How we afford to travel full-time

The one question we are asked time and time again is “How do you afford it?” – people find it difficult to understand how we can afford to travel full-time. The truth is you don’t need to be super-rich to afford to travel full-time, you need to be passionate and make travel a priority. Before we get into this, let’s get one thing straight; travel doesn’t need to be expensive. You can spend as little or as much as you want on your trips depending on your priorities.

How we afford to travel full-time, Eating at the Sunday Night Market in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Eating at the Sunday Night Market in Chiang Mai, Thailand

You need to be willing to do whatever it takes in order to keep your travels going. Sleep in a dingy hostel, take a ride on the top of a public bus, walk rather than taking a taxi, eat local food, learn some of the local language, whatever it is if it will save you money it should be at the top of your list.

How we afford to travel full-time, Working on our laptops at the beach in Morocco

Working from our laptops at the beach in Morocco

With that said, saving money is only one aspect of it. We left Ireland in 2009 and we’ve been on the road since. If you have a lump of savings to work from, the more money you save, the longer your money will last – simples! But the day will come when your bank account is approaching zero and it’s time for the dream to end. So, how do you keep the dream alive?

How we afford to travel full-time, Hiking in New Zealand

Hiking in New Zealand

Unless you’re a lottery winner, you’re going to need to earn an income in order to afford to travel full-time. We’ve tried a number of different ways to make an income while travelling over the years and we are now making enough money to travel the world while working from our laptops. It doesn’t matter if it’s the top of a mountain or a tropical beach – if there’s a WiFi signal we’re good to go.

Here is how we afford to travel full-time – our current travel lifestyle and some of the ways we have made an income while travelling in the past.

How Do We Afford To Travel Full-Time?

Travel Blogging

How we afford to travel full-time, Winners of the Best Travel Blog at the Blog Awards Ireland 2015

Winners of the Best Travel Blog at the Blog Awards Ireland 2015

This travel blog earns us a small income each month. We’re full-on travel addicts, travel is our passion and we love sharing our photos, stories and videos with others who share that passion. Our earnings from our travel blog come mainly through advertising, sponsored posts and affiliate marketing. We also partner with brands and tourism boards in different campaigns. For these projects, we might receive payment or the costs of the trip might be covered. We take every project, article and campaign as they come.

How we afford to travel full-time, Noelle filming with the GoPro

Noelle filming with the GoPro

It’s worth mentioning that travel blogging is hugely competitive and it can take some time before you are making any money from your blog. You need to be dedicated, passionate and be prepared to learn on the job. Superstar Blogging run by Nomadic Matt is a great course with everything you need to learn to get started from writing and photography courses, webinars and interviews with travel blogging experts. There’s a great community of travel bloggers from around the world as well as an opportunity board. When it comes to running your blog you will play the role of writer, photographer, editor, website designer, accountant and marketer – and doing all of this while you deal with travelling full-time. It’s not for everyone, but if you can make it work it’s the best job ever. We wouldn’t change it for anything!

Online Freelance Work

How we afford to travel full-time, Housesitting in New Zealand

Working while housesitting in New Zealand

In addition to running our own blog, we do freelance writing for other websites and publications. There are always opportunities on websites like Outsourcely and Upwork where you can pick up writing work, editing work, graphic design jobs, virtual assistant gigs, you name it. These can be a great way of making some extra cash while you’re on the road. If you’re travelling in a country where the cost of living is very low, like India for example and you can make $100 a week writing a few articles, then that’s your expenses covered.

Content Writing

How we afford to travel full-time, Catching up on freelance work in the back of our camper in New Zealand

Catching up on freelance work in the back of our camper in New Zealand

The majority of our income at the moment comes from our content writing businesses. Completely separate from our travel blog, we have two small content writing businesses. We have a number of regular clients who we write content for on a number of different topics. It could be writing about anything from dentistry to gates. It can be web content, e-books, white papers, blog articles; you name it. This provides us with something of a regular income from month to month – it’s not a steady income but we make it work.

