We have met Hannah and Adam from Getting Stamped in several places around the world and can’t wait to do so again. This is a great in depth look at how moving to paradise can cost peanuts.
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 we started this epic trip June 2013 we had around 85,000 USD in our bank accounts to travel and to have some money to come home to. We started saving and planning for our trip the winter of 2011, our initial goal was $55,000 for a one year trip. Once we started planning we realized we need longer than a year, so we saved as much as we could.
What methods do you currently use to make money while you travel (in order of most value)?
This is still a work in progress, as I am sure it is for most bloggers. When we started the trip and our blog the plan was to fund our travels with our savings. We still are living off our savings when we are traveling, but when we slow down we can support ourselves with our online income streams. Advertising and affiliate sales on our blog has definitely helped keep us on the road longer than expected. Income on our blog is some what inconsistent, some months are great while others, not so much. We also work with several travel brands as ambassadors of their products. To round out our work we have a few on going travel writing and photography assignments that add to our monthly earnings.
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 place we have found people making money in the strangest ways would have to be Chiang Mai, Thailand. People here make money doing all kinds of strange stuff, generally the stranger the more money they make. We met a guy that makes a living selling stock photos of people in wheelchairs, yes people in wheelchairs. I guess there's a market for everything.
How much do you spend (on average) each month?
Our spending really varies if we are on the move the whole month, or sitting still. Also big factor is what country or part of the world we are in. We currently use Chiang Mai as a base to explore the rest Asia and to get caught up on the blog. While we have been in Thailand we escaped to our favorite Thai island Koh Lipe, attended the Holi festival in India, spent a week on the beaches of Langkawi, few trips to Bangkok, and Siem Reap. Let’s look at an average month of spending in our current life here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Flights/Transport: About $200 per month on average
Accommodation/Utilities: Rent $370, Utilities $35, Fiber Optic Wi-Fi $30
Food: $450, We try to eat healthy when we are not moving around all the time, and that adds up
Tours & Entertainment: $100 - For about 5-6 Dinners/Drinks with friends per Month
Miscellaneous: $30 gym memberships, $50 for things that are unpredictable
Mobile/Communication: $30 for both of us to have unlimited data on our phones
Total Outgoing Expenses: $1,295
What have been the ways that you've saved the most amount of money?
The biggest factor in cutting costs in long term travel is to reduce the speed of your travel. The first year of our trip we were traveling at a very fast pace. We visited 28 countries on 6 continents in the first year. Since then we have slowed down to make the most out of our money and to experience the places we visit deeper. The single most important factor for us when it comes to saving money is to travel slower.
What things have been the biggest waste of money for you?
We don't like carrying large amounts of cash around when we travel, so we end up visiting the ATM more often than not. ATM fees are a huge waste of money. Right now we use our Charles Schwab ATM cards because they have no international fees and they reimburse us for all of the ATM fees we pay. Currently here in Thailand it's 180baht/$6USD for every withdrawal, on average we get $40USD back every month in ATM fees.
What is the best money generation/management tip that you read/heard that impacted your life?
The best tips for management are the ones we implemented to save the money for our travels initially. During that time we learned how to live on a cash diet, and the true value of money. The first step is to understand your budget which is a step I think most people miss. We sat down and wrote down all of our money sources coming in, and where the money needed to be spent every month. From there we found out what we could realistically save each month. With all the expenses listed out we began to cut out the unnecessary spending to add to our savings every month. We cut things like cable, dinners out, and a lot of other luxuries in order to travel.
For the whole time we saved we had set amounts of money we could spend on monthly expenses. At the beginning of the month we put cash into marked envelopes for food, entertainment, gas, etc. Too often we would use our credit cards for everyday purchases and we found those transactions didn't feel real. Using cash from the envelope felt much more real and we became much tighter with our money. We found ourselves prioritizing travel over wasteful spending by using cash instead. Within a year and half we have surpassed our initial savings goal and here we are almost 2 years later still on the road, with no real end in sight!