How to Travel Affordably Internationally

OR “Trevor, how the f*** can you afford to travel full-time?”

The  Batu Caves  in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.- Source

The Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.-Source

For the last six months…

I’ve been traveling full-time, exploring different parts of the world I never thought I would see. I cannot begin to describe to you how eye-opening the experience has been so far. It has been quite unbelievable with all of the amazing friends I’ve been able to make along the way, from all over the world.

Shout out to the crew from Belgrade, Serbia for a hell of a good time. This may have been taken at 4AM…

Shout out to the crew from Belgrade, Serbia for a hell of a good time. This may have been taken at 4AM…

One of the most common questions I’ve been asked is, “Trevor, how the f*** can you afford to travel?”

So, I’m going to tell you…

….for five small payments of $499!

Just playing :)

I’ve put together this little article for you since there is a lot of confusion about how expensive it is to travel, how I pay for it, and (hopefully) inspire you to book your next plane ticket to a place you’ve never dreamed you would travel. You may be surprised what you find.

“Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret”

Oscar Wilde

I’m going to cover a few things:

  1. Costs to travel long-term

  2. How to make money while traveling

  3. Apps to make it easier to travel

  4. Mistakes to avoid

  5. Words of advice from yours truly

Let’s get into it.

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends.
You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky — all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” — Cesare Pavese

Costs to Travel Long-Term

Catching a little yoga with  Monica Filip  in Bucharest, Romania

Catching a little yoga with Monica Filip in Bucharest, Romania

A big part of traveling full-time is understanding the costs of where you are going, how long you are going to stay there, and how much a day is going to cost you.

It is not nearly as expensive as you might think it would be, depending on your required level of comfort, of course. For example, here is the average cost of living in Chicago renting a 1 bedroom apartment:

Avg. 1 Bedroom Rent — $1,341 
Avg. Utilities — $160
Avg. Car Insurance — $117.33
Avg. Used Car Payment — $381 
Avg. Monthly Cost of Gas — $125
Avg. Monthly Food Cost--$1020

Monthly Total to live in Chicago~$3134.33

It takes approximately, $3,200 to live decently, per month, in Chicago without factoring in any entertainment costs, I didn’t include other living expenses like student loans or health insurance, because those expenses are going to be there no matter where you live. Let’s compare that to living it up on a budget in one of my favorite cities to visit — Prague, for a period of 6 weeks.

Prague, Czech Republic —  Source

Prague, Czech Republic — Source


Food and Drink Spend — $900
Lodging at a hostel or shared AirBnB— $450
Coffee or Coworking— $300
Transportation — $120

Monthly Total Cost ~1770

So by comparing the two, Chicago=$3134.33 vs Prague=$1770, you can see that the cost of traveling to a city like Prague is substantially cheaper than living in a city full-time in the United States. Bear in mind, costs like food and lodging will depend on the level of comfort that you need while traveling, which will affect your total costs.

Staying in a hostel or shared AirBnb is going to save you quite a bit of money over renting a regular apartment. Personally, I bounce back and forth between AirBnb’s and hostels, depending on my tolerance for people and need for uninterrupted sleep that I need at that point in time.

By living abroad, I was able to remove the following expenses:-

  1. Car insurance, gas, and car payment — I have no car.

  2. Rent or house payment — I stay in reasonably priced hostels or Airbnb’s

  3. Utilities and electricity

  4. Any other costs associated with owning a home or vehicle

There are probably more ways to eliminate expenses for individuals who have a bit of a different lifestyle than myself, but these are some general reductions.

Now, there are a couple extra expenses that are added on, and those are plane or train tickets between cities and international health insurance. I usually book plane tickets through SkyScanner or Kiwi.com when I fly between countries in Europe for around $200 per ticket. International health insurance also costs me around $200 per month.

So that totals to approximately $2200 per month in expenses.

~$3,200 in Chicago to ~$2200 in Prague.

Not too bad, right?

