How Much Money Do You Need To Start A Life Of Travel?

How Much Money Do You Need To Start A Life Of Travel?

By |2017-04-06T01:06:18-04:00September 16th, 2010|Popular, Travel Costs, Travel Tips & Advice|317 Comments

Life of Travel - ATM Washington Mutual

A desire to explore the world is hard to ignore, and for many travelers, as soon as that desire became too strong to be ignored, they simply packed up their backpack or suitcase and took off into the unknown. However, along with that strong desire to travel, there is something else that is needed in order to actually make it all happen. The fact is, you’ll barely make it across your home town if you don’t have at least a few dollars, pounds, euros or yen in your bank account.

So, once again, the question is:

How much money do you really need to start a life of travel?

Is it $4000, $10,000, $35,000, $100,000?


Perhaps some of you are familiar with this…

One random day we find ourselves spending 59 minutes of every single hour daydreaming about wandering to far-away destinations, immersing ourselves in wildly exotic cultures, dining on new and splendid foods and being able to hop from country to country on a whim. We desperately want to be out there traveling and we start to realize that time is running out for us to begin our long-awaited adventure.

Suddenly, unable to contain our desire and excitement any longer, we make a promise to ourselves that this time, we’re really going to go for it. We search for airfares and we quickly find a flight to Costa Rica that leaves next Tuesday. “I’m going to Costa Rica!” we shout around the room for all to hear, as we imagine ourselves hiking through the rainforest with a toucan on our shoulder.

And then we have a glance at our bank account, discover that we only have $682 USD to our name and that’s the end of that. In an instant, we snap out of our daydream and we simply go back to doing whatever it was we were doing before this ‘crazy’ idea of being a world traveler had popped into our head.


When I boarded my flight to Bangkok back in 1999, with the goal of traveling around SE Asia for 3 months, in terms of money, all I had was $1500 USD to my name. Yes, $1500. Before booking my flight, I had determined that this amount would be sufficient for me to backpack through Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, as long as I traveled on a very tight budget.

Of course, the problem arrived when I quickly discovered (only a few days after landing in Asia) that one 3-month adventure was not going to be enough for me. I now had a new goal, one that involved living a life of constant travel. And I was fully aware that $1500 wasn’t about to get me very far at all.

I’ll admit, during the first month or so of my travels, there were more than a few moments when I questioned my decision to travel with so little money. I kept thinking that I should have spent a year working at home first, in order to have saved more before leaving for this trip.

Had I begun my travels with $20,000 USD in my bank account, I certainly wouldn’t have been so worried at the time. The pressure to start earning money would have simply been non-existent, as I could have easily traveled around the world for two straight years on those initial funds alone!

And while that thought may sound appealing at first, as I sit here today, I’m not quite sure that I would have preferred that path in the end.

Consider this for a moment…

If I began my nomadic lifestyle with $20,000, once those two years of freedom and travel were over, and the money began to dwindle, I probably would’ve found that I had lost a good deal of my work ethic and become quite lazy along the way. If I had lived with an “I don’t have to worry about money right now” mentality for so long, I just can’t imagine I would be too motivated to work hard and do whatever it takes to continue traveling. My guess is that if I was in that situation, I would have returned home, taken any job I could find and then proceeded to put the rest of my travel dreams back in the closet.

However, because I began with only $1500, the situation turned out much differently once I decided to become a permanent nomad.

Out of necessity, I was forced to open my mind wider than I’d ever opened it before, and to open my eyes even wider, in order to seek out any opportunity that could help keep me traveling. I began trying to make as many contacts as possible, talking to other long-term travelers and every local person that I encountered. I asked them endless questions and spent hours thinking about every piece of potentially useful advice that I had heard. I knew there had to be way to extend my travels and giving up was simply not an option.

Finally, while eating a plate of the worst green curry I’ve ever eaten in a small town in Thailand, all of the brainstorming and gathering of information paid off. That’s when a good friend of mine and I came up with the idea of teaching private English language classes (using some unique methods) in the city of Chiang Mai. And this endeavor worked out very well, earning me enough money to continue living overseas and in the end, easily becoming the highlight of my first visit to Asia.


From that point on, new and rewarding ideas and opportunities continued to appear before me. For example, while living in Chiang Mai, a local friend of mine offered me a chance to spend almost two months as an assistant tour guide, helping to lead groups on 3-day treks into the jungles of Thailand. Shortly after that finished, I met a fellow traveler who introduced me to the idea of working on board cruise ships. Then, while working on board cruise ships, one of the tour operators we were contracted with in the Caribbean asked me to enter into a business partnership. A couple of years later, a great friend of mine who I met while on board ships as well, demanded that I read “The 4-Hour Workweek”, a book that has helped make my current travels possible. While working on creating online income, I then met someone who opened my eyes to the world of blogging, something I knew almost nothing about until the middle of last year.

The list literally goes on and on and even this year, while living in Mexico, opportunities continued to present themselves, some of which have had an incredibly positive effect on both my bank account and the direction of my life.

And while this may all sound like too-goo-to-be-true nonsense, I’m certain that other long-term, and even short-term, travelers out there have very similar stories to share. I would be shocked if they didn’t!


My point is this…had I left home way back when with $20,000 instead of $1500 in my bank account, I’m not so sure I would’ve been open to all of these life-changing experiences. As a result, I doubt that I would have achieved my goal of living a life of constant travel. (Ok, it hasn’t been a full life yet, but 11 years seems like a good start!)

On the other hand, I won’t deny that having a little extra money in the beginning doesn’t hurt. Everyone can use a bit of a cushion to fall back on if things get tough. And if a person is not fully ready to begin their travels, then by all means, continue saving some money!

But if you’re already at the point where you’re just itching to get out there and explore the world, you don’t necessarily need to wait around for another year in the hopes of turning $5,000 in savings into $10,000. I’d personally rather have that extra year of travel experiences, which will inevitably lead to the opportunities that will change and improve your life in ways you can’t yet imagine.

If my once shy, confused, young and naïve self can find a way to turn $1500 into a decade of travel, there’s nothing stopping anybody from doing the same. It doesn’t take long to discover that your open mind is far more valuable than an extra few thousand dollars in your bank account!

Do you agree or disagree that a person doesn’t need too much money to start a life of travel?

I’d be interested to hear some of your stories, whether you’ve been traveling for a while or if you’re in the planning stages for an upcoming adventure…

Photo credit: WaMu ATM
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  1. Kylee August 27, 2018 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    I really love this post because I am gearing up for my own solo travel trip in just 2 short months! I have gone over and over in my head how much to save before setting off on what hopefully will be an entire lifetime of travel as well! This post showed me that no matter how much money you have saved, all you need is a bit of tenacity! Thanks for sharing!

    • Greg September 23, 2018 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      Hey Kylee

      Not long to go then? Where are you planning on going?

  2. Adrisn June 6, 2018 at 5:07 am - Reply

    I have a little over 100000 USD in my account. I consider myself a minimalist. I don’t own a car or a house and I don’t have any debt and that is probably why I have this little amount saved.
    I want to travel India because it’s where I am from (I grew up elsewhere).
    I have a family home in South India in case I screw up.
    I have never backpacked but since a year all the stuff I own fits in a medium check in suitcase with room for more reduction.
    Having bored you fmguys with all these details, what I want to ask is do I have enough saved up for a minimalist travel through India ( with intent to find odd jobs along the way) I feel I have enough but I would like to know from you experienced travellers?
    Thanks for your time.

    • Derek June 6, 2018 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      With $100,000 in your account, you would have enough to travel anywhere. You could live well in India for many, many years with that amount.

      • Adrian June 7, 2018 at 2:11 am - Reply

        Thanks Derek.
        Coming from you, that’s the confidence I needed.

    • Faz November 5, 2018 at 3:24 am - Reply

      Hi Adrian,
      $100,000 is a LOT. You could live for a decade in India (while travelling and not working). And to back this up, here’s my story.

      I am an Indian, living in Bangalore. I am 29 years old. Now, WHY am I telling you this? I was working as a software engineer for nearly 7.5 years. Didn’t save anything. Owning a car (that’s all I’ve). But for the last 6 months, I make living from “odd jobs” (as you quote). I am done with my old job. I travel with whatever little money I make out of it and just live a care-damn-free life. Of course being one and surrounded by Indian, I’m always told that I am wasting my life. But, I am happy this way (at least for now). I plan to take up a job in Malaysia next year, but only if it works out. Otherwise, I am planning to travel to Malaysia / Indonesia anyway and make a living along way.

      There’s always a Teaching job in India. And it’s easy to get. At least in Bangalore. You could make a lot, depending on your skills. Will be happy to help if you ever come down to Bangalore and looking for a part time job :). My website is under development. You can connect me there, after a few days.

      P.S. I would do this for you, as you said you want to TRAVEL. Anything for our traveller buddy 🙂


  3. Richard June 22, 2017 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Hey Logan, 2 years on, where are you now mate?

    • logan bunch June 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      Hey Richard, I actually just returned to Colorado. I went to Myanmar for a month for my last trip. Wonderful place. After seeing the need of medicine in developing nations I decided to change paths and go into an md program. I want to provide healthcare to those without it

  4. Tsion Ebrahim Mohamed June 20, 2017 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Hi my name is Tsion Ebrahim I am a 24 years old girl currently working as a Junior marketer in a flower exporting company in Ethiopia. I have been having this daydreams to travel all around the world for almost two years now, But it never was easy because what i save after helping my families is way to little to even change it to USD cause we get paid in Ethiopian with a currency called Birr and the exchange rate of 1 USD to Birr= 24 birr.
    My point is it is getting harder by the day to even dream about traveling but at the same time i just can’t get it out of my mind so as a result i have decided with what ever money i will have i will start my journey at the end of this year. What i want is a simple advice from all of you out there who had the opportunities to have the glimpse of traveling to tell me where to start my travel and how prepared should i really be as a girl who lived in a very conserved culture.With the hope that one day I would conquer the world and get to meet one of the person who will take time to answer my curiosity

    • Joe March 22, 2018 at 6:24 am - Reply

      Did you end up leaving going travelling at the end of the year?

