The Vagabond How-To series: How to afford international Travel
Traveling to another country for an extended amount of time is only for the filthy rich and privileged. You can’t possibly afford international travel to some other country! Let alone live there for months at a time! That’s what we thought too.
Now with that said, we are traveling to a country that has a very low cost of living. One mistake we are making; traveling during their high season. But we don’t choose which months Ranger is off work.
We are on a shoe string budget (more on those shoes later). We won’t be staying in lavish hotels, or doing insane adventures. There will be no all inclusive resorts, no shopping sprees, no 5 star dinners. We aren’t looking for that. If we went that route our trip would be incredibly short lived…it’d seriously be a 2 day vacation. We’d barely have time to crack open our suitcases.
We’ve come up with some tips to help make a Vagabond possible.
It all comes down to a few simple tactics, that are not always that simple to implement. But if you’re serious about making travel possible, then you’ll make it happen.
Find a destination with a low cost of living. Of course you should always consider safety very high on your list but there are many countries you can go that are safe, cheap, and amazing! Places in Central America & also in South East Asia have some amazing and cheap places to visit. Trust me, there are plenty more! Consider arriving at your destination in the off season, costs are considerably cheaper in the low season.
#2: Travel Slow!
Find a spot, then get comfy. Moving around a country can eat up your budget FAST. So find somewhere you want to be and then stop. Dig into the culture. Soak it up. And go home changed. There is no reason to rush and see it all. You’ll in fact miss everything if your worried about getting to everything.
Figure out EXACTLY how much money you have going OUT a month, how much you have coming IN. Anything left over goes directly into SAVINGS. Seriously, you have to make it a priority. When you do this; travel is possible. Don’t go out buying new clothes for your trip, new luggage etc. You don’t really need it. Save money on all those travel size items by NOT buying them. Soap, shampoo, toothpaste…those are things you can find almost anywhere in the world.
Things we’ve done to save money:
- Stop going out to eat. Period.
- Weekly Meal plans. Saves on the grocery bill; honest.
- Don’t make extra trips to town. We go twice a week. Saves tons of gas money.
- Extra activities. None, unless their free. (i.e.: movies, bars, arcades etc)
- No cable. If it’s not online somewhere to watch it’s probably not worth watching.
- We’ve just stopped buying ‘stuff’.
Our can opener makes me want to scream, we need a new one. BUT it still works and thats the bottom line. AND Stop buying things that are on sale! Our dog ate my favorite pair of flip flips, you know the ones that you could wear with just about anything. BUT i still have other shoes…so i don’t need to buy those clearance flip flops. right?
- Do side jobs and/or sell items. All the money goes straight into savings.
#4: Reduce Bills!
Get your bills that you’ll be responsible for at home while you are traveling as LOW as you can. We took an hour of our time and made a few phone calls and cut all of our ‘at home’ bills down by 90% for the time we are going to be gone. So my best advice if you’re planning on skipping out of the country for a few months…make a few phone calls to check your options.
Cell Phone: call and ask for a “seasonal standby”. With sprint you can have your service suspended for months at a time for $9 a month per line. But note that for each month your service is suspended it will add another month to your service contract.
Car Loan: Call your banks that your loans are through. They may be able to also do the same thing. For a small fee you may be able to miss a few payments, tacking them onto the end of the loans. *you may end up paying more interest this way
Cable/Internet service: We use a company named LocalTel for our internet. They allow people to stop service while their away. When we arrive home we will have to pay a $20 hook up fee, that’s it. No contracts broken and no other fees associated.
Credit Cards: If you’ve been making more then the minimum payment then take the time you are gone to just make that minimum payment for a while and cut yourself a break. Or even try a phone call to the company to see if you can’t skip payments and have them added to the end. *you may end up paying more interest this way
Mortgage/Rent: We are lucky enough that we won’t be responsible for rent while we are gone. Our home in Nebraska has wonderful tenants in it, which covers the mortgage payment. And as long as we move our personal belonging out of the park house we won’t be paying rent in Washington. But if you aren’t in this situation a few options are:
- Subletting your home while your gone
- Finding a house sitter, some are even willing to pay partial rent. Here are 4 really great sites:
- Again…make a phone call and just ask if there are any options for skipping payments
Utilities: Call the companies to explain and see if they can suspend service. Or if your getting a house sitter; most know they are responsible for utilities while occupying your home.
Auto: Store your cars at the neighbors and drop your insurance as low as legally possible
Health: Shop around on the internet for travel health insurance. Depending on your needs there are LOTS of options out there. www.squaremouth.com is a great place to start shopping around at.
Stay tuned for the next step. Figuring out your budget for your travel destination….