Financing a trip around the world is a challenge, but possible. Above all, it requires discipline.
Before the trip you have to earn more than you spend. And during the trip you must either continue to earn money or spend very little. Simple math: the less money you need, the longer your trip can last.
That sounds easy, but as always, the devil is in the details. Here I show you how you can get the financing done anyway.
Before the trip
There are several ways to get a financial cushion before the trip. Patience and above all spending discipline are always part of financing a world trip.
1.) Arrange a sabbatical with your employer
That’s how I did it. I worked 100% for three years, but only received 75% salary. The 3 x 25% saved salary was paid to me as a salary during my time out. So I was socially insured during the sabbatical, had continuous income and no gap in my CV. Clarify the possibilities with your employer (if you have one).
2.)Very traditional: Spend less
If the employer does not offer time off, you have to save yourself. Sit down and get an overview of your income and expenses. The budget book, which is wrongly considered bourgeois, provides valuable services here. You will probably find some savings potential in everyday life. Here are a few examples:
- Think about the things you thoughtlessly spend money on and then give them up.
- Search your current account: Do you have subscriptions that you no longer use? are classics: Gym and magazines. Quit them.
- Do you really need the fifth sweater or are your four existing ones sufficient?
- How often do you go out for dinner? Alternatively, arrange with your friends to invite them in turn and cook together. It’s fun and saves money, especially on drinks.
- Why do you want a new sofa or a new bed, if you have to store the things during your absence anyway?
- Would a smaller apartment not be sufficient? Look for a smaller or cheaper apartment, rent rooms or move back to your parents for a limited period of time. It may not sound very pleasant, but it is financially rewarding.
- Do you really need your car? Would a smaller one be enough?
- And wouldn’t it be a good time to limit alcohol consumption or quit smoking?
3.) Make more money
Instead of saving money you can of course increase your income. Or both. There are many possibilities for this.
- Negotiate a pay rise. Either you have done a particularly good job in the past, or you are taking over an area with more responsibility and will be better paid for it. If the journey is not to start for a few years, you can also change the job completely.
- Find a side job. Maybe you will make contacts during your part-time job that you can further deepen on your journey. Example: If you invest a few hours per week to take care of the internet presence of a medium-sized company in your home town, you could continue to do so during your trip. A classic win-win situation: The company already knows you and your work, which makes remote collaboration easier. And you can travel relaxed and take small breaks to refill your account.
- Sales: In the course of preparing your trip you will also notice how much stuff you have and how little you actually need. Use this to get rid of ballast at an early stage and convert it into travel budget. Flea markets. Ebay. Amazon (for used books). The local advertising journal in your place of residence. You’ll quickly notice how liberating it is to let go of all that junk. And your account is happy. Also interesting: my article Wohin Mit Deinen Möbeln, Wenn Du Auf Weltreise Gehst?
4.) Work out a good investment for yourself
The supreme discipline of financial freedom lies in a good investment. If you start your journey with an amount X, you can watch your account balance melt away until you have to return (or get a job). However, if your finances earn you money every month (rental income, dividends, other income), then you can sit back and enjoy your trip
5.) Plan your itinerary according to your finances
There are expensive and cheap travel countries. Traditionally, the countries of Southeast Asia are inexpensive, while Scandinavia, for example, is expensive. Find out in advance which part of the world you can afford in a relaxed manner. It is more fun to have a cocktail on the beach in Vietnam than to walk past expensive restaurants in Oslo that you cannot afford.
6.) Plan your travel style according to your finances
Your travel lifestyle is a major factor in how long your money will last: those who travel as backpackers with tents spend less than those who book a hotel room for every night. Those who cook for themselves save on expensive restaurants. And if you travel slowly, you need much less transport costs per month than the fast traveller. Flight tickets are more expensive than bus tickets. Decide sensibly!
During the trip
Not only before, but also during your trip around the world you can do a lot to ensure that your time away from home is well financed and can therefore last longer.
1.) Keep spending discipline
As boring as it sounds: if your travel time depends on the money in your account, which is continuously decreasing, then you should not spend so much. Find the lifestyle that you like and that you can afford. If the daily cappuccino in the coffee store is important to you, then you will accept that it will cost you a month’s world trip. It is your decision!
2.) Set up a budget and stick to it
Think about how much your trip will probably cost you and calculate how long your money will last. On the Internet there are various reports about what daily budget you can expect. The amount depends on the travel route and travel style. Minimalists get by with 15 Euro per day, but never see a hotel from the inside. Also 50 and 100 euros per day are not rare.
3.) Keep an overview of your finances
Here an app helps, in which you store existing financial reserves and (very important) enter all expenses. You will quickly notice if the expenses reduce the total amount too quickly.
It is also advisable not to start the journey home with the last Euro. This depends on your personal situation. If you have quit your job and apartment in advance, you should be more careful than if you have an apartment and a job waiting for you at home or if you can relax and look for a job with your parents in the guest room.
There are several ways to work during the trip. Please always consider the regulations of your country of travel. You may have to apply for a work visa instead of a tourist visa. You should also be fair and not take the income from the local people. And you should be aware that working
Work and Travel: This form of travel means that travelers look for a job for a certain part of the travel time, possibly several jobs at different times and in different places in a country. For some countries, a special visa is issued for the time of travel, which allows one to work and travel for up to twelve months. Shorter stays are also possible in many countries without an extra visa. For many travellers Australia is a good choice, the country offers you a special work-and-travel visa until you are 30 years old. Since the wage level in Australia is quite high, you can finance several months in Southeast Asia with one month of work there.
Work for board and lodging: This is a special variant of work&travel. When working for board and lodging, it is common to rent somewhere for days or weeks, usually working four to five hours a day (five days a week) without having to pay for meals or accommodation. Sometimes you will be paid additionally. The type of work is as varied as the country and its people are: Working on farms, in families to look after children or helping with construction or renovation projects. Sometimes special places like a lighthouse in Norway or the yurt camp in Kyrgyzstan attract people. There are several websites (workaway, helpX, wwoof and more), that bring providers and seekers together. This is also a good way to get to know the country and its people off the beaten track.
Digital jobs: The easiest way is for those who already have knowledge in a field for which presence at a place of work is not crucial. Some examples:
- Consulting in general
- Project Management
- Virtual Assistenz
- Creating texts
Basically, many activities work like this, but you need a little creativity to find them. Google helps with the search, as do various provider websites (freelancer.de, fiverr.com, upwork.com …). To the topic texts offer themselves specialized offerers like textbroker.de or content.de.
Tip: Instead of the usual “first save-then-travel” method, you can also choose a different order: Travel for a few months, work in one place for a few months, then travel again and so on.
Just do it!
It is not easy, but a trip around the world is affordable. Many people have done it before you, without winning the lottery or being “sole heir” by profession.
Actually it’s funny: before and during my trip I met many people who told me they would dream of something like this, but they can’t afford it. These people think that you need a fortune to travel the world. But this is not so. The fortune is rather needed at home to build and maintain their own little world with house, cars, insurance etc. Minimalism is much easier on the road.
You need discipline, and the world trip must be your only priority. You can’t do it completely without renunciation, but the experiences of such a world trip will compensate you generously.