  5. Heather September 3, 2016 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Any advice for a family four (Dad, Mom and 2 kids almost 9 years old)? We want to sell our house and take the $90,000 in equity to travel but live as minimally as possible. The goal would be to have that money to get started ($5000 or less) and keep the rest in the bank for emergencies or should we have to return to the US. My husband is skilled in every field imaginable and I have an Elementary Education degree so TEFL is an option. He isn’t afraid of work but I would prefer to stay home or tutor kids….Thanks!

    • Logan B September 4, 2016 at 5:03 am - Reply

      Where do you want to move? If you want to travel and work at the same time and are North American, there is VIPkid that provides about 20 usd per hour for online tutoring.

  6. Chelo March 25, 2016 at 9:17 am - Reply

    Thats all well if you are in your 20sand in good health. What do you do if you are 55+ year old woman fed up with everything and in not too strong health with only $5000 in your account? True i have a good few qualifications and a very nice personality but will that be of use?
    Chelo/ Ireland

    • NomadicTeku May 26, 2016 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      If you can teach English in a foreign country, your pretty much set, if not jump on TEFL and get the certificate within 10days and start roaming eyy. Age should not be an issue for a soul that wants to simply be free.
      good luck

    • Logan B September 4, 2016 at 5:01 am - Reply

      I agree. I am living in Vietnam right now and there are plenty of persons over the age of 50 working here. In fact, I think the more reputable schools prefer older candidates instead of some inexperienced backpacker with a tefl certificate. And as for Vietnam, there are many Irish persons here. A great expat community in hcmc and hanoi, and there are plenty of opportunities outside of teaching here.

      • Dan September 15, 2018 at 11:31 pm - Reply

        Hey man, I’m a disabled vet and I have around 3500 USD a month in spending money. Do you think if I stick to Asia, I can maintain for a year?

        • Derek September 15, 2018 at 11:45 pm - Reply

          Hey Dan – You’d have no problem with that amount in Asia. I know many people that live in various parts of Asia on $1500 per month or less and they live quite well. To be honest, $3500 per month is enough to pretty much live in most of the world!

  7. […] on this site, the amount of money you do need isn’t nearly as large as most people imagine (How Much Money Do You Need to Start a Life of Travel), but you still need a little cashola in order to achieve your travel […]

  8. Nrin December 13, 2015 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Hi, I’m a 23 years old and a woman, but I really want to get out the and travel. I have about $2000 to start. Will it be enough? Also, being a girl, I’m kind of scared of being molested or other stuff if I travel on my own. And I really don’t know where to start travelling, how to get around, or what places to go to. I want to see the world (nature’s wonders, etc) and learn and experience other cultures. I’m a culinary graduate and was thinking if I can use that in my travels?

  9. Susan December 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for writing this article. You are the only person that I have come into contact with that didn’t have $15,000+ before traveling. I have been stressing myself out about how I would save up enough money to travel and reading posts about have to make money abroad. I honestly don’t have digital nomad skills and one month away isn’t enough.

  10. Garrett Malone November 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    How long after you left for Asia did you get your teaching job and start making an income?

    I am 18 years old, realizing that sitting in a classroom all day and making that 40 minute morning commute to my university is not the lifestyle I enjoy. My mind is always drifting to the idea of traveling/hiking across countries journaling and photographing my travels. I would like to even videotape my experiences and make some sort of film but as of right I am just focusing on the basics of what I need to do. I have a little bit more money than you did when you started out but I have no idea of where I would stay if I were to travel. I would just like some insight on what you did to travel the world since I am limited to people to talk to ( the places you stayed, how you networked, what you spent/day, places you really enjoyed). Any information and response I can get would be great!



    • Wandering Earl November 16, 2015 at 10:59 pm - Reply

      Hey Garrett – Thanks so much for the comment and you can find much of the answers you’re looking for over on my Getting Started page:

      But to answer your first question, I started teaching a couple of months after I started traveling in Asia. However, I only earned enough to survive in Thailand since I was teaching on my own and not at a language school. One other post you might want to read, along with all of the comments, is this one:

    • Logan November 17, 2015 at 10:56 am - Reply

      I left to travel in August. As far as finding a place to stay, it depends on your budget. Hostels generally run about 4 to 8 dollars a night. You can join couchsurfers and have accommodation for nothing. Meals generally run about 1 to 3 dollars (you can spend as much or as little as you want). I have gone from north Thailand to Cambodia to Laos and now to Vietnam. My budget is 20 dollars a day. You could do it on 10 to 15 if you budget really hard or stay in one place for a while. It’s scary to leave but you will meet plenty of people at hostels or via couchsurfing. As far as teaching. At least here in Vietnam you typically need a tesol cert and a degree but I have heard of people just getting by with the cert. Hope this helps.

  11. nikki July 27, 2015 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    hey, i just read your blog and I’ve wanted to travel ever since i can remember. I’ve been to a decent few places but that’s with my family as i’m only 16 right now. and though you enjoy but you cant really do stuff you really want to as there’s always a cautious parent/sibling by your side! So what i wanted to ask you was how i can save up money and go for a tour after i finish college?
    Moreover I belong to Pakistan so just ‘idle’ travelling, especially for a girl, isn’t encouraged. I don’t know how I’m going to manage and i really need advice from someone who’s actually managed to get away from the everyday routine so please try to reply asap!

  12. Jelena July 19, 2015 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    So beautifully written and so very true 🙂

  13. Deshun Britton July 11, 2015 at 4:32 am - Reply

    Hey I’m back. So I’ve started gaining momentum to the that big dive.when I say started I mean I finally got around 700$ In my name. Is this enough to start or should I keep building the initial funds

    • Logan November 17, 2015 at 10:59 am - Reply

      Keep building

  14. David July 8, 2015 at 7:24 pm - Reply


    I don’t really know what I want to ask on this, but after reading your blog, I can’t help but to just want to get in contact with people like yourself to help talk me into doing something like this.

    I think my problem is that I don’t know what to do with myself – I search the Internet in the hope of finding inspiration, but apon realising that I can’t do what other people can; I feel disheartened.

    I feel like I am letting myself sink too much into the settle down and work lifestyle when my mind wants to do EVERYTHING. Would you say traveling for a few months would be a good way to clear your head and make you think about what you want in life? Or almost fuel obsession of wanting to do everything at once?

    I know this is starting to sound like a counceling session; but I can’t help but feel that the direction in which I’m traveling at the moment is a lonely and boring one.

    • Deshun Britton August 4, 2015 at 12:40 am - Reply

      Hey David. I say go for it. I read this blog almost a year or two ago when I was at a lost on what to do. I knew I wanted to get out and experience the world but with but as a fresh out of highschool kid I made a plan to prepare to leave the saftey of home. Two years later I have settled all affairs at home. I’ve set the date to leave I have my ticket headed to Spain. And I’m scared out of my mind but I know I won’t regret this life path I’ve chosen. I know you won’t either. The next time I post a comment I’ll be somewhere else entirely.

    • Richard August 4, 2015 at 4:35 am - Reply

      Wow, my personal opinion on your situation at the minute is that you absolutely do not want to go travelling. Seriously read through your own message and ask if those of the words of a grounded, confident, assured, focused, practical and competent individual. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but at this moment in time, maybe councilling is exactly what you need. The internet is not the be all and end all. Pick a destination, build a base of information based on that location, get a TESOL or equivalent, get over there and teach to begin with. If you come here asking for people to convince you to go and do ‘everything’ your in trouble and certainly ready for ‘nothing’. Treat your initial travelling venture as a business plan. This will buy you time on the road with which confidence and experience will also grow.

    • Logan November 17, 2015 at 11:08 am - Reply

      I disagree with Richard. I had the same feelings before I left. I was fed up with work and my daily routine. My life was boring. Since I have left I have been happy nearly every day. Of course it takes some confidence to take the leap of faith but you just have to do it! I sold everything I owned, quit my job, and bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok. The experience a I have had brought a lot of clarity to my life. I am currently in Pleiku, Vietnam. A small city in central Vietnam. The people here are so kind and it makes you realise how happy people with virtually nothing can be. And how they will give you what little they have to welcome you. This is what I say. Save up some money and travel for a few months. I have been traveling for nearly four months on a 5000 dollar budget. I will be be running out of money soon so I will be taking out a cash advance on my credit card to keep it going. Good luck. ps : the longer you do nothing, the longer you stay in a rut. read the book “1000 days of spring” by Perko. A bit extreme but it’s a decent read. It’s motivating if nothing else.

  15. Logan B July 3, 2015 at 1:47 pm - Reply


    I really enjoyed reading your article! I have saved up a bit more money than you had but I have the same life goals. I have $4,000 dollars and plan to teach English in Vietnam after a month of traveling southeast Asia. I constantly have this itching idea that I should travel as long as possible. How long did you travel before finding a job?

    I will be flying into Bangkok on August 4th and starting my adventure from there. What would you suggest on a timeline? How long would you work before picking up and traveling again?



    • Wandering Earl July 3, 2015 at 11:34 pm - Reply

      Hey Logan – It really depends. Some will say you should use your money to travel first until you figure out where you want to be and what you want to do in terms of work. Some would say to find a job right away in order to boost the bank account so that you won’t have to worry later. For me, I traveled for about 2 months before I started teaching English but that was because I didn’t have much money left.

      And then, I started working on cruise ships, so I would work for a contract which was usually 4-5 months, then I would travel for 2-6 months before returning for another contract.

      • jake November 25, 2015 at 12:14 am - Reply

        Hey Earl! You seem amazing and i know this post is quit late but my question is, where did you find the cruise ship job? I’m planning on leaving here towards after Christmas (since its right around the corner) and working on a ship sounds fun and a great experience

        • Wandering Earl November 25, 2015 at 12:43 am - Reply

          Hey Jake – I ended up getting my cruise job through a contact but you might want to check out my popular eGuide How to Work on Cruise Ships. It shows you exactly how to apply for just about every position with every major cruise line while giving you the advice that will ensure you have the highest chance possible of getting hired. Here’s the link:

    • meg August 3, 2015 at 8:16 pm - Reply

      hey logan,
      good luck with your travels tomorrow!

