As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, setting a budget and sticking to it is crucial if you want to live as a nomad. You’ll need to save money so you have a cushion for living expenses when you start travelling. Even if you are able to save up thousands of dollars before shipping out, if you don’t have the discipline to maintain a strict budget while abroad, you’ll end up blowing through your savings and be up the creek without a paddle.
Plan for the future and do your research.
Sticking to a budget is immensely important but you also need to research everything you can regarding costs of travelling and living abroad. How much money will you need each month to live comfortably while travelling? You need to know how much rent costs in various countries, how much you’d expect to spend on food, transportation, etc.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything you need to research before you start living as a nomad. Planning is key! All the information you need can be found through Google. Research the price of airfare on Kayak. Look into accommodation costs on Airbnb and other websites offering flats for rent.
In the same way that you sorted out a budget for saving money, you’ll need to come up with a budget for living abroad. Your travel budget may not be very different from the budget you use currently. Travelling nomadically doesn’t need to be costly.
Your travel budget will depend on various factors:
- How much money have you saved?
- Where do you plan to travel? Some parts of the world have a lower cost of living than others.
- How often do you plan on relocating? Moving around frequently will cost more.
- What connections you have? Do you have friends or family living abroad? Can you crash with them instead of renting a room elsewhere?
- How comfortable are you with travelling cheaply? Can you live out of a hostel for a few weeks? Or Couchsurf with strangers?
- Can you legally work abroad?
You’re not on holiday!
Regardless of these factors, I recommend you maintain a tight budget while travelling. Travel cheaply and save as much as you can. Living as a nomad long-term means you need to keep an eye on your spending since you might not always have a steady income to fall back on.
Even though my life seems like a never-ending holiday, I don’t spend as if I were on holiday 24/7! Most people spend more money than normal while on holiday because they are visiting a new location for only a few days. They may not get the chance to travel often, so they save up money just for the purpose of spending it all during their holiday. (And that’s perfectly okay if that’s what they want!) They eat most meals out and drink, visit tourist attractions, go shopping, and buy lots of things they don’t need.
On the other hand, I have a fairly strict budget when I travel because I need to sustain this lifestyle for longer than a few days. I rarely eat out and avoid paying for tourist attractions. I’m not living in resort hotels but rent rooms in shared flats. If you can afford eating out and living in an upscale place, by all means, go ahead! The way you live as a nomad just depends on your travel budget.
Find a way to make income as you travel.
Having a cushion is crucial before you start travelling. If you’re able to earn income abroad, however, you may decide to start travelling sooner. Some people choose to teach English, but depending on your skills, you may be able to earn income in other ways. Research jobs that can be done remotely: web design, freelance writing, programming, etc. What skills do you have? Could you work as a health coach? Can you provide any service online or face-to-face that others would find valuable? If you can work legally in other countries, apply for jobs before you move or hunt for a job once you arrive.
Figuring out how to live as a nomad is just like solving a problem. The problem is that you need to figure out a way to fund your travels. For me, part of my solution was selling all my belongings and becoming a minimalist. Solving this problem isn’t easy, but if you can manage your money, make saving a priority, and stick to a budget, you’ll be on the right track.
But no matter how much money you save, if you don’t know what you are getting yourself into by living abroad, you will fall flat on your face. If you aren’t mature enough to handle adult situations by yourself, you won’t survive travelling the world alone. You must be able to figure out solutions to your problems. It could be as basic as getting lost in the city but it could be more serious: do you know what to do if your passport is stolen? It’s okay if you don’t know the answer now, but the point is that you need to know how to find the answer beforehand and be prepared.
If you want to live as a nomad, you have to solve this problem yourself. I can give you suggestions to set you up for success, but ultimately it depends on you: your money-management skills, your discipline, motivation and drive. If you want something badly enough, you will find a way to make it happen.
This wraps up this secret to living as a nomad series! Thanks for reading! I’m all settled in my Paris flat now and can’t wait to photograph the city tomorrow. Expect lots of photos tomorrow if the rain holds off!
For more information, please read:
- The secret to living as a nomad: part 1.
- The secret to living as a nomad: part 2.
- How to quit your job and travel 24/7.
- Travel or your life is wasted.