Chilling up in the Genting Highlands, Malaysia —  Cred

Chilling up in the Genting Highlands, Malaysia — Cred

You may be asking yourself, how do I travel so cheap?

Let me break down a few ways I cut down expenses.

  1. I walk as much as I can, typically anything up to 30–40 minutes away I walk.

  2. Public transportation in Europe is super cheap and accessible for everything else.

  3. I stay in dorm room hostels that can be VERY cheap to stay in, and a big perk is you get to meet a lot of amazing people from around the world.

  4. I try to cook my food when I can, that way I can spend the money saved on local experiences.

  5. I get recommendations from locals on where to get cheap and good food. Pho is a quality go-to option.

  6. If I decide to not work form a co-working space, I work from coffee shops or in the common areas at the hostels. This saves me about $15-$20 a day.

Always be mindful of what your comfort levels are and what works best for you.

“I travel because it makes me realize how much I haven’t seen, how much I’m not going to see, and how much I still need to see.” — Carew Papritz

“So…How Do You Make Money While You Travel?…”

thehague2.jpg

Wondering why I’m freezing to death from the Dutch cold in the Hague, Netherlands

I get this question a lot.

And I mean A LOT.

So to address this question , I’m going to break down how I do it first and then lay out a few options for anyone else who wants to travel long-term in the future.

  1. I am a featured writer on Quora and part of their partner program, which brings in a little bit of passive income.

  2. I have a small consulting & digital marketing agency, Deus ex Marketa, where I work with clients in the US on growing their online businesses. This is actually where it all started. If I can work with my clients on my laptop from anywhere, why don’t I?

  3. I sell ads services on Fiverr.com to generate a small amount of income and leads for Deus ex Marketa. I will touch more on how you can use Fiverr as well later in the article to fund your travels.

  4. I work with Adrian Brambila on his coaching program for Search Engine Conquest, teaching people how to build an e-commerce business. I touch base with the students regularly to make sure they are hitting the agreed upon milestones necessary to reach their goals. I love working with these guys and gals from around the world, and I learn as much from them as they do from Adrian.

  5. My podcast, The Formula Podcast, has an affiliate sponsor that helps to pay production costs. Shoutout to Adrian for helping to get that setup.

Phew…yeah, I have my hands in a lot of things but I try to keep my income diversified so that if anything happens to one income stream, I am still able to continue my travels. I learned that mistake the hard way when I was younger, and it caused a lot of stress. That’s why I prefer to have a few forms of income to supplement my regular income.

I spent a lot of time developing specific skills that make it easy to travel full-time, and those two skills are online advertising and writing. This may not be possible for everyone in their current area of expertise but I have a few ideas I’d like to share how you can get started if it is something you desire to do.

  1. Can you do your job remotely?
    If you work on a computer daily, ask your current employer if you can transition to working remotely. This is probably the easiest way to travel long-term. If they won’t, start looking for an employer who will.
    Start looking here:
    AngelList
    Digitalnomad Jobfinder
    Infinite Nomad
    Taimingu
    We Work Remotely

  2. Use Worldpackers to Reduce Expenses
    Trade lodging for work to make it easier to travel with either part-time work online or not working at all.

  3. Use Fiverr to Sell Whatever You Want as a Service
    Can you write? Setup a profile to write Facebook or Google Ads for $5 / ad. Feel like you are good at dating advice? Sell it on Fiverr. Give people’s Tinder profiles a makeover. Create beats for people. Just about anything you are talented at could spin up into a couple thousand dollar a month business on Fiverr without investing a ton of time. I mean people sing happy birthday and make a nice side income off of it…for real…it is worth looking into.

  4. Find an Odd Job You Can Do Online
    Become an online mock juror and get paid for it!
    Test mobile applications.

  5. Learn to Create a Passive Income Business by taking an Online Course
    Take Search Engine Conquest! (I know, shameless plug for my guy’s course)

  6. Become an English as a Second Language Teacher While you Travel
    Get certified here!
    Find jobs here! or Here! or Here!