      • Logan B August 4, 2015 at 2:54 am - Reply

        Thanks Meg. Just landed in Tokyo!

  16. Olivia June 27, 2015 at 4:41 am - Reply

    I have $8,000 and no career all i want is to travel full sick of boring day to day life and constantly keeping up with the jones’ considering strapping on a backpack and doing it. Thankyou your story is really inspiring!

  17. Josh June 15, 2015 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl,

    I totally agree that it’s possible since I did the same but started out in 2008 with just $100 and a plane ticket to Korea for a teaching contract. I’ve been traveling ever since but since 2013 I hit a big roadblock. I had only taught English and had just started teaching/giving photography workshops/tours in Istanbul when I lost my teaching position and all of my funds ran out.

    I ended up, embarassingly, getting bailed out of the country with the help of my parents and returning home for 7 months unable to find any solid work. From the limited work I WAS able to do through photography, I saved up enough money to fly to Central America with the plan to start a blogging business, photo tours, and workshops, plus find some other part/full time work but none of that worked out.
    I’m finding that it’s getting more difficult to earn money than easier since I was always just an English teacher that received a decent wage.
    I’m recently unemployed with $1500 to last me until I finish a house sitting gig for the month of July in Mexico, after which I have absolutely no clue what to do for income.

    Were you in my shoes, what would be your move to get the ‘comfortable’ life of continuous travel on track?

    Were you in my shoes, what would you do?

    • Wandering Earl June 15, 2015 at 7:08 pm - Reply

      Hey Josh – In that situation, I think you have two main options. First, you could find another teaching gig somewhere and get back on your feet that way, especially since you already have the experience. Second, you should make a long list of every skill, interest, piece of knowledge that you have, as well as just things you’re good at, and really try to brainstorm how you can turn any of those into a work opportunity. What can you offer someone? Perhaps you offer something that would help someone else. Maybe you could use your photography skills to help a company that needs a photographer? Maybe you could contact local businesses in a particular town or city and offer them unique business English courses for their employees? It’s all about creativity in the end and if you stay focused, something is bound to happen!

  18. Michael Brock May 26, 2015 at 2:16 pm - Reply


    I’m enjoying reading your blog in preparation of travelling from the UK to New York then making my way by bus to Miami before finally going to Colombia. I’m taking £3500 with me and hoping it lasts.

    I think what you did was impressive, starting on $1500 but did you have a Tefl certificate beforehand? You also seem to have landed on your feet a few times! I suppose you need to be an extrovert to make opportunities..

    This is the first page I read but I’ll keep going through your blog. Thanks for doing it.


    • Wandering Earl May 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      Hey Michael – I did not have a TEFL back then, and I still don’t have one now. But yes, being able to meet and talk to people does help but the good news is that when traveling, often times you don’t have a choice but to talk to those around you. There will always be travelers wanting to socialize and in many parts of the world, you’ll be meeting local people quite easily as well, simply by being out and about each day.

  19. Deshun Britton May 23, 2015 at 1:55 am - Reply

    So you’re saying if my bank account says 500 exactly. I able to pick a place and go right now

  20. Jake May 9, 2015 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your blog Earl! Also for taking time to answer so many of these questions (hopefully mine too?) Your experiences sound terrific! I’m in my late 30’s. About 6 years ago I left a career focused materialism (banking) and went back to school for a lower paying field focused more on humanism (nursing). As a result, I am a much more fulfilled person now and the experience has taught me a lot about thinking outside of “the box” so many middle classes Americans find themselves in. Saying goodbye to a a lifestyle of rampant materialism has also shown me that “less is more” in many ways. I’ve been feeling another urge lately, to get get rid of most of my remaining “stuff” and lead a life like yours for awhile. Frankly, my greatest fear with this is not the money or lifestyle change, I’ve already proven to myself before I think flexibly. My worry is that it seems most of the people who start adventures like yours are young, fresh out of college, or retirees. I’ve almost managed to convince myself that travel such as yours is not for a guy im my age bracket. Do you think my age of near 40 will preclude me from some of the opportunities and relationships formed in travels? It may very well be my own preconceptions and experiences in the US, but nonetheless, the fear is there. I’d hate to end up being just to be the weird old guy to some and the strange young man who refuses to settle down to the others that I meet in my experience. Also I think people tend to offer more help (both in knowledge and things like a couch to crash on or job opportunities) to a young kid in his 20’s vs. a guy who is at an age he should be taking care of kids of own. Is this imaginary or something I should plan for in my future journeys? What are your thoughts?

    • Suzanne May 23, 2015 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      I can’t wait to see the reply from Earl. At least with Nursing background, You have even a bigger open door. I hope you do it. But I would be jealous. Enjoy.

  21. Andy April 7, 2015 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl,

    I am leaving for Thailand in June. I am going to do the same thing that you have been doing which is traveling from one place to another three months at a time. By the time I leave I will have $4000 saved and once I arrive in Bangkok I want to start looking for a job. My problem is this. I want to purchase a one way ticket, but the airline has warned me that they will not let me board the plane unless I have a roundtrip ticket or a visa showing that I have a job already in place or am attending school. So basically my question is how do I constantly move from country to country if I don’t have these things. Most countries require this upon entry. So how did you get pass this? Have you encountered any problems like this? I really need your help because June is fast approaching. By the way I am a 20 year old American citizen. Hopefully you reply

    • Matthew Fraser May 6, 2015 at 3:50 am - Reply

      I have been traveling for 2 years to over 30 countries all over the world; the only country that has ever required proof of exit, is New Zealand. I have no idea where you’re getting your informations from.

      • Wandering Earl May 6, 2015 at 9:09 am - Reply

        Hey Matthew – It’s great that you haven’t encountered that but there’s also plenty of examples of people who have been required to show proof more often that. I was required the other day to show proof when flying into Germany before transferring to my flight to Spain. There are many factors involved in terms of whether you’ll be asked so it’s not possible to say that your situation will be the same for everyone.

  22. Kate April 1, 2015 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    Hello, Earl!

    Thank you for this lovely article. I have a story to share and some quick questions as well. In 2012, my former friend and I tried travelling to the UK, England to be exact. She lied and got us booted back here, to the USA, and I have a black stamp with an inked cross (black colored) through it in my passport. I was not banned as I DID clarify such, and the stamp is not red. My questions are:

    How much cash do you recommend having for a one month trip to the UK?

    Do I need a Visa now?

    Thank you, Earl. Have a wonderful year.

  23. […] post which I found helpful describes how Earl started travelling having only $1,500 in savings. He […]

  24. Alison March 8, 2015 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    I love your article. I was just wondering, I have been thinking seriously about traveling long term and working in the process, but I noticed that a lot of jobs that people mention are jobs that may not technically be legal under visa regulations. For example, in my research I noticed that in a lot of places when you get a tourist visa you are not allowed to get a job. So technically then working at a hostel in those countries under that visa would be illegal, correct? I guess I’m a stickler for the rules, but I just don’t feel comfortable doing something like that. Do you have any suggestions other than getting those types of jobs or making a blog?
    Thank you!

  25. lin February 24, 2015 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Early,
    I love so much your blog cause i love about travelling. Just now i still working and i have own travel website also for hobby. But I am stucking ,i wanna doing different thing in my life .its like travelling around the world and constant travel. I still curious with your words “While working on creating online income, I then met someone who opened my eyes to the world of blogging, something I knew almost nothing about until the middle of last year.”
    Could you tell me more about earning money on creating online is like on blog or else?
    I like to blog also but thats all.
    You know everything still need money to do it ^^. I hope could meet person like you to share me how to live like you want to do “being happy traveller”

    Thanks alot Early

  26. Donna February 8, 2015 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Hi! I work from home as a software engineer and have been doing it fro home for the past 7 years. Ive recently become an empty nester and have become debt free. I’m ready for the next chapter in my life and the thought of living a life excited me. Finances aren’t an issue in my case. My questions are more how do I get started? Where do I go where I can explore and still have enough dedicated time and Internet access for my career? How do I balance everything? I’m used to having a house with stuff and it doesn’t make sense to keep all of that if I’m not going to be there. Any advice would be really helpful.

  27. […] and ways to find free accommodation – the tips are endless. One blog I stumbled upon called Wandering Earl, argued that it was even more beneficial to not have a heap of money to fall back on. He said he […]

  28. James January 11, 2015 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl, im wanting to go travelling for quite some time, i plant to go to Thailand for three months and take it from there, and want to save around £5000.
    I more interested in what type of work i can do while i’m there? so i could continue travelling, i do suffer from low confidence and really hope this will make me, any help would be great 🙂

    • Wandering Earl January 13, 2015 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      Hey James – It depends on your skills and knowledge as to what work you might be able to find. There are often opportunities to teach English as well for native English speakers. Apart from that, again, it comes down to what you can offer but Thailand, being a developing country, is not a place that has a ton of work opportunities for foreigners unfortunately.

  29. Abby January 10, 2015 at 1:18 am - Reply

    Hey Earl! I dream of what you’re doing everyday but it just seems so impossible! Do you get work permits everywhere or do you get cash jobs? How do you get booked through agency’s? What skills should I start focusing on to make getting jobs easier?
    By the way I absolutely love this blog!

    • Wandering Earl January 11, 2015 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      Hey Abby – Since I work online, I don’t need work permits as I’m not actually working for any company in the countries I visit. I am able to stay in each country on a tourist visa only. As for agencies, which agencies do you mean? As for skills, you should focus on what you enjoy…there’s no point in learning something if you don’t enjoy it because even if it helps you get a job while traveling, it won’t be fun at all if it’s not something you truly are excited about!

  30. Yvonne December 12, 2014 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    I had zero savings but started travelling working in a ski resort in Switzerland (through an agency). That brought enough money to train through Europe down to Greece, where I found a youth hostel bed on an island in exchange for checking hostellers in and out. For actual cash, I washed hostellers’ clothes!!

