How I can afford a life of travel

Author’s Note: The most recent version of how I can afford a life of travel is already available! Click here to read and see how much my life has changed in three years!

Since you already know what I was doing before I started traveling the world, let’s now discuss how I am able to live a life like this — travelling non-stop. My article for Rappler Philippines was a big hit. However, I don’t think I included my way of travelling in the write up. People were thinking in different directions, like travel is equivalent to luxury or money.

Where I am from, people think this way. “She must be from a rich family” was one of the comments. I received e-mails from people borrowing money from me with all those victim stories that goes with it. I was like, what?! I don’t even know where to sleep tonight! They thought I am splurging like an heiress, Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton style to be able to travel non-stop.

Sorry, what you think is wrong. I do my best actually. I sleep wherever, eat whatever is on the table, live with my means, etc. It’s not that I don’t have money to buy food. Of course, I have that! I just really started living with what I can afford and stopped longing for material things.

So here it goes. I am going to enumerate everything I do, all at the same time (more or less) just to keep myself from going home. I am telling you that it’s not easy but I am having the time of my life and I’m keeping up. Somehow, you’ll just get used to this life.

P.S. I didn’t save anything before starting this travel. I just met a lot of people who are doing the same thing and I tried to learn it. It all worked out.

#1 – I work online

I’ve been a digital nomad for over a year now and it’s the most convenient job I ever had as it is location independent. I’m a social media manager and assistant to a US-based company where I work 4 hours a day, without a specific time. My employer is fantastic because he understands that I move every three months and he knows what I am doing so there was never a problem between us. I’ve had the same job since I started travelling South America. They are actually offering me a new position (with a higher pay) but I didn’t accept it because it means working for more than 4 hours a day. I don’t want to do that. 😉

#2 – I teach English

I am a freelance English teacher here and I can decide a time-table when I am going to teach. I usually go to the student’s home and teach up to 2 hours per student. Here in Latin America, the salary range of an English teacher is from $12 – $30 per hour, depending in the city you are in.

#3 – To save on accommodations and/or food, I do the following:”


Couchsurfing is an online community which allows you to stay in people’s homes for free. I met most of my long-time friends through this platform and I am very thankful to the great mind who discovered this!

In exchange for free food and accommodation, I volunteer in hostels and bars. This method helped me a lot to improve my language skills. 4 bars and 3 hostels later, I am now fluent in Spanish. Plus, I get to work with fantastic people all over the globe who are also backpacking! I work hand in hand with Volunteer Latin America who places me with volunteering gigs.

Family Stay

If I am not volunteering, I am with local families where I get to learn about the culture and language of a certain country. This also enabled me to know how they live their daily life and do the same. I’ve been a part of many Latin families here in South America and I consider them my own.

House Sitting

It’s as simple as this: families go to a long vacation and they need/want someone to stay in their house. While they’re on vacation, you take care of the house.

Do whatever you want. Just don’t invite people over and do a house party. Basically, it’s like living in your own house.

Au Pairing

An au pair helps with house work and taking care of children in exchange for food, a room, plus a daily allowance. Yes! Au pairs are paid and a lot of my friends in Europe are doing this!

#4 – I blog

I started blogging because of my love for writing but I didn’t know that I will be able to monetise this website and help me travel more. This blog enables me to:

  • Stay in hotels for free in exchange for a review.
  • Eat wherever I want (even the best one in town!) in exchange for a review.
  • Take free tours/press trips in exchange for online exposure. Basically, I write about my experience about a certain tour/activity including the name of the company in the post.

Additionally, this blog also earns from advertising and affiliate marketing.

#5 – I do travel coaching

When you are out here, you really have to find ways to keep yourself on the road. I’ve been doing a one-on-one travel coaching sessions to people who want to leave their daily hell and start living a life of travel. I help them plan their trip, land volunteering jobs, set up their teaching abroad career, and so on. I answer everyone’s questions on a personal basis. Of course, I also write about how I do it but the consultation is personalised and you can talk to me on Skype! Find out about how travel coaching session works here.

#6 – I translate important files

I do not have a professional translator certificate but I have social media clients in South America, France and Italy where I proofread their social media and blog posts in English.

I also write articles in Spanish which actually pays good money! I encourage you to learn a foreign language if you are fluent in English writing. Translating pays very good money here.

