Travelling full time - how do we afford it?

Steffanie van Twuijver


May 24, 2022 11:03 PM

It is one of the main questions Will and I get asked by people, how on earth can you afford to travel full time? Well, there are many ways, however they do involve some risk taking. Unfortunately, we all need to make money, and it's the only way we can keep on travelling. We have found so many ways to make money throughout the years, but I think our current set-up is what works best for us! This is totally opinionated by the way - what works for us might not work for you at all!

Work on your locations

When we first started travelling around rather than just living in one spot, both Will and I saved up a bunch of money so that we were able to not think about our travels too much. We saved for about a year, and in the end were only able to travel without working for two months. We chose to spend those two months on a motorbike in Cambodia, and honestly it was BOMB. After we finished our trip around the country, we chose to get local jobs so that we could stay abroad for a longer term. Will ended up running a coffee shop in Kampot, and I was teaching English in a school. Now let me point out that in Asia jobs do not pay a lot - together we had about 600 USD a month that we made - but with rent of only 50 USD and 1 USD breakfast it was very liveable! There are plenty of countries where you can easily get away with making very little, so if you're not able to build a solid income, yet these are places where you will still be able to travel and enjoy yourself. Jobs are everywhere, and especially in things like hospitality, agriculture, and teaching, there are plenty of jobs available worldwide.

Work for a company - location independent

Now for us that was not long-term sustainable, simply because our goal was to be travelling around more. After our trip to Asia, we decided to try out a more stable life with better wages, which meant we moved to the Netherlands for about 2 years. We wanted to travel again and were given the opportunity to move to Iceland for a while - obviously we wanted to take that chance! So I went to my employer and ask him if I would be able to continue my job from abroad.

Now mind you - this was before Corona and the mass rise in location independent possibilities! Lucky for me my manager was in a bit of a mess, as he had way too little trained employees to fill my position, meaning he agreed to let me work abroad for a maximum of 6 months. This worked out perfectly for both of us, he kept a highly trained employee for a little longer, I was able to think about my next steps for 6 additional months before having to take a leap into the unknown.

So ask your employer - especially now after Corona, you'd be surprised with how many possibilities there might be for you! Location independent employment is becoming more and more common, so take the chance and just ask! As they say in the Netherlands: You always have a no, but a yes you could get!

Work as a freelancer

Now, as I said before - I only had 6 months to figure out my next steps job wise. I still had some holidays left, so Will and I decided to head to Israel for a few weeks. This was at the start of Covid, we had come well prepared thinking we were all good to get back home, Olive stayed with my mom in Iceland, and off we went. Well - things didn't go to plan. Covid went out of hand, Israel went into lockdown, and 2 months into our elongated trip my job was about to run out when I got an awesome opportunity. I do realize I got super lucky with this - but let me explain.

When I was a teenager I would build websites and create logos for fun, I LOVED design. I never pursued a career in design because it was a bit of a hype at the time and imposter syndrome hit me good, but when I was faced with no money vs. an opportunity, I jumped. One of the people we were staying with in Israel needed someone that could create a logo fast, and I said I'd give it a go. My work was received amazingly! Even though I hadn't designed a thing in years!

After that, I decided to take the jump into freelancing. I managed to get some clients with the help of friends, and managed to make enough to provide for myself within the first few months.

In my opinion - if you have a skill, you can sell it. There are so many freelance hustles out there, from illustration and design to writing or translating, freelance virtual assistants and tax peoples, almost every job you can do in an office, you can do freelance. You just have to find a way to sell yourself!

Build your own future

From working as a freelancer, I was able to start building a company of my own - I am currently running a graphic design and web development studio that is doing pretty good. However - there is so much you can do in terms of owning your own business. Some things that come to mind are drop-shipping, consulting, coaching, and more!

There is plenty of other options to be making money on the road, I have friends who for example create necklaces and sell them on the streets in every location they travel to. Others chose to do workaways at farms that will provide you with free stay, food and a small allowance. Many hostels and hotels offer to house you for free, including food, in exchange for your help at the hostel. You could even try to get paid internships abroad or online to be able to pay for your travels!

In the end we all build our future the way that works for us. My biggest tip would be to take the risk! It is scary, but remember that even if everything goes wrong, you are stuck, and nothing goes as you thought it would, you can ALWAYS go back. There are always jobs somewhere, and people that are willing to help. So do it - take the risk - jump and build your wings on the way down.

Written by:

Steffanie van Twuijver

Just your quintessential dog mom millennial trying to make a living while travelling the world with her dog.

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