    The travellers I met in Greece inspired me to get a round the world ticket, London, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, London, with Japan as my target destination. After buying the flight I again had almost zero savings. When I arrived in Tokyo I had £30 in total (no back up anywhere). I was so excited to get that far, that 1 day would have been enough, but I ended up staying several years and earning enough to buy a flat in the UK!! (Not washing clothes!!)

    How much money do you need? Sometimes none!! Travelling, it’s all about a state of mind!!

  31. Michael November 25, 2014 at 8:06 am - Reply

    Hey Earl

    My Girlfriend and i are looking at starting travelling in March next year possibly starting in Thailand and taking it from there were hoping to save a couple of thousand Pounds each would u recommend booking our trip through a travel agent or doing it independently? and is it pretty straight forward to maybe find a teaching job in Thailand for extra cash?

    Thanks in advance

    • Wandering Earl November 30, 2014 at 10:59 pm - Reply

      Hey Michael – I’m not sure what you would book through a travel agency if you plan to travel indefinitely or at least giving it a go. All you would need is to get the flights and that’s it! Once in Thailand, you can then travel and look for teaching jobs through websites such as and other similar sites.

  32. Ashley November 24, 2014 at 12:29 am - Reply

    This is truly an amazing story. Im a 19 year old girl with a strong dream to travel and see the world. I have always loved learning about different culture and the way people live. Although My family laughs at me when I even bring up such a topic. I just keep telling them one day it will happen, but deep down I know it won’t, I work at a grocery store and save my money for collage and maybe to at least travel to one place. But Your story has touched me and given me a little more hope that I will be able to go a little further. So I thankyou for that.

    • Wandering Earl November 30, 2014 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      Hey Ashley – Maintain that hope and try to keep looking for examples of people doing exactly what you want to do in life! That will help ensure you don’t lose focus and that you achieve your own travel goals as soon as you can!

  33. Nicholas November 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Hi Wandering Earl,

    First off I’d like to say that I’m very grateful that I found this article online. Subconsciously for quite some time now I’ve been trying to figure out a way to travel around the whole world, cheaply of course, without having a large sum of money. My question for you is how much money would I need to travel the entire planet backpacking? I know from your article it would seem that a good approach to this would be start off small and opportunities will present themselves. But, & I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, the thing that concerns me is what if opportunities don’t present themselves for whatever reason and I run out of funds? Then what? Am I supposed to go back home and find another job again and repeat the process, because in all honesty, I’d like to go travel around the world each continent for three months at a time, without having to come back home to make money to travel. One of my plans was to go out west in the oil fields where the money is very high and promising ($10,000/month). However if I’m able to travel right now then I would definitely by all means jump on that opportunity. Can you please help me? I would really appreciate it.

    • Wandering Earl November 10, 2014 at 3:02 am - Reply

      Hey Nicholas – That’s an impossible question for me to answer 🙂 It depends on so many factors – your travel style, what you’re comfortable with, how you want to get around the world, what kind of activities you want to enjoy, will you cook for yourself or eat out all the time and on and on. In general, I say that you need an average of $1000 per month to travel to most of the world and that is traveling as a budget traveler. As for your other questions, there are no answers…that’s what makes this a tough decision for so many people and why so many people don’t end up traveling. You just have to decide – take the first step and see where it leads or stay at home and wonder ‘what if’.

      But if the worst case scenerio involves you running out of money, coming home and getting a job, that’s really not so bad at all, right? I doubt you’d regret the travel experiences you had, no matter how long they last. It’s almost unheard of to meet someone who regrets traveling, no matter how it turned out!

  34. […] How Much Money Do You Need To Start A Life Of Travel … – Do you agree or disagree that a person doesn’t need too much money to start a life of travel? I’d be interested to hear some of your stories, whether you’ve …… […]

  35. Kida October 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl!
    I’ve been wondering a lot while reading both yours and other blogs tips to live while travelling: When you often move around, where do you stay? Do you pay night-to-night for a room, or is there some other secret?

    Thanks for always inspiring me with this amazing blog!

    • Wandering Earl November 1, 2014 at 6:10 am - Reply

      Hey Kida – It’s basically a combination – hostels, guesthouses, hotels, couchsurfing,, friends….and it depends how long I stay in one place. If it’s a few nights, I stay in a hostel or hotel. If it’s a month or more, I might try to rent an apartment. Any of the above options are great depending on where you are!

  36. Marlin Bullard October 9, 2014 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the reply. I have alot of time to get everything straight, at this point I just need to have the knowledge of everything. And when it comes to work, is it hard to get jobs there? What kind of jobs? And what cities would I be allowed to stay in? I’m wanting to be in Vienna.


  37. Marlin Bullard October 9, 2014 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    I’m 21 years old, not in school, and living with my sister. I want to save up at least $5000 and move to Vienna, Austria for at least a year. I want to be part of a different culture, and learn new languages, meet new people and friends, have life changing and unforgettable experiences. As of right now that is where I want to go. But I know for sure that I want to travel to other countries as well. I’ve never traveled out of the U.S. let alone Texas. So this will be all new to me. Im willing to sacrifice everything because I want to live an adventurous life and experience as much as this world has to offer. Life is too great to be in one place my whole life, and I frown down upon the “American Dream”. I can’t see myself going to work every morning from 9-5, sitting in traffic, working a job I’m not happy with.

    So my question is, could I be ok doing that with at least $5000? What would i need to do first? And so on…


    • Wandering Earl October 9, 2014 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      Hey Marlin – Thanks for commenting and here’s the thing…there is no set amount that you need to travel. There are so many factors involved – destination, travel style, work opportunities available to you, etc. What you do need to do is look a little more closely at your plans…for example, US citizens cannot just go to Austria for 1 year. You are only allowed to stay in the Schengen Zone (a group of European countries that Austria is a part of) for 90 days out of any 180 day period. So you would need to study or find a job with a company there in order to stay longer.

      The point is that it’s not just the amount of initial money you have that can stand in the way of your plans. You also need to look at visas, local immigration rules, income opportunities in a particular destination, etc.

      So that’s where I’d start…doing more research about Austria first.

  38. erin October 6, 2014 at 12:37 am - Reply

    This has always been my dream and always will be. I don’t even mind leaving somewhere with only a few hundred dollars and working when I get there. But the only thing that stops me is bills. Sad right. The obligations I have here. How do I pay my student loans and all the other things on low income while traveling the world? I can freely admit that it’s such a bad excuse that there is probably some other fear stopping me, but I still can’t figure that part of the equation out. Every time I see posts like this I can’t help but wonder how people are able to up and leave without worrying about that kind of stuff. I have to do it, I just need to figure out how. Maybe I’ll have to wait until I can sell my car, for starters.

    • Wandering Earl October 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      Hey Erin – You need to prioritize right now, saving as much money as you can while also looking for opportunities to earn money in ways that will give you the freedom to travel. As for loans, I know that I deferred my loans for a year and then I started paying them off once I started working on board cruise ships, where I was able to pay the loans each month and still save some money.

      • Paula October 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm - Reply


        I to have the problem of having student loans…was it easy to have your loans deferred? What was the process like? I’ve been told that you can have the loans deferred for 3 years?

        • Wandering Earl October 26, 2014 at 8:27 am - Reply

          Hey Paula – It was 14 years ago but yes, it was quite easy. I just had to write a letter that I was going to be out of the country and that was about it. And it was the same then, the maximum you could defer the loans was 3 years.

          • Nick Balanay January 17, 2015 at 2:17 am

            Hey Wandering Earl!
            I love your website. I am 22 and I am an aspiring world traveler. I heard cruise are a great way to see a part of the world. I just wanted to stick my hand out there and see if maybe you could possible help with a job on a cruise ship? If you had any connections? I’ll do anything. I really need to get out there and see the world. It would be hugely appreciated! Thank you!

            Nick Balanay

          • Wandering Earl January 18, 2015 at 4:43 am

            Hey Nick – The best advice I can give is to check out my popular eGuide – How to Work on a Cruise Ship. You’ll find everything you need to apply in that one guide!


  39. […] How Much Money Do You Need To Start A Life Of Travel … – Do you agree or disagree that a person doesn’t need too much money to start a life of travel? I’d be interested to hear some of your stories, whether you’ve …… […]

  40. Richard September 5, 2014 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Hey I don’t want to appear to be hijacking your site Earl but common please, this girl is reading travel the world from the last Hollywood film. Play with lion cubs? Teach English? Cheat on your boyfriend that you apparently love? Ride through countries by motorbike? 20 years if age and your only knowledge is ‘how to have a good time’? Please…….you have to be kidding me!

    Earl has managed to stay on the road for the time he has because he DOES know what visas to get, what paperwork is required, has life experience and work skills that can be used globally, can live to a budget, didn’t just see the world as a playground to simply wander through.

    If you read Earl’s story properly, its a success story of how an individual turned 1500 into a much more by being disciplined and extremely shrewd with planning and preparation. There are simply no excuses these days to not do your homework first. Use the internet and research as though it was for your thesis on world travel. KNOW what you need to know to SURVIVE in these countries, because it is most definitely not the rosy picture you people want to appear to paint if you approach travel with a cavalier attitude. Simply having a ‘sum of money’ is not the be all and end all to begin your travels.

    • Wandering Earl September 9, 2014 at 3:57 am - Reply

      Hey Richard – In the end, that’s why we travel, to grow and mature and to learn. On my first trip, when I went to SE Asia back in 1999, my goal was to see Angkor Wat and to simply take photos of me in front of the amazing temples, to hang out on the beach and to basically, have a blast. I didn’t know what travel could offer at the time. Then, once I began traveling, I realized that travel was a much deeper experience, and I connected with certain aspects of my travels that I never could have anticipated. And thus began the growth and the education which of course shaped all of my future travels and changed my focus completely.

