April 3


How to work and travel the world for less than $1000 a month

By Johannes Völkner

April 3, 2014

You can live a pretty luxurious life for relatively little money, if you choose your work and travel destinations wisely.

Now don’t get me wrong. Your goal with any online skill, that allows you to travel, should always be to live comfortably anywhere in the world. But some of you who read this might not be at that point yet. However, this should not keep you from taking off and growing your online business while travelling the world.

So,if you aren’t earning a lot of money with your online skill yet, don’t worry.  To get started and enjoy this lifestyle all you really need is $1000 of profit (after taxes) a month.

In fact, with this monthly income you’ll be able to work and live very comfortably in almost all of the destinations featured in the Webworktravel Guide. But you have to stick to a few rules to make the most of your money.

That’s why I put together a list of the most essential things you need to do if you want to finance your around-the-world travels while working online and make the most of your time.

Visit countries that offer exceptional value for money

If you want to work and travel on a budget and make the most of your time, the most important thing is that you choose your destination wisely. Select places that offer good value for money and low cost of living. Renting a room in a student apartment in New York City can easily cost you $1000 a month. Working online and spending more time in countries like Thailand, Panama or parts of Spain will significantly lower your cost of living and allow you to cover all your living expenses for the same amount. Plus if you visit the right places you will have fast internet connections and all the luxuries that you’re used to at home.

Stay in hostels or inexpensive guesthouses

Staying in shared dorm rooms is not to everyone’s liking, especially if you have a lot of work to get done. What most people forget though, is that many hostels also offer cheap single rooms, especially around South East Asia. This will allow you to have some privacy but also to meet other travellers. So you don’t have to be alone in a new destination. Staying in these places is a great way to save money while working and travelling since accommodation makes up a large sum of your monthly expenditures. But remember to choose the right hostel for work and fun.

Travel slow

Travel smart and remember that changing your destination every few days won’t help your productivity when you work and travel. Renting an apartment long term will allow you to experience a beautiful destination by really getting to know it. You will be much more likely to live like a local and reduce your costs to a minimum by knowing where to shop and the cheapest transports routes.

Use local transport

If you are new to a place it might be convenient to travel by cab, but even in countries with cheap cost of living it can be expensive if you add it up. So learn how to use the local busses and metro (if they have one) from day one. Often it’ll be faster using them than taking a cab anyway.

Local transport is where you’ll interact with the people in a destination. Usually a bus will reveal insights into the people that you’re not going to get sitting in the back of a cab!

Be flexible when booking transport

If you urgently need to book a flight or a bus ticket for a specific day, the chances are that it will be expensive. However, if you have time for a stopover and really make the most of the flexible options when looking for a flight you can save a lot of money.  Skyscanner and the ITA Matrix are my favourites, both offer exceptional options to find cheap flights if you are flexible with your bookings.

When it comes to booking train and bus tickets it usually pays to book your ticket at least one week in advance, sometimes you can save more than 50% on your fare.

Travel in Low Season

The best deals can usually be found in low season, because many places simply need to stay alive. You can get amazing deals for dinning out and accommodation, especially in areas with a lot of competition. Spain, Greece, South Africa for real bargain prices – absolutely possible in Low Season.

Save fixed costs

The chances are that you have high fixed costs at your current location. So think about ways to reduce them. Can you sublet or rent out your apartment? Do you really need your car sitting at home? These two expenditures are major ways to save money before setting out on your work and travel adventure.

Use local apartment sites

Most of you will already know of Airbnb, an amazing website for finding cool apartments in cities all over the world. While it’s probably the best website to find a great place to stay for a week or two, it’s not the best site to find cheaper long-term apartments (unless you ask the owners personally for a discount).

If you want to stay for a minimum of a month in one destination it’s much better to use the websites that the locals use. If you want to visit Cape Town for example, you’re best off using the listings found on Gumtree.  This is the site that all the locals, interns and international students use to find their long-term accommodation in Cape Town.

Remember though, you should only use these sites when you’re already at your preferred destination. No one will rent out their apartment to someone who doesn’t stop by personally. Many scams also operate on local sites, so keep your wits about you and don’t pay any deposits before you have actually visited the apartment in the first place.

Avoid too much mobile internet usage

Yes, this can be very handy and convenient but you’ll often pay $10 per GIG. This can run out quickly if you use your PC to access the 3g on your phone. It’s a good idea to have it so you can use it in emergency but avoid the temptation to use it when you’re waiting for the bus.

Obviously, if you are living in a destination more long-term then you can enter into a contract which will be much cheaper.

Work in Universities or Libraries

Coffees are usually expensive and there is not always a Coworking space (or it’s too expensive.) Universities are awesome free-to-use spaces, often located very close to a destination’s main transport routes. The internet is always good and the campus vibe brings back memories as well as putting you in a productive mood.

Party wisely

No matter where you go in the world, the cost of partying into the night is expensive. Living on $1000 a month will be impossible, wherever you are, if you go out too much.  Obviously, it will also be a big harm to your productivity!

Buy street food

Another great way to save some money while you’re working and travelling. Grabbing a bite to eat from a street stall is not only very cheap (only around $1 in South East Asia) but will allow you to sample some of the huge variety of delicious food that the locals eat daily. A good tip is when you’re hungry go for a walk and stop at a place that seems popular with the locals. This way you know that the food is good, cheap and you have less chance of getting food poisoning!

Cook for yourself

You will find that many of the hostels you stop at along the way offer the free use of a kitchen. If you are tired of the traditional street food  and want a simple meal from home, this is a great way to eat whatever you fancy and save money. This especially applies to those travelling in Western countries as supermarkets are a lot cheaper an alternative to eating out and they offer a huge variety of foods.

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Most important: Leave your comfort zone

There’s not much that you really need to be happy.

This can be the one of the biggest hurdles to setting off on an Webworktravel adventure. “What will I do without my 42“ TV and super-comfy couch? What about my luxury car! Do you think they stock my favourite brand of toilet paper?” Obviously, it’s going to be impossible to keep up the standards of your previous creature-comfort lifestyle and this can be a daunting thought.

However, after a few days these once-essential items will drift from your mind. There’s so much to see and do in all the destinations that you’ll discover, and if you get bored and start thinking about your favourite level on your favourite TV series you can just move to another city! It’s simple.

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As you see, there really isn’t much of an excuse not to work and travel. You don’t need to be rich, and I know that many of you could start to work and travel tomorrow. All you really need to do is choose your destinations wisely and be ready to leave your comfort zone to figure out if working and travelling is for you.

Johannes Völkner

About the author

Founder of WebWorkTravel magazine

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