It’s not often we have a young guy willing to share his backpacking secrets, specially a broke one. Will is remarkable. He travelled India for a year on $3000 and lived like a king in Venezuela on less. Will, please, show me the money!
How much money was in your pocket/wallet/bank account when you started on your travel adventure? And how did you decide that was enough to get started?
When I first hit the road, over seven years ago, I literally had just a couple of hundred dollars in cash. I wanted to travel and had no problem with hitching, sleeping rough and dumpster diving in order to see the world. Since then, I’ve had the odd job, scraped together a few thousand dollars here and there and, more recently, started making a living off my blog.
What methods do you currently use to make money while you travel (in order of most value)?
In the past, I used to buy stuff on my travels to sell back home at festivals; leather satchels, silver jewellery, silk scarves - you can sell all of these for a massive profit. I also had a go at bringing back clothing to sell from India but found that harder to break into. When in doubt, I turn to ebay and sell whatever I can find in local charity shops which I feel has a decent resale value. Right now, my freelance writing for Yahoo Travel, News.com.au, The BBC and others brings in anything between $1000 - $2000 a month. My blog brings in an additional $500 - $1000 a month through various advertising partnerships. This is officially the most money I have ever had!
As you've travelled the world and met other travellers, what is the most unusual way you've heard of other people creating an income on the road?
I met a couple of ‘antique hunters’ in Nicaragua who were picking up all kinds of old lamps, door handles, cast-iron trinkets etc - they told me they could sell them for hundreds of dollars of profit back home. I’ve always wanted to find out more about buying high value items to sell back home… If you know what your looking at then there is some real cash to be made. I would love to learn about Rubies so I could bring some back from Burma.
How much do you spend (on average) each month?
Accommodation/Utilities: $150 (I couchsurf a lot)
Tours & Entertainment: $100
Miscellaneous: $300 (mostly blog related)
Total Outgoing Expenses: $1,000
What have been the ways that you've saved the most amount of money?
I hitch, I couchsurf, I cook my own food - transport, accomodation and meals are the three main costs for any backpacker. I prefer to save my money for mountain permits, gear I may need or flights to exciting and far-flung lands! I often pick up bar-work or sign up for a workaway project in order to save more money.
What things have been the biggest waste of money for you?
I once missed a flight… I had hitched from the UK all the way to Romania and needed to get back home fast so I booked a flight, which I then missed. It was a truly horrible moment… I had to buy another flight, at a greatly increased price!
What is the best money generation/management tip that you read/heard that impacted your life?
A friend of mine once said to me that if I wanted to travel but couldn't afford to do so then all I had to do was specifically look for cheap countries… I have followed this advice like some kind of mantra! I spent over a year in India, surviving on just $3000 I had scraped together after six weeks unloading lorries. I journeyed to Venezuela, the cheapest country in the world, and lived like a king. I spent months exploring South East Asia, living off cheap noodles and even cheaper beer. For me, the greatest thrill is finding a new, often obscure, place I have never heard of and exploring it - if it’s cheap, even better! Realistically, couchsurfing has probably saved me tens of thousands of dollars - I swear by it but not for money-saving reasons; it's an exchange of ideas and a great way to make friends.