      I agree that these days it is MUCH easier to learn the basics before traveling, that’s for certain and a great point to bring up! And of course, we should take advantage of it all, to learn about visas, customs, work opportunities, etc. before we leave and to get a better picture of the reality. In the end though, the best way to figure out if travel is right for us and to learn that our idea of travel might not match the reality, is to just get out there and experience it for ourselves!

      Thanks again for sharing all your thoughts Richard, much appreciated!

  41. Richard September 5, 2014 at 10:02 am - Reply

    You say nothing wrong with that plan….what plan??? He aims to blow 10% of his money in the first 3 weeks in Thailand and then skip over to Australia. We have no idea how old he is, his life experiences to date and his maturity, his knowledge of the current employment opportunities here……….I can assure you that 5000 is NOT enough for 1 year. Depending on his skills, he will have to do farm work, long hot and hard work.

    My advice is get a proper plan. Do some ‘work for your accm and food jobs’, depending on your nationality, get an ESL certificate so you can teach later in Asia, which is where you will go next. Learn to eat off a budget, cut down on alcohol and ciggies (if you smoke).

    Personally I think there are far too many people on here being given the advice of ‘yeah, that sum will be OK, just go with your heart and enjoy the adventure’ whom clearly have not the right perspective to begin with.

    Treat travel like a small business people, plan and prepare, budget and be disciplined, know your strengths and weaknesses, get universally qualified….. Barista quals, Tefol or TESOL, RSL cert, learn to ride a horse, a tractor, get your forklift ticket, your white card…..the list goes on.

    • Wandering Earl September 9, 2014 at 3:50 am - Reply

      Hey Richard – I appreciate your thoughts. As for him having a plan, the thing is, when it comes to travel, our plans rarely are followed exactly as we expect. So, for me, it is far more important to just get out there and get started so that a person can learn the ropes on their own and then figure out what they want to do and how they want to proceed with their travels, or even if travel truly is something they want to pursue. While we don’t know much about him, we also don’t know where his adventure will lead and if he does end up in Australia and he wants to stay in Australia, I’m sure he will become determined to do whatever it takes to stay there.

      If someone leaves home with a few thousand dollars and doesn’t have the right perspective, then they’ll enjoy a couple months of travel and return home. But if they discover that travel is indeed right for them and they figure out a travel style that suits them perfectly, then they will make it a reality no matter how much money they had to begin with.

      While I agree that some planning is a good thing, treating it as a business plan means that you are quite set in your plan. And with travel, if you are set in your initial plan and not completely open to change (even drastic changes), it’s going to be a difficult journey.

      I agree that gaining skills is important and having some qualifications will certainly increase the opportunities out there to continue traveling, that goes without saying. I just also think that it is the confidence in one’s ability to turn travel into a reality that is usually what stops people from attempting to achieve such a goal. So I want people to get out there and see that, if they decide that travel is right for them, they can make it happen instead of staying at home, lacking the necessary confidence and putting it off year after year.

      • Richard September 9, 2014 at 11:17 am - Reply

        The business plan concept was purely meant in respect to the planning of the travel and that alone. Of course the actual traveling experience s should not be so rigid as to he treated in the same way as a business because it would detract from the flexibility and opportunistic value of travel.

        I still think that its very easy to say go enjoy your travel and at the very least you have had two months traveling and then you go back home etc. I think that in this itself would be very depressing to some people. As a lot of your readers comments clearly state, they have little money to begin with, outstanding loans, boring and/or unfulfilling jobs, hence their daydream to travel. I don’t think for one minute that a quick fix 2 months and an ‘oh well didn’t quite work’ outcome will help any of these people on their return to their norms. They theoretically would become even more frustrated, depressed and financially hard shipped than they started with.

        It is these people in particular that do need to plan and prepare way before they depart overseas so that they can fulfill a lengthy period of travel that does allow them time to learn and adapt and to locate what it is their looking for. I simply suggest a better preparation for travel at the outset, similar in analogy to a child having stabilizers on a bike……there only there long enough to protect from initial injury and harm, and in doing so ensure a confidence and security in wanting to carry on with riding the bike long after the stabilizers are removed… which point they may venture and as far as they desire.

        In my world its classed as a duty of care. I rest my case.

  42. Karl Hennan September 3, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply


    I hope all is well, it is great to read everyone’s question and your replies and hearing your very own stories. I am planning on travelling alone to Australia at the beginning of 2016 I am going to go to Thailand before this for roughly 2-3 weeks and in total I believe I will have somewhere in the region of £5500-£6500 hopefully after Thailand I will roughly have £5000 to take with me to Australia I am just wondering whether that will be enough to stay there for 12 months and I will be working there as well.

    Hope to hear from you soon,

    Many thanks,


    • Wandering Earl September 5, 2014 at 3:44 am - Reply

      Hey Karl – That’s hard to say so far in advance and I’m confident that your plans might change between now and 2016 as you learn about new opportunities out there in the world and new destinations. But in general, yes, that should be enough to live in Australia for one year, especially if you are working. So there’s nothing wrong with that plan.

  43. Vince June 22, 2014 at 2:09 am - Reply

    Hey Earl,
    I’m currently in the very early stages of planning my 1-2 year trip around SE asia, I have a rough draft of the route I want to take,(in order) Phillipines – Indonesia – Singapore – Malaysia – Thailand – Cambodia – Vietnam…I have saved up a little more than 15000 USD so far,& originally planned to leave when I reached 25-30 grand USD (which I’ll reach by the end of next year at the rate I’m saving)..but I also have a few grand in school loans to pay off, my question is should I take the bit of extra time to pay off my debt or should I just go for it once I reach my savings goals? ..Thank you

    • Wandering Earl June 24, 2014 at 12:21 am - Reply

      Hey Vince – That’s a personal choice and is tough for me to say. In my case, I decided to defer my loans for a couple of years until I could pay them off…luckily, I ended up working on board cruise ships where I was able to start paying those loans off and still save some money as well. At the same time, you could easily travel around for a year on $15,000, so anything extra could be used for the loans if that’s something you wanted to consider.

  44. Amy-jane May 27, 2014 at 11:13 am - Reply


    Problems of all sorts here,
    I have a long term boyfriend of whom I do love but…..I want to travel and whist travelling I want to be alone and single so that I have no ties and if I choose to do that extra country I can.
    And if I have a few drinks with people I meet….you get the idea…i want freedom to do what I please.
    Also I’ve only got a few quid… But can save up to £2000 (sterling) in 5 months.
    Where do I start, I want to explore everything, and every single country on this planet.
    I want to play with lion cubs and help teach English, but I don’t want to have to fly everywhere, I used to have a motorbike, I think biking would make sense.

    Please help me as to be honest I wouldn’t know where to start with documents and visas and insurance and safe zones.
    In fact the only thing I know how to do is have a good time, explore and stay out of trouble. 🙂 I’m 20 by the way if that helps.

    • Wandering Earl June 2, 2014 at 10:37 am - Reply

      Hey Amy-Jane – I understand and it all may seem quite daunting right now but just remember that we all have to start our travels without knowing much of anything. We learn, bit by bit, how it works, what we need to do, etc. As for where to start, you should just think about every country and choose the one or the region that you absolutely want to visit first. There has to be a place that you are drawn to more than others. If not, then you need to think about why you want to travel. What do you want to gain? What is your purpose? This will often help narrow it down and lead you to a particular destination.

      As for other information, just have a read of this blog and others like it as that’s why they exist, to help others understand how to achieve their own travel goals 🙂

  45. Cyrus May 9, 2014 at 7:13 am - Reply

    hi earl… I m from Ghana but I love to travel abroad. I have no qualification but holding high school certificate but I love to travel abroad and my amount on me is around 7000$.I need advice from u. thank u

  46. Mayur April 23, 2014 at 6:40 am - Reply

    Hi Earl,

    Great post, very good suggestions. I am planning a trip to South America and want to go for 6 months on a budget of £5000 (note pounds sterling). However have read elsewhere that I will need way more than that. I had two friends who said they travelled on that same amount and had no problems. However they went quite a few years back so things were cheaper than. Any Suggestions?



    • Wandering Earl April 23, 2014 at 8:52 am - Reply

      Hey Mayur – It all depends on your travel style as you could travel anywhere for that amount or you could need a lot more. If you don’t travel luxuriously, you’ll be able to manage on that amount for sure.

  47. […] to cover as a casual traveler, there is a place that is often only covered by the most clever of travelers and most commonly, the […]

  48. Alyse March 13, 2014 at 7:53 am - Reply

    I have just read this lovely post but felt I wanted to ask you a little more directly if you do not mind. After booking some initial flights to Bangkok, Singapore, Bali and Australia- (to travel over a four month period in SE Asia and hopefully to work in Australia) I have realized I am only going to have about 2500 pounds to my name- I leave on the 20th May 14 and am constantly worrying about my financial situation! I don’t have qualifications I just feel so worried about the thought of plodding home after only 1 or two months. I have a friend who I can stay with in Australia. Does my situation seem hopeless?
    Regards 🙂

    • Wandering Earl March 13, 2014 at 9:21 am - Reply

      Hey Alyse – I think 2500 pounds for 4 months in SE Asia should be fine. Just keep to your budget, but that’s definitely plenty of money to have a great time over there. Then, once you get to Australia, find some work, reload the bank account and you’ll be all set. It’s definitely not hopeless!

  49. Samuel Thomson March 11, 2014 at 7:18 am - Reply

    Hey Earl!

    Thanks so much for these posts, i have spent all night reading them and they have given me so much more confidence in traveling. for a few years now i have been thinking about becoming a nomad and just flowing like water around the planet enjoying every second of it. I am currently 16 and waiting until i am 18 to claim my kiwi bank money so i can leave new Zealand (Don’t get me wrong NZ is an amazing place but i don’t like the social norms in first world countries).

    But I do still have a question… What about a companion? In most of your posts you mention being with someone. I don’t really have anyone to travel with, do you think that it will still be as easy as you make it sound without one??

    I looking forward to even more great posts :), Thanks so much for making me have hope again.

