly anywhere for almost two years, except for this flight to where I am now (Australia) because it was only $600 round trip (an error fare – can explain those later)

2) Travel slowly and go with the flow.

I can’t shut up about slow, open-ended travel.  Spending a month in Croatia can be as cheap as $400. Spending that same month in 10 cities all over Europe will cost thousands and be absolutely exhausting. Not to mention a bit boring.

3) Work exchange!

I love, love, love work exchanging. It’s so fun, you learn so much, it’s so fulfilling. This is my linchpin for how I travel the world for about $600 a month.

4) Sleep for free.

When you aren’t work-exchanging, sleeping for free is the second-best thing.  It’s way more fun than a hotel!

5) Make money however you can.

At the most basic level, you just make it happen. Especially if you are a middle-class white person.  Opportunities to work abroad vary widely.  I’ve worked high-paying, swank jobs.  I’ve also shoveled poo at a horse farm when I was down to my last budgeted grocery dollar while I was housesitting before going to circus school.

Hope this helps get a few people started.  There’s a longer version in the FAQ.

Happy Travels! ♣



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