When there is a will, there is a way. As you can see there are a lot of opportunities, if you put your mind to it and get to work.

Burning the shiiiit out my hands holding some food right off the grill in KL

Burning the shiiiit out my hands holding some food right off the grill in KL


Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
 — Anthony Bourdain







Now that you have your income and expenses sorted out, you’re going to need some tools to help you along the way. Here is a list of apps I use to navigate my journey around the globe. These apps have helped me out in the past, so I will only recommend the ones that I’ve used.

Top Travel Apps to Use to Navigate the Globe

  1. Hostelworld — How to book cheap hostels

  2. AirBnb — You…book AirBnb rentals..here

  3. Uber — Transportation, of course

  4. Grab — Uber in SE Asia

  5. Lonely Planet — Legit helpful travel guides

  6. TripAdvisor — Find cool things to do and restaurants

  7. Google Maps — For navigating your way around foreign cities

  8. MoovIt — Public transportation schedule and maps, similar to Google Maps

  9. Google Translate — Your pocket interpreter, just don’t use it to try to chat up a Czech bartender…doesn’t work well for that :)

  10. FlixBus — Cheap, cross-country bus tickets

  11. Skyscanner — the BEST way to book cheap flights. I routinely use for SUPER cheap flights.

  12. Kiwi.com — Runner-up for booking cheap flights

  13. Booking.com — Book cheap hotel rooms on occasion

  14. Travelspend — App to track travel spending

  15. Meetup — Find local groups to meetup with

  16. Bumble — Find local dates or friends

  17. Whatsapp — How you will likely keep in touch with everyone you meet

  18. Mint — Track your personal spending and budgets

  19. Venmo — Send money to fellow dining friends when you find out they won’t actually split a ticket in Serbia.

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world” — Freya Stark

You are now well equipped with the tools and funds to travel the globe. The road isn’t always completely safe or clear as you travel, and you are likely going to make mistakes that cost you money or put you in precarious situations. Here are a few of the mistakes I have seen and made that you can hopefully avoid.

Mistakes to Avoid While Traveling

  1. No Cabs (if you can help it)
    Unless you enjoy being ripped off because you’re a foreigner try to avoid cabs at all costs. Find other alternatives to transportation. Disclaimer: Always do research online on the best way to travel. Sometimes, taxi cabs are well monitored and could be a better option.

  2. Save money by avoiding tourist traps and tourism in general

  3. Avoid groups of drunk British people (joking but you will see what I mean)

  4. Buying drugs on the street
    Not a good idea as street drugs can be dangerous and laced with fake ingredients. Plus, the laws in the country you are visiting can be significantly more strict.

  5. Drinking every night
    It can be easy to get drawn into the hostel party scene pretty easily, (cause let’s be real, it is a really good time) but it can add up quickly and end up being very expensive. Pace yourself.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” — Jack Kerouac

Chilling at the Grand Van Gogh Cafe

Chilling at the Grand Van Gogh Cafe

Final words of wisdom from Yours Truly…

If you’ve made it this far, I’m assuming that you are seriously considering traveling long-term.

It took a lot for me to give up the life that I had in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to hit the road 6 months ago. I miss my friends quite often, I created amazing, meaningful friendships. I was emotional and struggled with the decision because of what I was giving up.

But…

I wouldn’t trade this journey I’ve been on for anything. You see, life didn’t really work out how it was supposed to for me in my 20’s. I failed at just about everything that I tried, businesses and relationships. So I decided to do things a bit differently. I decided to imagine I was 80 years old looking back at my life, what decision would I be proud of? What choice would I look back and be happy I did?

That made the decision easy.

I could always go back but I couldn’t always travel like this.

Ask yourself the same. If you were looking back decades from now, what decision would you encourage yourself to make?

To travel or to stay?

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Sources
1. Rent and Utilities
Smart Asset
2. Car Insurance Avg.
Zebra Insurance
3. Avg Used Car Payment
NerdWallet 
4. Cost of Gas
DoughRoller
5. Average Food Cost
BudgetYourTrip