Travelling In Cheaper Countries

Backpacking through India for 6 months

Backpacking through India for 6 months was incredibly rewarding and affordable

Being able to afford to travel full-time means being selective about where you go. South-east Asia, the Indian Sub-Continent, Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Eastern Europe are where we have mostly been based over the last six years. The cost of living in these countries is much lower, allowing us to live for a fraction of the cost and if you learn to haggle it can be even cheaper! It’s less expensive for us to travel in these countries than it would be for us to live in Ireland. Choosing to travel in cheaper countries will allow you to stretch your money further, enjoy your time, and do and see more in each place.

Travelling Independently As Much As Possible

Trekking to Everest Base Camp independently over 23 days

Trekking to Everest Base Camp independently over 23 days

As well as travelling in cheaper countries, we also prefer to travel independently as much as we can. For us, we prefer to travel this way anyway and the added bonus is that it significantly lowers our costs. Generally, we prefer not to take guides or tours if we can help it. Instead, we’ll figure out how we can do it ourselves and it usually leads to a more authentic experience. Plus, you can go at your own pace, you don’t have to share the experience with dozens of other people and you’ll have more time to get lost in whatever it is your doing. We completely understand the pros of group travel and realise that our style of travel might not be for everyone, but if you want to cut down your costs it’s worth doing more things independently.

Stopping To Live In Places

Stopping to live in places | Sitting down to Christmas dinner while living in Sri Lanka

Sitting down to our Christmas dinner while living in Sri Lanka

Travelling constantly can be tiring. You’re changing beds every other night, you have no routine and you’re always on the go. Every now and then, we rent somewhere for a month or two and recharge. Airbnb is great for short-term rentals of a few months and the monthly prices are way cheaper than nightly. There are also some good deals on apartments through, depending on what part of the world you’re travelling in. Being able to do grocery shopping and cook saves money on eating out and staying in reading, planning your next trip or just watching TV is less expensive than entertaining yourself every evening. While you are taking a break from travel, you’re also living in a new location that you can get to know and enjoy while having a base from which to go and see all of the local sights and those in the surrounding areas.

Teaching English

How we afford to travel full-time, Noelle with some of her students in Korea

Noelle with some of her students in Korea

Originally our main income was from teaching English in South Korea. Like so many others we operated the common ‘work-save-travel-repeat’ program. Living in South Korea, we had a great standard of living, we travelled a lot around Asia using Korea as a base and we were able to save half our wages each month comfortably. Your employer provides you with a free apartment to live in, your return airfare is provided and the cost of living is about half of what it is in Ireland. We absolutely loved living and working in Korea and learned so much about Korean culture and customs, but we wanted to travel more than two sets of two-week holidays in a year so we looked at how we could afford to travel full-time and work remotely.

House And Petsitting As We Go

Girl with two dogs | Housesitting in Andalusia, Spain

Some furry friends for company while housesitting in Andalusia, Spain

In the last couple of years, we’ve started using housesitting as a way to spend longer in places without having to pay any rent. For our first house and petsitting gig, we stayed in a little Andalusian Village minding a home and four dogs for two months. It was a great way to experience living in a small Spanish town and we loved the experience. The owners even left us their car to use so we were able to explore the surrounding area easily.

We have to date completed housesits allover the world in Australia, New Zealand, Turkey Germany, South Korea, The Netherlands and at home in Ireland. Trusted Housesitters had been our go-to website for housesitting, it’s really easy to use, it has the best listings and although it is a little more expensive to join than some of the other websites out there, it’s worth it for the better opportunities.

Other Travel Jobs 

Travel full-time by working in construction

Travel full-time by working in construction

Over the years, we have worked different jobs to provide us with an income while abroad. Some of these jobs were more enjoyable than others but they all served their purpose in keeping our dreams of staying on the road alive.

