How I Afford Long-term Travel

Last month I woke up to the smell of the Indian ocean in Mozambique. Today I woke up in Livingstone, Zambia ready to explore the adrenaline adventures of the Victoria Falls. Next month I’ll awake to a beautiful sunrise in Luanda the capital of Angola. And how am I able to afford this? 

The honest truth is that 2 years ago I made the decision to travel the world, but how I was going to finance it was my number one question. 

So back to that big elephant of a question. How do I afford to travel?

1- I first founded a business I enjoyed running. 

I embarked on a mission to start an online, remote business that would allow me to explore the world, while being able to grow a successful and profitable company. So, in 2015 I started an online marketing agency because of the need I identified in many small businesses that where overwhelmed with all the tasks that go into managing social media accounts. I initially ran it part-time, in order for me to so test the business model and see which parts of my idea would work and which parts would not work. 

In 2016, I quit my job and decided to focus fully on my own business and to explore other financial streams. So after quitting my job, I started an online store and this blog. As I was growing the online marketing agency, I also started testing the concept of drop shipping for my online store. I needed to see which products to sell, and which of those products would be eady for me to sell whilst i was travelling. However, I must confess,  2016 wasn't an easy year for me; it was filled with a lot of learning curves and growth. 

The start to full-time entrepreneurship doesn't come easy. It takes a lot of work but believe me when I say, if you keep at it long enough you will reap the rewards. And that's what I did the whole of 2016, I worked my head off. 

But we all know that entrepreneurship is not for everyone and if you are one of those people but still love to travel, there are other options you can consider. You can teach English in a foreign country like China, where the medium of communication is not English. You can work for an NGO or an organic farm where free accommodation. Another option would be to study aboard. 

2- I decided on the type of travel that would work for me.

Long-term travel is not for everyone and so it’s important that you choose the best travel for you. I knew I wanted to travel full-time, visiting different countries. I chose backpacking because I felt it was the easiest and most affordable way for me to embark on my adventure. I also did not want to be in one place for longer than a month and to help keep financial costs as low as possible, I use public transportation, eat as the locals eat, and I don’t book at fancy hotels or fly. This has been the best option for me. 

Some of my friends have chosen to travel by teaching English in a foreign country. As I said earlier, this means they stay in one place for a longer period of time before they move on to the next place. My other friends have chosen to study abroad for a few years because they do not want to be packing their bags every two weeks.  

So know the kind of traveller you are and what you can handle, then go for it. 

3- I chose my destination based on my budget

At first I wanted to do a South America backpacking trip, but once I started looking at my budget I knew I needed to find a different travel route. The challenge I faced with the South American route was that I would need to buy a return plain ticket because most countries would not give me a Visa if I did not have a return date. And connecting flights where a bit costly for my current budget. It’s very important to know your budget. 

I didn’t want to wait for my business to have a 100 clients before I travel, so I chose an affordable travel route. I decided to backpack from South Africa to Morocco as that was easy to begin and in most of the counties I’m going to I don’t need a Visa. 

This took a lot of planning and research, and so you need to chose the right destination for your budget. You can read an article posted on the blog written by Anita on some very useful tips on how to budget; it will help you get your finances right before you travel. 

4- I started contacting people I new from the countries I would visit. 

As I said earlier, you need to decide the type of travel you enjoy. I love staying with the locals and seeing the country from their point of view. I don’t like being a tourist! So in most of the countries I’ll visit I plan to either stay with the locals that I know or people referred to by friends. But if push comes to shove I will be couch surfing. 

That’s what I did in Zimbabwe, I stayed with people I new rather than booking at a hotel. Right now I’m in Livingstone Zambia, because it’s a tourist area, I’m staying at a backpackers the cheapest alternative to hotels. In Namibia next week I’ll be staying with a friend as well as in Angola. 

Knowing what you like will be helpful in your planning. 

5- I just did it

I didn't wait till my bank balance was big or till I had 100 clients as I said earlier, but I waited till I could afford to pay my monthly expense in South Africa and then use the same amount of money for my travels. 

You don’t need to wait for things to be perfect, but you just need to do it. In one of the travel group I follow on Facebook they shared a quote last month that says something like “ if you want to travel just book the ticket and don’t worry about the how’s of your travel” 

I totally believe that quote, until I booked my bus ticket and decided on the date, I found that I was still dreaming about traveling. At times we need to take that leap of Faith and trust that things will work out because until you take that leap you’ll never know. 

I tell myself every morning that I can do all things placed in my path and I will accomplish my goals. You need to believe that you can do what you dreamed of doing all your life, because if you don’t believe in them, nothing will happen. 

My dear friends faith is knowing you can do the impossible 

Photo Source : Asiyami Gold