Today's post is provided by Molly Barnes of Digital Nomad Life.
You've spent the last few years becoming the independent person you've wanted to be your whole life, and you've never been happier. You work for yourself. You travel regularly, rarely settling down anywhere for too long, and love seeing the rest of the world. However, maybe you’re starting to face some difficulties with financing this nomadic lifestyle.
Thankfully, you can avoid going bankrupt — and in fact, can profit! — while living a nomadic, travel-intensive lifestyle. Incorporating these simple steps can provide you the help you need to live the lifestyle of your dreams while addressing any financial complications along the way.
Those with a nomadic lifestyle should still have a place to go when their travels reach a temporary end. Your home should be a comforting place where you can relax while you’re there and store your belongings while you're traveling. There are plenty of reasons — emotional, logistical, and financial — to make sure this aspect of your life is as stable as possible.
On the financial tip, for example, you’ll need to either pay all of your rent in advance (which can be pricey, if not downright prohibitive) or set up regular bank transfers with your landlord or mortgage holder. You also need to make sure to cover your utility expenses; most companies will offer an automatic payment setup to make this much easier. Addressing these logistics at home can really give you peace of mind during your travels.
And if you want to make a little extra money while you're on the road — and why wouldn't you? — you should consider renting out your apartment or home to a renter you can trust. This step provides you with a regular stream of revenue, making it easier for you to travel to all the beautiful places you want to visit in your life.
You’ll also benefit from creating a travel budget that makes sense and still allows you to have fun. A reasonable budget ensures that all of your basic needs are met while setting aside a little “fun money.” Cutting back on some expenses — such as luxury accommodations or eating out every night — can help you save a lot of money and make it easier to finance your next trip.
Take into account such basic trip expenses as your cell phone’s data plan, transportation fares, accommodation prices, and meals. Set a strict limit for each of these elements and try not to exceed it. For example, you could budget $30-60 per day for meals and $100-200 per day for a place to sleep (depending on how posh you travel). These limitations can help ensure that you have enough to enjoy but don't blow all your cash during every trip.
Part of your travel budget should also include your business expenses and taxes, if you’re doing business while traveling. Unfortunately, spending in different countries can make taxes confusing if you aren't careful, but you can use an online tax calculator and other tools to track expenses and deductions during and after trips, and make the process easier to handle.
While your travel should be a fun and exciting time, you can't spend all your life gawking at the scenery or eating at the most excellent Italian restaurants in Rome. You also need to make sure that you’re earning money while on the road, so set aside several hours every day — as many as you need — to work.
But what kind of work can you do while you’re seeing the world and enjoying life?
First of all, you can find a remote career option that lets you work from anywhere. Many freelance writers travel the world with a laptop to ensure that they can still earn money. Or you could provide a service while you travel. For example, if you're a massage therapist, offer your skills and earn a little cash from wherever you stop during your trip.
Or, if your career involves any type of selling, you should bring along samples of your products and try to make sales. A real salesperson never takes a day off when they have the chance to make a deal! Before you go anywhere, research the area and see if you can attend trade shows or conferences related to your career. If it goes well, you can return to these areas whenever possible to increase your revenue stream.
Although there’s a certain joy in dropping everything and taking off to a new place, this type of spontaneous action can carry financial risks. You might inadvertently choose to visit an area during the busy season and find it more expensive because a large influx of travelers is visiting at the same time. Even worse, you could end up spending way more on transportation and hotels than you would’ve if you’d taken a little time to plan ahead and research more carefully before your trip.
For example, scheduling train, bus, or plane travel months in advance is a tried-and-true technique to save money. Most dealers will offer reduced rates when you book well ahead of your travel dates; the same is true of many hotels and vacation rental hosts. And if you go during the off-season when hosts have a greater need for clients, you often can save even more money.
And here’s some unusual advice for planning a new trip: You should seriously consider checking out cities that are a little less expensive than “the big ones.” For example, instead of NYC or Los Angeles, you can easily visit an exciting city like Philadelphia and have a great time. For any excitement you might miss by visiting a less storied city, you’ll make up in opportunities to do more things there (and in saving money on your trip).
There’s no question that travel can be expensive. It can also be worth the expense for innumerable reasons. Plus, there are plenty of techniques you can explore to offset those travel costs, keep your bank account flush, and maintain your peace of mind while on the road. When you have the logistics nailed down at home and in the bank, wandering through museums and eating local cuisine can be a lot more fun.
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