Construction Work

Construction work is one of the easiest jobs to pick up while you’re on the road. Turn up at a building site, get talking to someone and you’ll probably find yourself with a days work. You don’t need to be skilled but you need to be prepared to work hard. Working in construction in Hawaii, our job was to gut out an old brothel as they were turning the building into office space. Working indoors it was dusty, dark and incredibly hot. It’s not the most glamorous work but we were well paid for our efforts and it kept the dream alive for a little while longer.

Waiting Tables

Getting a job as a waiter or waitress is another great option while travelling. If you have some experience it will help but even with no experience at all you can pick up some work and learn on the job. If you can, try to find a waiting job in a ‘fancy’ restaurant. The more money you can make in tips the better. In one of my previous restaurant jobs I was earning over $100 tips per night, I never even collected my wages until I was moving on to the next location and by then they had turned into a nice little nest egg.

Kitchen Staff

Kitchens are always looking for workers. From cooks to kitchen porters, there is a range of jobs depending on your experience. Working in kitchens can be hot and uncomfortable and it’s definitely a high-stress environment. Chefs have something of a reputation for being fiery, so be prepared to get yelled and screamed at while you make your money.

Au Pair Work

There are countless opportunities to work as an Au Pair around the world. Your experience will depend entirely on the family you are working for so be sure to ask questions during the interview process. Find out where exactly you will be staying, ask about the kids and inquire about what will be expected. Working as an Au Pair is a great way to interact with locals in a country through your host family, their friends and their family. You get a deeper understanding of the country you are living in, the culture and how everyday life really is.

Earning Enough To Afford To Travel Full-Time

Celebrating New Year's Eve 2015 / 2016 at Mt Cook in New Zealand

Celebrating New Year’s Eve 2015 / 2016 with epic views of Mt Cook in New Zealand

To afford to travel full-time, you need to set a realistic target for what you are going to need to earn each month. Once you have that figured out, you can go about working on a model that will provide that income. On the months where we don’t make enough money, we will cut back our spending, start looking at house-sitting for the next month or try to earn some extra money by doing more freelance work. It’s important to stay as flexible as possible.

There are plenty of people out there who have created some great models where they are earning a great income while travelling full-time and there’s no reason you can’t do it too. You just need to be passionate and really want to make it happen.

Remember that you should alway cover yourself with travel insurance when living a life of full-time travel. We love to use World Nomads for travel insurance.

If you have anything to add or have any questions about earning a living while travelling full-time, please let us know in the comments below.

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Brian Barry
Brian is a travel writer, photographer, blogger, travel addict and adventure junkie. Being outdoors, getting off the beaten track and outside his comfort zone is what makes him tick. Brian's the dreamer in the relationship; when he's not travelling, he's dreaming about it! Keeping fit, cooking, music and red wine take up the rest of his time.

