So You Want To Travel Forever: Live On Less

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I’m starting a new series on Sole Sisters and it’s about preparing to travel- forever. We all want that dream life where we get paid to go on vacation right? But no company is ever going to pay you to get a fabulous tan in some exotic beach. Believe me, I’ve tried. You have to prepare, find ways to fund yourself and get ready to work for the life of travel that you so desire. And don’t forget, you gotta hustle hustle hustle

And so this series is for those who are thinking of going away for a while, if not forever. Don’t worry, travel is not something new and it certainly isn't revolutionary. No one has ever lived happily ever after, stuck in one place until they die.

It’s just normal to want to see places that amaze you.

But how do you start? What little things can you learn to prepare for a lifetime of exploration? This series will cover, not just the financial and physical aspect of travel. It will also deal with the the human side of it all. But this won’t just be unsolicited advice. This series will actually give you some homework- stuff you may want to experiment with while you’re still back at home sitting on your couch with the cats. It sure beats watching National Geographic doesn't it?

Travel Budget
Photo Credit: Harsha K R

A lot of people ask me, “How exactly are you able to afford your travel lifestyle?” This kind of question perplexes me because it assumes I'm different from others. As though I have some uncanny ability to turn anything into gold. I’m not special. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can do what I do.

As Paolo Coelho said, "Travel is never a matter of money but of courage".

Do you want to know my business model? It's simple: I make money from the blog, speaking and other new media projects. Then I go off and spend so much less than that. Sorry to disappoint you with sheer simplicity. The pay I get is nothing but a fraction of what I used to earn when I was working corporate. But I live simply and can forego certain comforts just so I can continue to travel and live on the beach day after day.

So the question is not only about how much money you make. Perhaps the question that begs to be asked is “How much does it take for you to maintain your lifestyle?” Not much. To be quite honest, I often travel like a homeless person. I find creative ways for me to spend less money while traveling.  I usually book the cheapest flight, stay at some hostel or resort for longer periods and can resist the urge to eat at a fancy restaurant ever so often.

But it’s also important to note that I'm not only spending, I actually make money even when I’m on the move. How? We'll get to that part later in the series.

I believe in this: The less money I spend on unnecessary expenses,  the longer I can travel for, the more places I can see and the more experiences I can have. It's all about cutting ruthlessly on things that don’t matter to me and spending lavishly on things that actually do.

For example, I don’t waste my money on:

Cellphone Bills

But I certainly spend lavishly on:

Good Coffee
Gear like my surfboard and DSLR camera

To sum it up, keep your overhead low, most especially when you’re just preparing to travel. Start taking the train instead of taking cabs, go live with your parents if you must, make your own meals instead of eating out. You may feel deprived at first. But you’ll feel better about it when you start thinking: all this money is going to fund my future trips!

a backpacking travel to europe R015-036
Photo Credit: kokorowa shinjin


Oh yes, there's homework and no cheating!

Write down all the monthly costs you don’t need. Things like your daily frapuccino, weekly shopping trips or that gym membership you don't even use. Add them up and see how much money you should be able to put straight into your travel fund every month. Then eliminate all these costs from your life!

Next, create a list of monthly non-negotiables, expenses you absolutely need and cannot live without.  Add them all up and this amount should be your living budget, which you should not exceed for whatever reason, on a monthly basis.

If you want to challenge yourself, you can push it even further. Find out what is your absolute leanest daily budget and put that exact amount in 7 different envelopes. Bring 1 envelope each day and work with that. It’s pretty extreme but you can thank me later.

This exercise is great not just for planning your trip. It also helps you become debt-free so you don't have to worry and spend more on things you actually care about. It's not just about living within your means, it's about living below your means so you have extra resources for your favorite things.

So that’s the first part of the series! It goes until 10 so I’m going to feed you little nibbles each week. More importantly, I’d love to get feedback on your assigned homework for the week. Please share your experiences in the comments below. If you want to add more tips, feel free to do that.

Next week, I’ll be sharing some tips on how to Travel Light so watch out for that.

Determined to Travel Forever and Ever,
Sole Sister Lois

Lois has traveled extensively and has called the USA, Germany, Switzerland and the Philippines home in various stages of her life. When she's not having adventures around the globe, she can be found surfing, surfing someone's couch or giving talks, workshops and retreats. She is a certified Passion Test facilitator who believes that people can find what they love and make a living from their passions. She is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of

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1 sole trails

  1. That looks like an amazing plan ! I will try and hope i can follow it. Thanks very much ! :)


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