On April 8th, 2016 I flew into JFK airport in New York City. I had been abroad for 21 months straight. After that epic trip more than a few people asked me how the hell I could afford such a thing. In short, I taught English, worked online and lived cheap as hell. And honestly, traveling the world for a year or two is not nearly as hard as many people think. Hell, the legendary Cal Fussman traveled for 10 years straight, before the internet! So there’s really no excuse. Here are 5 easy ways to travel the world for a year.
1. Save Money
Saving money to travel is obvious. What’s not obvious to people who haven’t been to Eastern Europe or Asia before is how cheap shit is. In a country like Vietnam or Cambodia, with just $800 a month you can live like a king. Going out to eat every day, taking taxis and staying at the nicest hostels. That’s well within an $800 dollar budget for some of the cheaper countries in South East Asia. In fact, if you want to watch your budget carefully you can even do it for less. As a personal challenge, I lived on $500 in Vietnam for a month.
For more expensive countries like Thailand, or the more expensive parts of Indonesia, you’ll need closer to a $1,000 a month to live comfortably. If you’re earning money in a first world country that’s still not a huge sum to save. While volunteering at a hostel in Ukraine, I met a 28 year old Canadian guy who had managed to save $80,000 and was on a two year trip around the world.
2. Work Online
I’ve written quite a lot about working online, the different types of jobs available, and how to get started. There’s a lot more work out there than many people imagine. Honestly, I believe that one of the largest problems with online work is getting people to understand what exactly it entails. I feel that when many people hear about online work, they think it’s either a scam, or it’s easy as fuck.
I’m hear to say that it’s not a scam, it’s not easy as fuck, but there are jobs out there that will suit you. Working online is just like having a regular job. You do work, you have clients, and you get paid for it. The only difference is that the internet gives you total freedom. I’m writing these words in Bali but I could just as easily be in Budapest. You’d be surprised how many opportunities there are out there to earn a respectable income through the internet, which can easily give you the chance to travel the world for a year. I wrote quite a bit about this on my old blog.
3. Teach English
Teaching English is a fantastic way to fund a trip around the world, so long as you’re a native speaker of English. You can easily work for 9 months or a year, saving the whole time, and then take off across the globe. When choosing a country to teach in, there are two schools of thought. Choose for passion or choose for cash?
I chose Russia because I wanted to learn the language. I accomplished that, and even with the downturn in the Ruble I was still able to save about $5,000 in eight months. That’s about average. I believe that most teaching jobs pay about as much as mine did, and expenses in many countries are about the same.
Another option is to choose a position because they pay more. Saudi Arabia offers a beautiful salary often in excess of $25,000 a year, housing included (as in, you’re expenses are almost zero so you’re saving almost all of that $25,000). Japan also offers a higher salary, although the living expenses are reputed to be very high. If this sounds interesting to you, I wrote a post: How to Get Your First Job Teaching English.
4. Work in Australia
It’s not uncommon to meet someone who has done the Australian work thing. The visa is easy to get, there’s lots of work, and it’s high paying. People will work in Australia for a year, aggressively saving their money, and by the time they leave they’ll have enough money to travel the world for a year or more.
The catch is that the work is difficult. In order to get the visa you have to agree to work on a farm for a certain amount of time. Nine months one French named Luc guy told me, but you should look into it yourself. It may be hard work, but it pays handsomely. Luc said that at times he would earn $300 to $400 in a single day. I wrote more about this in this post, Work in Australia then Travel the World.
5. Live Cheap as Hell
This isn’t really a unique option, so much as something that can be used in combination with the others. When travelling you’ll always have the option to live cheaply. This can come down to where you choose to go, and how you choose to live. For example, in Oslo you can easily pay $50 for one night in a dorm. In Bali, $20 will get you a beautiful single in a great hostel. If you’re on a budget then you’ll have the choice of spending three months somewhere expensive, or a year in cheaper places.
Another option that can help you to stretch your dollars is Workaway. With Workaway you can stay with hosts all across the world and live for free in exchange for a few hours of work every day. I found work with Workaway two different times in Ukraine and it was a good experience. When looking at potential projects, you may want to check whether they provide food or not. Some do, some don’t. If you’re really trying to keep your expenses down so that you can travel for longer, then you’ll want to find a host that provides meals in addition to a place to stay. If you’re nautical, FindaCrew offers a similar service, although the membership fee is rather pricey.
Whatever option strikes you as the best way to fund a trip around the world, the most important thing is to get out there and do it! Set dates, make commitments, don’t put it off. Travelling is awesome and the internet provides so many fantastic opportunities to make it easy. You may also be interested in my post: How Much Money do You Need to Travel Abroad?
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