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wanderingon37.6K followers☘ Irish Travel Couple - Brian & Noelle 🌍 Nomadic for 10+ years 🏞️ Hiking, Adventure & Inspiration ✈ Independent Travel 📍Edinburgh 👇🏻Travel Tips & Blog
\"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.\"⁠ — Nelson Mandela⁠ ⁠ \"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.\"⁠ — Martin Luther King Jr.⁠ ⁠ “Never look down on anybody unless you\'re helping him up.”⁠ — Jesse Jackson⁠ ⁠➳⁠ 📷 Views from the first floor of the Hagia Sophia Museum looking towards The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey 🇹🇷⁠ ➳⁠ We understand that being white and therefore, inherently privileged, we can never truly understand this struggle, however, we completely stand with the movement and the idea that all human beings everywhere in the world should be treated equally and have the same chances and opportunities in life.⁠ ⁠➳ Unfortunately, this isn\'t the case and the thought that someone can be treated differently simply because of the colour of their skin absolutely breaks our hearts.💔⁠ ⁠➳ In our privileged position, we need to learn about and educate ourselves about these issues in every way we can and do our best to change the views of those around us.⁠ ⁠➳ To quote another great changemaker, Mahatma Gandhi, you need to “be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ⁠ It starts with you, to move in the world with love and respect for all.⁠ ❤️✨✌ #BlackLivesMatter⁠
“Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing.” —Dr. Seuss » Brian standing in absolute awe at the El Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza!🗿🇲🇽 » Built by the Mayans sometime between the 8th and 12th centuries, Chichen Itza is a huge complex of Mayan ruins located on the northern half of Mexico’s beautiful Yucatan Peninsula.🗿🇲🇽 The complex is an inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. » Built from limestone, El Castillo stands at a height of 30m including a 6m temple on top. Each of the pyramid\'s four sides has 91 steps up it, making 364 steps total, with the temple topping the pyramid considered an additional step totalling 365, each step representing a day in the calendar.📆 El Castillo is also known as the Temple of Kukulkan as it served as a temple to the Mayan feathered serpent god Kukulkan, or Quetzalcoatl.🐍 » We visited this time last year, however, the spring and autumn equinoxes are the best days to visit to see the “descent of Kukulkan\".🐍 » According to legend, twice a year when the day and night are in balance 🌗, the pyramid is visited by its namesake Kukulkan.🐍 Thanks to the crafty and mathematically brilliant architecture of the Mayans combined with the natural rotation of the Earth on the equinox, an amazing eerie image of a giant snake crawling down the temple is created. Kukulkan returns to earth to provide blessings for a full harvest and good health before bathing in the sacred waters below and continuing on his way to the underworld. » If you can\'t visit on either equinox, don\'t worry! The phenomenon is recreated nightly during the Light and Sounds Show at 7pm in winter and 8pm in summer. » We love doing things independently as much as we can when we travel. As Chichen Itza is located just a couple of hours drive away from Playa del Carmen (and Cancun) we rented a car and drove there ourselves so we didn\'t get to stay for the light show as we had to drive back.🚗 » What\'s your travel style? Are you a DIY person or do you prefer to go on an organised tour? Let us know in the comments below!💬👇 » #WanderingOn #LiveToTravel #Mexico #ChichenItza #SevenWondersOfTheWorld
“Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” — Kristen Butler » The sun sets over Edinburgh from Calton Hill, one of the seven hills of Edinburgh.🌆 » Set right in the city centre, Calton Hill is unmistakable with its unfinished Athenian acropolis poking above the skyline, giving Edinburgh it\'s nickname, the \"Athens of the North\". » It\'s a popular sunset spot as it\'s easily accessed - it only takes about five minutes to get to the top of the hill from two staircases on either side, or you can drive up and park - and it offers panoramic views down the length of Princes Street and of Edinburgh Castle.🏰 There are also great views of the coloured cliffs of the Salisbury Crags, Arthur\'s Seat, and the slopes of Holyrood Park.⛰️ » On the last night of April, up to 12,000 people take to Calton Hill for the Beltane Fire Festival, an ancient Celtic fertility festival. 🔥 Traditionally, Beltane was the start of the pastoral summer where animals were taken from their winter shelter to the fields and \"Beltane\" is the Gaelic word for May. » In Edinburgh\'s revivalist celebration of Beltane, three hundred or so voluntary performers from the Beltane Fire Festival Society celebrate the ending of the \'dreich\' (Scottish slang for dreary and bleak) Scottish winter and the hoped-for season of warmth and new growth with drumming, fire performance, revelry, and a ritualised procession around Calton Hill. 🔥 As well as the fiery displays, acrobatics, pulsating drums, and body-painted theatrics, the Beltane Fire Festival Society retell an immersive story for the crowd. » The revival of this festival started in 1988 as a free event but is now ticketed. There is also a Samhuinn (Samhain) Fire Festival on Halloween night which traditionally marked the beginning of winter in the Celtic calendar. 🎃 We hope to catch the Samhuinn Fire Festival festival later in the year! » Have been to any interesting cultural festivals? Let us know!💬👇 » #WanderingOn #LiveToTravel #EdinburghScotland #CaltonHill
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