#7 – I receive donations from readers

This is the part where I have to thank everyone who donated to my Coffee Fund. It helped me a lot to travel more! Most travel bloggers put donation buttons on their sidebar saying, “Help us travel to _____.” I was being artistic so instead of doing the same, I thought of creating The Coffee Fund.

Thank you so much to all who donated! This will keep me write more good stories of my travels!

So where do I spend the money I earn from working online, teaching English and travel coaching?”

Fares. Buses, plane tickets, taxi — that’s the majority of my spendings. Arrrghh, I even spend more on taxi rides than street food!

I haven’t ventured in tapping airlines or bus companies (is that even possible?!) to sponsor my fares in exchange of an online exposure.

I don’t even know if this kind of marketing exists! It’s kind of frustrating but I couldn’t ask for more from the Universe. I was already given everything.

If I am not working in a bar (yes, volunteers get free drinks!), I spend a few drinks every now and then with my friends.

Of course I can’t just to up to the bartender and say, “hey, I’m a travel blogger. I’m going to feature your beers…. blah blah blah.”

All my reviews are planned and I don’t always have one scheduled. It’s more or less twice every 2 months.

I also spend on travel insurance, personal needs like medicine, toiletries, clothes etc. I also treat myself every once in a while with massage, spa, mani-pedi, and so on.

How do I manage to do all these at the same time?!”

The regular thing I do is teaching English and working online. I dedicate 4 hours to each job so I won’t look like I am working as hard as before. I don’t know, it just happens.

Today, I am au pairing in Cordoba and I have no idea how I am able to manage this kind of schedule. I guess I just got used to it.

Growing up, my mother always told me not to explain myself to anyone because I don’t need to. What I do with my life is up to me as long as I am doing it right.

I’ve had mistakes in the past and travelling long-term allowed me to get to know myself better, share that knowledge and inspire other people to do it too.

It’s not easy but this is what makes me happy. I repeat: It’s not easy. But if I can live like this, for sure, you can, too.

Are you a full-time traveler? What are your different income streams? I would like to hear how you hustle! Please leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comment box below!

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  1. Love reading your posts! The great thing about your blog is that while it is inspiring, it never leaves us, your readers, questioning. You always share useful information on how you get to do what you do in a very interesting way. Cheers and hope to meet you somewhere on the road! 🙂

  2. Leslie, thank you. I really love what you wrote about “Courage.” I hope you’ll pursue your dreams of travelling to cities alone, just a bag, without a map. 😉 Love your writing too!!!

    1. You have an interesting story, how long can one travel for travel’s sake only? I started out with 18 and lived in five countries on 4 continents and visited ~50. On the way I picked up two citizenships and 3 “green cards”. I usually came to a place following a love, and left because of another, and I always followed the sun. In the meantime I got an education, worked, learned, and had kids in the different places (I support all of them, which is a challenge). Finally I came to PH in 2007 (as a medical volunteer initially). This is my end of the line, best place to be, not searching anymore. I do not like social media and do not have exposure on Facebook, I still travel a lot for generating income and I am working on a book, and I’d love to be one of your pen pals to learn how to bring life and travel to paper or cyberspace. Mabuhay Steve

  3. You and I are quite similar. I also travel extensively and people think that it’s magic when really, I work while abroad, I couchsurf, don’t spend money on expensive things and save like crazy. 🙂 I also work a regular job to save up. Cheers to the real world girls with a passion for travel!

  4. Right on, Trish! When travel is in your blood, you’ll do whatever you can to make it happen. I do many of the same things as you, although I’ve not yet taught English. Travel is in my blood, too, and when I can’t go places, I am not a happy camper!

  5. Sounds like a great lifestyle!

    I’m a bit torn that if somewhere you stay for free won’t be reviewed if you don’t have a good experience… would be great if you were allowed complete honesty so readers would be aware in advance of some truly bad places 😉

  6. Yep! By the way, I so love your blog. I wish I can also travel the world like you do… I just can’t stop reading your posts… hehe… =)

  7. Hi Trisha, ang galing niyo po. I believe your writings inspires many, and I’m one. Thank you. Love your writings. You are amazing. Love reading every page of your blog. 🙂 Yngat lage.. God bless you

  8. Hi Trisha. Marvellous work here and a good site. I found you through Danny Flood’s OpenWorld Mag. Glad to be connected to you through travel blogging. Safe travels. Jonny

  9. So inspiring. I read your blogs and I make it as my own guidelines, I want to start traveling like you. Thank you. Keep it up!

