A good friend of mine from high school who I haven’t heard from in some time sent me this message on Facebook:
You know I’ve been thinking a lot.
In our recession, how is it that you and Carrie can travel all over the world? 😉
This post will hopefully start a series of posts about how we afford to travel and how we’re doing what we’re doing.
Most importantly, we’re going to attempt to provide some tips or ideas for you if you’re wanting to set up your life so that you can “afford” to travel for extended periods of time.
What’s important here is not how we can afford to travel.
What’s important is (if you want to travel) how YOU can afford to travel.
What I responded back to my friend is:
I heard about that recession thing… I just decided not to participate.
This is a quote I got from listening to a CD by Jim Rohn over, and over, and over, from 2002-2009.
The short answer is that since our income isn’t location specific, we work from wherever we get an Internet connection, so we earn (and work) whether or not we’re traveling. As far as costs, we spend about the same amount when traveling as we do when living in the states.
The email to my friend said more as well, but that’s the gist.
Here’s one way we have more money to travel:
Selling our cars and lowering our auto insurance to the lowest possible amount saves us over $750/month alone.
That may seem like an incredibly large number, but we know it for a fact.
We track everything we spend, and everything we earn.
I have done this since 2001. Carrie has done this since 2004.
We track everything:
- A bottle of water picked up at a little store…
- A small tourist trinket in a local market…
- Going to the movies (and the drinks/popcorn – if we actually bought those at the movies, which we don’t)…
- All our groceries…
You don’t have to track everything you spend and everything you earn, but I highly recommend trying it for at least 30 days.
It’s AMAZING how much you can learn from this simple activity.
It’s hard to know how to get where you want to be if you don’t know where you are starting from.
Part of where you are starting from is with your habits and rituals.
If you don’t want to track everything you spend and earn, then start just with your vehicle (if you have one).
I dare you, for 30 days, to track every expense (and income) associated with your vehicle.
- Car Payment (if applicable)
Do not make a quality judgment about it during the 30 days (i.e. “I should drive less” or “I should sell this car and buy a less expensive one”).
Just track how much you spend on your car (and how much you earn from your car – if that’s $0.00, make sure to write down $0.00) for 30 days.
When Carrie and I average what we spent on our cars, per month, in the first 9 months of 2009, it averages out to over $750/month.
We don’t have those cars anymore.
As a result, we have freed up $750/month for our travel expenses.
My suggestion would be to track everything you spend, and everything you earn.
You might find some surprising places in your life that can help YOU afford to travel.