Show Me The Money: What If I Told You $15K Was All You Needed For A Year Of Travel?

Show Me The Money!

These guys are an adventurous couple doing the most amazing travel on less then the average minimum wage. They travelled on $15,000 per person for their first 13 month trip. Granted they decided to keep on travelling and now Goats On The Road Show Us 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?

Our very first long-term trip was back in 2008/2009. We went backpacking around SE Asia and India for 13 months, which is what ultimately sparked our love (obsession) for travel!

We read many guidebooks and online blogs to figure out how much money we would need for that duration of travel, in that region of the world. How much money one needs each day while on the road typically depends on where in the world they are travelling and what their personal travel style is like.

We budgeted for $50/day, for 13 months (400 days). Some months we spent less than $50/day (in India and Indonesia, we spent about $35/day), while other months, we spent a bit more.

For that trip, we had saved $20,000 each, including the cost of flights from Canada to Bangkok. We actually ended up spending around $15,000 each for the 13 month trip, we were on a very tight budget though! The amount spent includes all flights to and from Asia from Canada, all internal flights in Asia and travel insurance (which was $1,600). 

We think it's important to have a combination of currency on you while travelling. We brought our TD Canada Trust debit card to withdrawal local currency at the ATM machines abroad, plus a MasterCard and Visa Card, and finally, $300 USD, just in case our cards didn't work for some reason.

What methods do you currently use to make money while you travel (in order of most value)?

We are currently living and travelling off of income earned (in various ways) through our website. We have advertising on the site, we are Ambassadors for a few companies and we have a couple of affiliate streams. Using our website as a platform, we write for numerous online magazine publications and in-print newspapers. On top of all of that, we are also housesitters, which means we often don't pay for our accommodation around the world. In exchange for free accommodation in paradise, we take care of the homeowner's pets and home.

In 2012, we lived in China for a year teaching English as a way to make money on the road.

Each month, we average around $3,500 from our website, other months it is slightly less, other months, it is upwards of $5,000.

Blogging from Paradise in Grenada

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?

There are so many ways to make money while travelling! Some of them are more mainstream, while others are quite unique. When we were living in San Pancho, Mexico for two months, we came across some very interesting people who had some really incredible ways of earning money:

  • Being a mid-wife
  • Selling postcards
  • Selling jewelry
  • Being a surf/paddle board instructor
  • Creating budgets for companies online
  • Yoga instructors

How much do you spend (on average) each month?

Our monthly expenses are usually $1,500 when we are living somewhere. When we are backpacking/travelling, we spend about $1,700. However, we typically don't pay for tours, scuba diving, accommodation and sometimes, transportation. Instead, we partner with these companies and help to promote them via articles and social media exposure on our website.

Flights/Transport: This is a hard one. Some months we travel around, others we sit still! I'm really not sure how to give you an accurate answer for this. Last month, we went to Cuba and spent $600 each on flights to get there, and then spent another $400 on transport in-country. While the two months prior when we were living in Guatemala, we only spent a few dollars on boat rides.

Accommodation/Utilities: If we're housesitting or travelling, then our accommodation is usually paid for. If we have decided to rent our own apartment, we will opt for a place that is between $400 and $550 / month. We always try to get an apartment that has utilities included. So, some months, we pay nothing, others we spend $550.

Food: This is where we spend the most of our money! Food and drink make up a large portion of our monthly budget, and I think we tend to drink more wine than most people. If we're living somewhere, then we spend about $600 on food and drink each month. When we're travelling, we spend more like $800 each month.

Tours & Entertainment: Our entertainment is sitting at home with a bottle of wine and a platter of cheese. Or, going out to a restaurant for the evening to watch live music. We would probably spend $30 on a night out because we tend to travel / live in cheaper countries. If we do decide to do tours, they are often paid for by the companies that we work with.

Mobile/Communication: We don't pay for wi-fi, but we do have a cheap Nokia phone. We'll usually buy a local SIM card ($5) and then top it up with minutes as we go. We spend around $5 a month on this.

Total Outgoing Expenses: On average, our expenses seem to be $1,500 - $1,700 USD each month.

The apartment rented on Lake Atitlan Gautemala

What have been the ways that you've saved the most amount of money? 

Housesitting, our ambassador program and working with various hotels is the best way that we save money. We have only couchsurfed one time, but it is a great way to cut back on expenses. We've also hitch-hiked in the past, which can save a lot of cash on transportation.

What things have been the biggest waste of money for you? 

Before our very first trip, we furnished our two bedroom condominium with brand new bedroom suites, kitchen table, couches, surround sound, TV, etc....only to decide to pack it all up a few months later and travel the world. We didn't even get to use the furniture (or sell it) when we came back to Canada because our storage unit flooded while we were away! In the end, we realized that we really don't need many possessions and aren't interested in those kind of material things.

What is the best money generation/management tip that you read/heard that impacted your life?

For our first couple of long trips (13 months and 16 months), we had our daily budget in our wallet. Once that amount of cash was gone, it meant that we were going to be over budget for the day. Using cash for everything is the best way to keep track of what you're spending. If you're always charging your expenses, you'll be more oblivious of how much you're spending each month. Also, paying interest and ATM fees can really add up, it's important to watch that and have an account that won't charge you for overseas withdrawals (we have the TD Canada Trust Select account).

Something that we've recently purchased is the Trail Wallet by fellow bloggers, Never Ending Voyage. This budget management app has really helped keep our finances on track, and it has helped us to realize where we're spending all of our money. Once we have our monthly budgets, Nick uses Google Docs to record the amounts and offset them to our earnings.

You can find Dariece & Nick here -

Website: Goats On The Road

Facebook: Goats On The Road

Twitter: @GoatsOnTheRoad

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Reader Comments...

"I respond to every comment by direct private email. I look forward to your feedback" -

Love these guys :-)

Vid Aug 23rd, 2015

Thanks so much for having us! We really appreciate it :) hopefully your readers find our information useful.

Dariece Aug 23rd, 2015

I really loved the honesty about monthly costs. We sail the Bahamas & Caribbean so our boat is our home. But like everyone our expenses fluctuate. I am intrigued by the house sitting - definitely an option as we expand our traveling.

Betsi Sep 3rd, 2016

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