    • Wandering Earl March 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Hey Samuel – I am actually traveling on my own most of the time. But I suggest reading this post of mine:

      Hopefully that will give you the extra confidence you need to set out on your own!

    • Emily June 4, 2014 at 9:20 am - Reply

      Hi Samuel,

      Don’t know if you’ll see this, but if you do, hello fellow Kiwi!

      Other than the odd family trip to Aussie/Fiji whatever, my first big trip was to Paraguay when I was 16, I didn’t know anyone there and I didn’t speak Spanish. I was lucky enough to have a family found for me that was willing to host me free of charge for 11 months, and after that I was hooked. I returned to NZ for university, but during that time went on study abroad to Spain and Germany for 6 months each, and for the last 10 months I’ve been teaching English in China.

      The hardest part by far is the airfare, and once you’re there things tend to fall into place. Don’t worry about travelling alone either, I actually prefer to travel alone! You open yourself up to so many more opportunities. You may with you had someone to share things with from time to time, but you’ll be able to pick everything up at the drop of a hat and run off on some new adventure whenever you like, without having to consult and compromise with your travel companion. Plus you meet some AMAZING people along the way, I promise!

      Start saving now, and good luck!

      • Samuel Thomson June 7, 2014 at 11:20 pm - Reply

        Thanks so much for that comment that actually helped me so much 🙂

  50. yulie March 2, 2014 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Hey earl, its passed midnight and I’m going through all of your post. They are all inspiring. I’m a mom for a very adorable daughter and a wife for a very understanding hubby. I have spent 2 years reading travel blogs, at first it was because I’m thinking to homeschool my daughter, then it turn into a plan to do travelschooling. And its so true, I thought about it waaay too much. I guess because I somehow afraid to dive in, and take it slow. We started with exporing Indonesia, I have one week break from teaching four times in a year, we always have a great time. But I always second guess myself to become a permenant traveler. I know I can do it, gosh I’m sure of it. But we always ended up broke, and as a mom that scared me the most. I guess I thought as an indonesian, moeslem, mom, wife there were too many variable to think about. Advice?

    • Wandering Earl March 2, 2014 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Hey Yulie – I can certainly understand the hesitation and in the end, it is one of those things where you simply need to weigh your determination versus the risk and try and figure out which one has the upper hand. Perhaps you could start with a small travel stint and not permanent travel, just to test it out and see how things go. This might be a good way to get started, with minimal risk, and to prove to yourself that your goals are indeed possible.

  51. Judy Knight February 24, 2014 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Hi Earl!
    I was searching the internet for ideas on how to change my life and I found you!
    Unlike all the other contributors I am middle aged but I no longer have any ties and am desperate to get away and explore the world before it is too late!
    I have lived and worked in Spain and France on and off over the past few years and my dream is to travel and work my way through Italy although I know that this is going to be more expensive so I was wondering what you think about a lone (older) female travelling further afield or do you think it better that I look for a travelling companion?
    My son has backpacked all over the world and is pretty ‘hardcore’ and he tells me to stick to Europe but I reckon that you are a long time dead and as I am still pretty fit, healthy and adventurous whilst also being sensible, I thought that I might give it a go……..what do you think???
    Best regards,

  52. Jessie February 19, 2014 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    Dear Earl,

    It’s people like you who remind me what it is I’m living for. No big deal, haha, but seriously, thank you. For early 3 years I’ve been working in a toxic corporate culture, in a world where I know I don’t belong. The greatest experiences of my life have been my journeys to Sub-Saharan Africa. I knew, in those fleeting 3 months that it was a travelers life that made me feel alive. Unfortunately, I went to university on government student loans and these past 3 years have been dedicated to repaying my debts. I have been a zombie, doing what is expected of me by society but not feeling any joy. I need another 1.5 years before my debts are eliminated, and longer still to save to be able to travel, but your post has given me hope that I don’t necessarily need to have $20k in my bank account before really living my life the way I want to.

    With so many positive thoughts and thanks to you,


    • Wandering Earl February 20, 2014 at 4:31 am - Reply

      Hey Jessie – It’s great to hear that you’ve made a plan that will lead you to the lifestyle you prefer! And like you said, you need a great deal of money to make it happen. In fact, you could take the next two years to try and create something that will allow you to earn money while on the road so that by the time you’re ready to leave, you don’t have to worry about what you’ll do when your money runs out.

  53. Sidney Wright February 16, 2014 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl,

    I’ve just gotta say that your stories are really motivating me in my travel plans. I was just wondering if you could have a look at my scenario and give me a few suggestions/pointers.

    So I’ll be 18 soon and I really want to travel and work like yourself however like you I also only have a small amount of money to start with. I’m perfectly happy to live on the cheap and work any job with an ok pay while I travel but just one thing stands out as a problem; getting a job abroad. I’ve been over the numbers and while I’ll have enough to get all the documentation sorted and actually get to my destination, I’m worried that I won’t be able to get a job and make money to help fund my living expenses because I lack experience. The closest I’ve had to a job is a paper round and some volunteer work in a charity shop which doesn’t appear to be enough to get me a job in my home country of England (Although we are currently going through a recession). What would you suggest my good man? Should I stay and prepare some more in hopes of getting a job or should I just jump into action and hope for the best?

    • Wandering Earl February 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm - Reply

      Hey Sidney – Thanks for sharing your situation and in the end, it’s hard for me to say which is the best option for you. Let’s put it this way…there are plenty of people out there traveling the world who were in a similar situation and who made it happen. So it’s definitely possible. However, it will take a good amount of determination, networking and creativity to ensure you find some opportunities to earn money while overseas. Of course, it also depends on the country you plan to visit as some are easier (Australia for example with their working holiday visa) than others.

      Should you wait and prepare more before heading out to travel? I would say that if you don’t feel 100% confident in your ability to achieve your travel goals right now, perhaps you should wait a little, make a plan to save more money and then go from there. But if you feel confident that you can get out there and do whatever it takes to make it all happen, then waiting around might not make much sense.

    • Jaden July 19, 2014 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      We are in nearly the same situation. I’m 17, 18 in two months and I started feeling that itch for the first time about three months ago, but damn, I want to leave so badly. I know I’ll do well on my own, I’m a hard worker but I’m also creative and clever. I only have 400usd to my name, so my question is :should I stay the few more months until I turn 18 and save a little more money (which I would loathe to do), or just leave in a few weeks, once I get visas and passports and such figured out (another point I could use some advice on)? I’ve also had two different part Tim jobs for almost a year (blew all the money until I started saving to travel) one which I currently still have. However – I dropped out of highschool a few months ago and I haven’t gotten my GED, and I’m not sure if I plan to. Not only do I not have my license, I can’t even drive. I also have a ‘criminal record’ one possession of marijuana. How much are those things going to impact my chances of finding work?
      Thank you for your inspiring story, and thank think you in advance for you advice.

      • Wandering Earl July 25, 2014 at 10:11 am - Reply

        Hey Jaden – Thanks for commenting and I’ll be honest with you…first, anything is possible. If you’re determined enough, able to get creative and aren’t afraid to network with as many people as you can, you can achieve your travel goals for sure. With that said, it will definitely be much harder to achieve without the GED as many of the most basic jobs you could find to try and earn some money while traveling will at least require a completed high school education. So you’ll be a little limited in terms of which jobs you can find and as a result, the pay you can expect will be lower than with a GED or more. So, that’s the situation…as to what you should do, I can’t answer that question for you. It’s such a personal decision that you simply need to weigh all of the factors involved and make the decision that you think is best for you at this time.

  54. Trey D January 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    I’ve sort of had a plan in my head for a “decade or so of exploring the world”. You see, right now I am a college student using the GI Bill to pursue multiple degrees, and regularly investing in the stock market. The idea is that by the time I have completed college I should have enough in various accounts and assets that I can go through with my plan exploring the world for at least a few years, if not the idealistic decade (maybe even for as long as possible but not my entire life), while managing emergency savings, and trying to live off of a small disability paycheck, and whatever I can flex in my portfolio. What are your thoughts and suggestions?

    • Wandering Earl January 29, 2014 at 9:44 am - Reply

      Hey Trey – All I can really say is that if you are determined to achieve you travel goals, then there really should be nothing to stop you. Your idea is possible, you just need to put in the effort and make it a reality, pushing through any obstacles and always remembering that there are already others out there, from a wide variety of backgrounds, who have already made it happen.

  55. Maushumi Rajbongshi January 22, 2014 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Hi Earl! You have given me hopes again. it is really inspiring. i have been having this really crazy idea of going backpacking around the world but when i look at the figure in my bank account i just say to myself, that “this is impossible unless you win a lottery or somehow find a long lost treasure” but what you have said has given me hopes and now i believe that it might actually be possible 🙂 we have to go out first to know if we can survive, we can’t just assume the temperature of water without dipping our toes in it….this time i will no longer allow my bank account rule my life. Thank you so much for inspiring me 🙂

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:49 am - Reply

      Hey Maushumi – Well said and I’m glad to hear you’ve gained some inspiration! I shall look forward to meeting you out here in the world some day!

  56. Andrew Reyes January 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    What do you recommend as an inexpensive simple to use blog.

  57. Tati December 17, 2013 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Holly crap. Your article gave me chills. I think I’m going to start packing!
    I had just came to this realization of myself; that I have being leaving in the US alone since I’m 15. Turning 30 tomorrow… I have never been without a job. I know that to travel the world on a budget I would have to downgrade a tad but I know how to detach myself from things and people by now. I know America gives you more opportunities than other places in the world but my point is that I know so many people and so many trades.. that must count for something right? Thank you so much for writing this so positively! Instant fan!

    • Wandering Earl December 19, 2013 at 4:03 am - Reply

      Great to read your comment Tati and if you ever have any questions, just let me know!