  10. Traveling is my first dream and still want to pursue it. I want to prepare myself be and be inspired before I make my final decision. Your blog is wonderful. It inspires me and gave me tips. Now I’m planning to take TEFL cert. after my software testing certification this month. And hopefully, I can live my own dream and explore the world.

  11. I love the last bit about your mom’s advise. I totally agree, do the things you want to do, and do it for yourself. I admit it’s hard to avoid giving in to people’s judgments and criticisms, but at the end of the day, I need to do the things that make ME (not THEM) happy.

    Great post! You’ve given me ideas on what jobs to do at a part time basis!

  12. This post is all sorts of inspiring! I wish I had the same courage you had when you decided to quit your job and leave everything behind. This, by far, is the most comprehensive “How do I travel” post I’ve seen in a while. Thank you for inspiring people like me! I hope to live by the same words one day. Cheers!

  13. Hi Trisha! You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your life and some tips on traveling in your website. Keep it up! I have just recently quit my job to about to start to travel the world. I have put up my travel blog and I would be more than happy if you pay a visit
    See you on the road! 🙂

  14. Thanks for sharing your tips Trisha of how you can afford to travel all the time. I have to say it’ s not an easy thing to do. I believe that having an online job is one of the best ways to travel whenever you want!

  15. Thank you Trisha for being so honest, as an inspiring freelance writer/blogger I always feel rude asking how full-time nomads earn their living and you have really broken the projects and workload down. Really inspirational, feel very much like I need to up my game 🙂

  16. Some really great tips. I’ve always wanted to try house sitting. Hopefully one of these days I’ll get to travel somewhere long enough to give it a try.

  17. I love how our world today offers so many ways to afford traveling so much. Unfortunately, I just signed up for a full time volunteer position at the hospital which I’ll be committed to for the next six months, so I’ll just have to travel through the blogs I read online until it’s over with 🙁

  18. Great post. Though I do not plan to give up my job to travel the world I always love traveling and it is great you summed it up to all those who are always jealous and think we all get everything for free 🙂

  19. Great article. I love that it is so positive and full of great real life tips. It is so easy to get frustrated with all the assumptions about people who can “afford to travel” (I know I usually am). I can’t imagine anything else in life where people feel it’s appropriate to ask, “how can you afford that?”

  20. I always love learning the different ways that people afford to travel. For me, it’s a combination of working my regular job at home where I freelance and can jet off whenever I’d like….plus blogging, online writing, things like that. I’d eventually like to move fully to the work at home/digital nomad type of lifestyle, while living most of the year in Canada and traveling wherever I’m able to go. We’ll see! 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!!

  21. Thank you for sharing, definitely some things I would not have thought about before. Word to the wise, you do not owe anyone an explanation about where your money comes from or what you do with it. I went through that same mess when I was young/your age and I have come to realize with age, that my business is just that, and if nobody else is footing the bill, it is not their option to ask. In fact, it is just rude. I am sure you are just sharing because you want people to understand, but please do not let anyone make you feel guilty. You are worthy. 😉

  22. While this is the opposite to the life I have as a traveller and travel blogger, I really appreciate your honesty and explaining your lifestyle. I’m a part-time traveller and have a base and career in a specific city. It makes me really happy and as long as your life makes you happy, good luck and enjoy! Each to their own 🙂

  23. I fell in love with your instagram posts first, and more likely with your blog! it is so inspiring and informative like almost detail to detail. Kudos! always take care on your travel. and ur dimple is soooo cute!

  24. Trisha, loved reading your tips. They are so useful to me being a travel junkie. I would love to explore the whole world but job and finance always make me compromise on my choices. I hope to travel the way you do. Hope to get a generous employer like you.

  25. I love reading other people’s post on how they started traveling full time. I’ve been living as an expat teaching English in Japan for two years now and started my blog this year. I plan to continue traveling after I leave next year. Thanks for this inspiring blog. Love the content Trisha! I stumbled across your a blog awhile ago. Recently, I am writing a post on “female travel blogs that will inspire you” and I would love to feature P.S I’m On My Way. Please let me know what you think! 🙂

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