I’ve been traveling and living abroad for over five years. My life sounds like one big vacation, right? It’s not!
No matter what we do in life, working to obtain money will always be a part of it (unless you’re one of the six Brangelina kids, of course).
After changing my lifestyle to one that involves living in different countries and finding alternative ways to make money, I’ve picked up a few money tips that could be useful should you want a to travel like pro or even live a nomadic expat lifestyle like me
You don’t need it.
There are a lot of things you simply don’t need. That fancy shampoo made of unicorn hair and fairy dust, that third cup of Starbucks’ crappy coffee, and the new iPhone 7 are all wants, not needs. People keep talking about wanting to travel more, but they aren’t making moves to make it happen. Stop purchasing items and start purchasing experiences.
You don’t have to give up everything, instead just find a few things you’re willing to live without and watch as your money stacks up!
I’ve learned to live without a lot of things — I don’t buy fancy hair and makeup products and make my own coffee — and I can honestly and truly say my life is better without them. The experiences I’ve gained in place of those material items are priceless. (It’s true as cheesy as it sounds!)
Stop giving your money away.
Well of course you’re not going to go to the top of the building with a bag of cash and just dump it in the streets for anyone to take, right?
On a less dramatic scale than that example, when you don’t do some research on popular scams in a country, when you don’t haggle a bit (not too much now), or if you don’t do some homework on how much things should cost, then you’re essentially giving your money away.
And I don’t feel the slightest bit bad for you either.
Keep that cash by doing just a bit of homework.
Pro tip: Always ask a neutral person how much something costs. Example: Ask your friendly staff at the hotel how much a taxi from the hotel to *insert awesome place you want to go to* should cost. They have no benefit in lying to you and this is a good base to know when haggling with the driver.
Go where you can afford to go.
You want an epic vacation, possibly to Paris, but your bank account will probably crumble quicker than a baguette when you turn it into Euros. However, the peso in Mexico is looking a lot more doable. Go where you can actually afford to go. Don’t worry about money on your holiday. There’s no point in going to Paris if you can’t afford to be there and actually enjoy it.
Get geographically smart.
You want to go to Japan but you live in Michigan and you have exactly one-week. This is a terrible idea. You’re not making the most of your time or money. You could have an equally epic trip going to Puerto Rico, Belize, or Mexico, countries that are much much closer and therefore will likely end up cheaper. The further you go with a tight schedule, the more you’ll pay and the less time to you will have to enjoy.
You’ll be getting over your jet lag as you get on your flight back home!
Less is more.
On that same note, people waste a lot of time and money on squeezing way too much in. Would you rather enjoy a destination or two in your one week vacation or try to see five destinations in that week and spend most of your time on buses, planes, and trains while spending three times as much money?
Hm… Option one actually sounds like a vacation and the second option sounds more like something I’ll need a vacation from after doing. Less is more.
Make a new base.
If you want to travel a lot and for an extended period of time, making a base abroad and exploring a particular region around your new base is the smartest way to travel. Traveling from the USA to Asia on three separate occasions in a year versus making a base in Thailand and traveling around from there: It doesn’t take a math genius to see the budget-friendly option.
When you make a base you also get to know the local way of doing things, which again saves you money!
Sketch out a daily budget.
Yep, make yourself a daily budget. It sounds like a pain, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s really easy, and it doesn’t need to be exact:
• Go to a hotel booking website to see the average cost of hotels that would suit your style.
• Look up about how much meals costs. Add these two things up and this is your daily budget for survival. Food and shelter.
• What activities do you like? Beach bumming is free but diving isn’t. Having a base for a daily budget will be easy to keep in mind when you’re exploring.
Nina Ragusa runs the travel, live, and work abroad lifestyle blog, Where in the World is Nina?
Her mission: To travel, live, and work on all continents. Through her witty and sassy writing you get to live through her adventures, or learn how to make your own. She lives the nomadic expat life, and after living in Asia, Africa, and Australia, Europe will soon become her fourth continent to call home.