  58. rose November 18, 2013 at 3:35 am - Reply

    wow amazing im traveling in December the 17th to Thailand too
    im more worried how much it will all cost all up
    money can be a worry

  59. Ankita November 14, 2013 at 4:29 am - Reply

    Hi Earl,

    You have a very inspiring story! I’m from India, and the travel bug bit me during the time I lived in London for two years with my Family when my Dad got a job there. I was 9 years old then and traveling around Europe was a transforming experience. I definitely want to go back and not just there, I want to travel everywhere! In early 2013 I gave up a career in Psychology to follow my dream of traveling the world. I loved psychology but my job wouldn’t let me travel much. You are right. When we are passionate about doing something, we can always find a way out. I started freelance writing in Mental health, Well being and Relationship niches so that I can travel and work from any corner of the world. It hasn’t made me rich over night, but everyday I feel a little closer to my goal of going for a solo trip abroad.
    I agree that not having enough money is a good thing at times, because we need some sort of a driving force to push us. I have had days when I feel to lazy to write or do any work because I know, it wouldn’t make a huge difference if I postpone it to tomorrow, or day after, sometimes to even a week. However, when we are out on the road, we know it at the back of our mind that if we don’t work and have no money, then there are a number of things to worry about, like paying for accommodation, food, flight etc.
    More people should read your story. There so much to learn from each of your posts.

    Cheers! 🙂

    • Wandering Earl November 15, 2013 at 3:43 am - Reply

      Thanks Ankita and it’s great to have you as a reader of the site! And I look forward to seeing where you end up traveling 🙂

  60. Dan November 5, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    I couldnt help but laugh a little when I read this. My flight leaves to Bangkok on Dec. 17th 2013. I just checked my account, and I have $1,669.37 in it. I have to live off $170.00 for the next month, so I will have 1500 when I leave. I am still a little worried about it, but not so much. I have friends in Laos that own a bar I can work at, and a TEOSFL cert. I think I’ll be ok, but your entry gave me a little more hope! ( btw, it is a one way ticket, so I guess I will have to make it work, huh?)

    • Wandering Earl November 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      Hey Dan – That’s too funny…definitely let us know how it goes over there!

  61. KansasSue November 4, 2013 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Earl, I love your website and your wit. You are a blessing to us stuck-in-the-grind types. Actually I was laid off from my 9-5 job last spring so have been living and traveling in my RV since then. I have opportunities for work so have an income of sorts though the savings account is being drained by expenses. I have two choices, continue to struggle along enjoying what free time I can muster for another year until Social Security adds to the mix or I can jump ship, so to speak. I am taking your inspiration to give me the courage to fly to far-away destinations and enjoy my life to the fullest. That is not to say I haven’t enjoyed hanging on the beach and lazing away in my RV, but there is something to be said for the roar of jet engines and the sway of the big ships!

    • Wandering Earl November 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      Hey Sue – Enjoying life to fullest sounds good to me…let us know where you end up on your adventure!

  62. Gemma Scully November 2, 2013 at 1:57 am - Reply

    This is such an amazing story. I am currently living in Asia as an ESL Teacher for young kids. I packed up my job and just moved out here with not much saved just to change my life. It is tough at first but it definitely adds to the experience of travelling and being independant. As you stated you started private teaching lessons I am interested in doing the same. Do you have any advice on this topic? How did you know what to teach? It is a lot different where I work as I am given a curriculum to follow. Any advice would be great 🙂

  63. Robert Cooke October 27, 2013 at 3:16 am - Reply

    The example you use is interesting to me as it’s almost exactly to the cent and time what happened to me. I left home with approx $20,000 went to Asia and spent 2 years there before funds almost ran out.
    That was just over a year ago and now I found myself in Australia working and saving with the goal of hitting New Zealand but much more importantly to me South America. I have chosen an arbitrary round number to aim for of $15000 (Perhaps you can tell me how far I can get around central and south america with that!) which I’m confident of hitting.

    I agree with you in the sense of having little money forces you to think more and perhaps be more opportunistic but I’m not sure if I’d say having $1500 is better. I think it depends on your mindset. I left home with no plan or timeframe and just developed the urge to keep going for now. I wouldn’t and didn’t leave with 1500 but I did with 20k and that decision has thus far let me coming to the same mindset as you to a certain extent.

    I guess for me the interesting thing will be in the Americas when I start to run low and don’t have easy access to a work visa in a high paying country like Australia how I will cope. But figure I’ll worry about that more as that time comes.

    Cool article though. People, who know me from home and not really travelers, constantly asking how I can go for 3 years. I may just send a copy of this blog post and be like there you go 🙂

  64. Richard Eaton October 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Very interesting read Earl. I find myself as already pretty well travelled albeit mainly holidays and my time in the British Army. All up about 35 countries. I emigrated to Australia in 2006 and got my Aussie citizenship in 2009 due to my job at the time. Anyway, my luck ran out over the past few years, ruined marriage, bankruptcy and thanks to a brain tumor I’m now also deaf in my left ear. So at 43 and currently in Cairns, QLD I’m thinking stay a year (its pretty nice here) save $25,000, finish off my personal fitness training qualifications and go. I’m thinking of Thailand and doing some teaching there. I have a business degree from 99 and already taught kids in Guangzhou back in 2011 (just prior to having that fateful MRI scan). I’m fortunate in the sense that due to my previous work history I have a substantial amount of super to claim when I’m 65, so all I constantly think about doing til then is surviving. When I say surviving, I mean in my ‘Columbus Mode’. Treat the world as though the next turn of a corner could lead to an untimely death or on a more positive note, the finding of a new world (or adventure beit geographic or social in nature). The fact that I have both UK and Aussie passports must be a huge advantage for me, especially with working around Europe.

    My question to you Earl, after all that waffle is, do you think that I have left it too late in many respects, those being most obviously my age and my new disability, which incidently is not really noticeable unless I’m in very crowded rooms etc. I would of course aim to teach smaller groups, plus do some personal training. I know that you will probably say that age is not an issue, but I’m thinking more in relation to cruise ship work.

    • Wandering Earl October 30, 2013 at 7:12 am - Reply

      Hey Richard – I don’t think it’s too late at all as I’ve met people of all ages teaching all kinds of things on the road, in various countries around the world. If you feel you have what it takes to teach, then I say go for it and give it a try. In the end it will come down to determination, not age, in terms of whether or not you can make it happen 🙂

  65. claire jones October 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    i would love to do this! good luck to you all on your travels!!!

  66. Kyle October 5, 2013 at 1:16 am - Reply

    Hello, I am planning on traveling at the end for the year to Australia for 6 weeks, but my real plan is to travel for at least 3 years in 3 years, im gonna get married then im just gonna quit my job and go traveling in south east asia and mabey over to europe, when you do your traveling you dont necessarily need a traveling visa to work do you?

    Thanks Kyle

    • Wandering Earl October 5, 2013 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      Hey Kyle – I’m not quite sure what you’re asking. You need a travel visa to travel to a different country so if you go to Australia, you need to apply online for the visa before you go there. If you work, you need a work permit in most places but you can usually only receive one if you are hired for a specific job. For Australia, you can apply for a working holiday visa before you travel there which allows you to stay for up to one year and work as well.

  67. Robert September 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    This article has made me want to travel even more. My budget to travel now will only be around £2000 by the end of next year (shit job) and thats for flights too but this makes me not care. My dream is your life of travelling, even applying ships. desperado!!! loving the blog mate.

    • Wandering Earl October 4, 2013 at 6:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Robert! And if you’re truly dedicated to your goal of travel, once you get started you’ll find some ways to keep it going!

  68. Jonas Gade September 18, 2013 at 6:40 am - Reply

    Earl! I am now sitting outside watching the sun go down, sipping on a coke on the Island of Koh Samui :). All thanks to you and your wonderful blog! Wouldn’t it be because of your optimistic GREAT articles this might not have come to be for me.


    Jonas Gade 😉

    • Wandering Earl September 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      Hey Jonas – That’s awesome to hear and even I’m jealous!! Enjoy your time out there and I’m thrilled that you’ve achieved your goal of getting out there!

  69. 6-Month Round the World Travel Budget September 3, 2013 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    […] are some pretty wild and crazy stories out there on how to travel the world for next to nothing. Of course, my opinion […]

  70. Debz1990 August 30, 2013 at 6:39 am - Reply

    Hi Earl,

    Just been reading your blog, I’m a 23 year old qualified adult nurse who can’t sit still. I’m from Ireland, but living in London at the moment. I’ve already done a good bit of travelling, I’ve done the whole spain/portugal/canary islands thing, I’ve seen parts of greece, I’ve been to Florida twice, scotland twice, wales once and I’ve gone interrailling..seeing Krakow, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Bruge and Paris. I’ve also been to Ghana twice on volunteering holidays of a month at a time. But I still have the travelling bug I feel like I’ve barely seen anywhere! Being a nurse, and living in London I have very little savings at the moment £500, my plan is to head over to Ghana next February 2014, I should have 2000 saved, after flights and being there for a month I’ll make out with about 500 quid. I really want to continue travelling from there though with my 500 quid…not alot… I’m currently doing a Tefl english course so I’ll have that by then.

    The places I’d love to see are Nairobi (kenya), India, China, Japan, Thailand, Bali, Oz, NZ, and if at all possible hit brazil, and then do a drive through america ending up in Canada where I fly home… I can potentially earn an extra £1000 before then but that’s it. Do you think I’m being too ambitious? It sounded impossible to me but after reading all these blogs I don’t know maybe there’s a chance?

    Please reply I could really use your advice!

    • Wandering Earl September 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Hey Deb – To be honest, I wouldn’t try and plan so much at all. Your goal should just be to get started, to make it to your first destination. You never know what will happen once your travels begin, who you’ll meet, what kind of opportunities will arise, where you really end up wanting to go…and believe me, your adventure won’t look anything like what you think it might look like now. So just get to Ghana if that’s where you want to start and don’t worry about every region of the world quite yet 🙂

  71. Maguire August 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    I’m a defense contractor in the Middle East and have already sold everything back home. My house, car and all my possessions (I’m embracing minimalism) and I’m now struggling with the decision to either complete another contract year and put away roughly $180k cash on top of my current savings which would probably let me travel the world with my backpack for the rest of my life. Or to complete my current contract and take off in May with roughly $80k in the bank. It’s safe to say I don’t enjoy my job anymore, I don’t like living in a barbed wire camp for months on end with no mental or emotional stimulation and I just want to start a new life. I’ve traveled enough to know this is what I want to do. But from a common sense point of view would it be smarter to sacrifice one more year for a lifetime of security? Thoughts?

