I met Rachel in Florida recently and she has an absolutely fascinating story. From a young solo girl moving to India, trying to find a way to make travel work. She has now been based in India for three years and is sharing her ways on how you too can make a travel lifestyle work.
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?
I used to be a nurse, and saved up $12,000 before I moved to India (and before I knew I’d become a travel blogger). Prior to that I traveled often alone to Europe and usually had about 3,000 in my account which I thought was enough for a summer. That was years ago and things have changed. I suppose I would continue to feel comfortable traveling as long as I had about 5,000 dollars. No rhyme or reason, it just sounds good. I use a Charles Shwab ATM card which doesn’t charge ATM fees. I don’t have a credit card. In India, I take out cash and use only cash for purchases.
What methods do you currently use to make money while you travel (in order of most value)?
Travel Blogging $1000-$3000
Freelance Writing $1000-2000
I think of those together in my head and usually average an income around 2,000 to 4,000 a month. It varies so much I couldn’t get more specific.
I’ve also tried candle-making and selling them in shops around Goa which was decent enough but too much work for the return. I ended up selling them wholesale to a large hotel chain. I got into candle-making simply because I love candles and it was fun. I bought supplies on alibaba.com.
I am also a Thai Yoga Masseuse. I began to enjoy it less in the last year and stopped taking appointments. It was great a few years ago when I wasn’t blogging yet and I could do about 3 massages a week and make about $180 bucks on a good week. It was plenty for Goa.
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?
The strangest way I found was a woman who rented long-term in a village an hour outsite Kampala, Uganda who just moved money from bank accounts online to other bank accounts in a variety of countries as the currency exchange rates changed. It was her only job and she had a lot of money!
How much do you spend (on average) each month?
Accommodation/Utilities: Rent is included in my boyfriends stipend. We pay $200 shared in electricity and $70 on internet- we have a place in Goa, India.
Food: Loads! $800 or more
Tours & Entertainment: If this would be beer, maybe $100
Miscellaneous: Dog food, $100
Total Outgoing Expenses: $1320 (seems low, maybe we spend more on food than I thought)
What have been the ways that you've saved the most amount of money?
We usually rent a car rather than use taxis when in countries that car rentals are cheap. We also try to eat street food when we travel and get beer at 7 Elevens to drink at our hotel. To be honest, we aren’t good at saving money when we travel and tend to push our budgets to the max.
What things have been the biggest waste of money for you?
Singapore is a huge waste of money. I love to party there but every nice bar is charging $25 for wine and $20 for a beer. It’s nonsense! I spend a fortune every time I go. I think the last trip was nearly $2,300 for a weekend. It was a blast because it was a wedding of our friends but man, that was rough!
What is the best money generation/management tip that you read/heard that impacted your life?
For money management, none, because I’m terrible at it. I don’t shop anymore so there’s that! If you want to stop shopping I suggest you read the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and discard old things, follow her rules, and you won’t buy much new. For income, I think just trying new things. Massage and candles on top of my savings held me over nearly a year in India. These were totally random things I tried out on a whim. You can literally do anything you set your mind to and you can get by on less than you think.