    • Wandering Earl August 12, 2013 at 3:59 am - Reply

      Hey Maguire – There’s really no one answer to that kind of situation. If you really want to travel right now, you could do so on $80k for a long time and if you need to earn money at some point, there are plenty of opportunities out there. I guess it just depends on how badly you want to travel versus how secure you would feel with the $180K instead of $80K. I’m sure one of those options feels much ‘better’ to you and so that’s the one that you should choose!

  72. Jessica August 4, 2013 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl!
    I’m dying to just leave to travel, my only concern is safety. As a young women all I hear about is how unsafe it is and I wont get far before misfortune will fall in my path. I would like to travel with someone but I have no one to travel with that would just wake up and see what the day brings and where we end up, I feel like it would hold me back. Do you think that it is a bad idea for me to travel alone?

  73. Chris Sabo July 28, 2013 at 3:42 am - Reply

    Hey Earl,
    Thanks for posting and keeping the thread alive for so long. I wonder what you would say if I told you I was 44, in good health and will have an annual income of about $60,000 in retirement starting next year. I am sure you will say what have I been waiting for?? That is an excellent question but now that I am ready to go and scratch my travel for life itch I am wondering what type of lifestyle would you live on that type of steady income. Please advise and thank you in advance for your response.

    • Wandering Earl July 28, 2013 at 7:18 am - Reply

      Hey Chris – It really depends on your travel style and if you prefer to move around a lot or to just live overseas in one place, or maybe in a place for a few months before moving on to the next one. There are so many factors involved that make it difficult for me to say what kind of lifestyle you could live on that money. With that said, unless you are looking for a luxury, or maybe just a higher-end, lifestyle, you should be fine in most parts of the world.

  74. Raunak July 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl! great’s amazing how you inspire main issue is that I’m from one of those dirt cheap countries (India!) so for someone like me 1000 USD a month does sound a little on the high side..If I did get started on the road of long term travel, how exactly would being from India affect my finances?

    • Wandering Earl July 10, 2013 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      Hey Raunak – That’s a good question and unfortunately, the situation does change somewhat depending on where you’re from. It’s obviously harder to make that kind of money in some parts of the world. But at the same time, I know several Indians who have gone to the Middle East to work or who have worked on board cruise ships and managed to save up some good money. A good friend of mine from Kolkata worked on ships for 5 years and used that experience to land a very nice job in the travel industry in Singapore, where he now lives. So there are definitely possibilities!

  75. Steve June 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Did the $1500 include your plane tickets too?

    • Wandering Earl June 28, 2013 at 4:32 am - Reply

      Hey Steve – No, the $1500 was what I had saved for the actual 3 months there. I remember getting a dirt cheap flight to Bangkok though on China Airlines via Taiwan!

  76. arnab roy June 24, 2013 at 7:58 am - Reply

    Hi! it was truly inspiring to read this. I am 38 yrs old and along with my wife want to lead a travel life, however our biggest issue is that we have 2 kids ages 6 and 8. So they have schools and all other stuff related to this to be taken care of… any idea how to manage that.
    Thanks… and all i can say is keep moving on 🙂

  77. Allie June 20, 2013 at 2:11 am - Reply

    I’m Allie, I’m sixteen years old, and I’m planning to travel once I have a degree. I’m mainly focusing on how to get out of college debt free (I figured out that simply not being squeamish can get me pretty high paying jobs as a student) and after that I plan to set out solo (unless someone wants to tag along) with $5000. I’ve decided this number because I always want to have enough money for emergencies, though I hope not to use most of it. I’m very creative and hope it works in my favor when it comes to income. Thanks to the internet I can research all this sort of stuff out in detail.
    Little thing I forgot to warn my friend when she went to Italy: Don’t plug in your hair dryer without a converter. She almost set her hair on fire.
    Why do I know that? Blogs like this:D

  78. Jen Cordaro May 14, 2013 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Amanda! I started traveling internationally at 20 alone and about have since covered 20-some-odd countries. I just turned 30 last Sunday and its time for me to renew my passport. As a solo-traveler I’ve never had any problems with safety and actually have found that I feel safer outside of the US than inside. Feel free to email me if you want to chat about solo female stuff. [email protected]

  79. Patrick May 9, 2013 at 10:48 am - Reply

    So I found out the place I want to travel well not exactly the place. But I want to travel to Ireland. For many personal reasons. But I am looking for a place that is very secluded, that has miles of vast open land. Earl…Can you recommend me to any places.

  80. Lauren Ryan May 7, 2013 at 8:55 am - Reply

    I would like to sincerely thank you for putting your adventures on here for all of us to see. I am 17 from Sydney, Australia currently not in school and I have been in awe of a life that involves waking up everyday not knowing what i’m going to do, who i’m going to meet or what i’m going to learn. I have always thought that a life like this is only achievable after I eventually got a full time job after my studies in a few years, moved out of my parents home and was comfortable financially well on my career path. You have helped me to realize that my priorities are not true to my heart and that a life that makes me happy every, single day is much more fulfilling than a life that is focused on working towards goals that I am only doing in the first place because ‘that’s just what you do’.
    It’s because of you that I am well on my way to making my dreams a reality.

    • Wandering Earl May 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      Hey Lauren – That’s so wonderful to hear and I certainly look forward to seeing where your adventure leads!

  81. Brandon April 23, 2013 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this post! this is truely inspiring and exactly what I was looking for! A bit of comfort from some seasoned nomads! I am 27 and saving for a world tour. I have friends that have gone to asia to teach and that sounds like an amazing idea to me!

  82. Hal April 19, 2013 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Any long or short term traveller should listen to Earl.
    Recently, I went on a three month backpacking journey across the States with $46, a bicycle, and basic camping equipment. The lack of money forced me to go out of my comfort zone and camp, sleep and find oddjobs to keep funding my journey.

  83. Teryn_It_Up1 April 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    Wandering Earl,
    I have recently hit the corporate glass ceiling at the age of 26. I thought I was meant to be in a business suit, tending to customers, answering my cell phone with “Hello. This is Teryn.”, only to wake up and realize how much I hate what I do. I have always had the travel bug, but given only 2 weeks of vacation time a year my trips have been limited. Lebanon one summer, Mexico another, Austria for the winter… most recently a trip to Turks & Caicos is coming up in May. I have set a date to quit my job, and start roaming the globe with all intentions of giving back to the community in where I lay my head at night. The problem with charitable work is that it is usually volunteer based and no $$ to help feed my stomach. You mentioned in your blog you taught English, but what would you recommend other than that? I plan on starting my adventures in the United States. Do you know of any websites that hire for the day/week/month? My goal is to work during the week and volunteer on the weekend while blogging and capturing all the beautiful moments. If you can’t think of any part time work, can you offer up some hidden gems in the states? I’d love to start my adventure soon! Your blog has been very inspirational. Thank you kindly!

    • Wandering Earl April 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      Hey Teryn – You could look at websites such as and where you’ll find some interesting opportunities. Most are volunteer in exchange for room and board but some are paid as well. Apart from that, I don’t know many US-specific opportunities as I don’t spend much time here, usually overseas instead.

      But in general, if you want to learn more about how to get started with this lifestyle, you might be interested in reading my popular guide – How to Live a Life of Travel.

  84. Patrick McGrath April 4, 2013 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Hello, My names Patrick. I have just turned 20 and with no direction in my life, I find it difficult to know who I really am. I graduated high school, and tried college but, in the end it just wasn’t for me. I have always dreamed of traveling to a far off place to find myself perhaps, or just to experience life to its fullest. I work two jobs, slowly, but surely saving up money to finally “escape.” I feel as if the United States is not all it’s cracked up to be, the whole freedom and what not. I want to explore the world, and share my adventures with others. But I feel like if I do leave, I’ll just end up screwing myself over and having nothing anyways. So I’m here to ask. Is it worth it? Is the world out there as beautiful as everyone says. Or am I just chasing a dream that I shouldn’t be?

    • Wandering Earl April 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      Hey Patrick – All I can say is that travel isn’t for everyone but if you feel deeply inside that you want to get out there and experience all that this world does have to offer, then you certainly don’t want to miss out on achieving those goals. As for screwing yourself over by traveling….just think of it this way. What’s the worst that can happen? You travel to some amazing places, meet some amazing people and spend all your money. And then you have to go home (if you can’t find work overseas) and get a job. Nothing terrible about that option.

  85. Anthony Perez April 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Well said. Im so happy i have come across this post. I have been nail biting about this every single day for the past 2 years to just travel. I am miserable in SC and miserable with this boring daily routine. I moved here last year and a year later still no friends, still not happy and still wanting to travel. One day I say just have patience stick it through and another i just want to leave everything behind me and travel. Part of me wants to just risk leave one way ticket and let my imagination be my investment then the other part says chill out build a nice saving then go travel. Just last may ive gotten a stable 40h full time job and just this past Dec i got a second savings job for when i am ready to travel. I want to backpack Central and South America and spend some time in Brazil! I would surf couches and stay at hostels and I’ve begun to see that teaching English abroad is the best way to make money for necessities and use my chunk for emergency. Let me know your thoughts my friends. Happy Travels

  86. Gunmother April 1, 2013 at 6:13 am - Reply

    i have always dreamt of traveling across the world.but the major disadvantage is i am from Nepal and getting visas would be very difficult.i am studying in australia now and in a couple of years i would get an aussie passport.the day i get my aussie passport i will be off.i have saved around 50000 aussie dollars i hope to save another 25-30 grand in the next 2 long do u think i can keep travelling with 70000 i will be cycling so tht should save my transportation costs.i am 23 now and believe me there is not a single night i dont think about travelling..u guys are so lucky to be born in a developed country.

    • Wandering Earl April 3, 2013 at 5:36 pm - Reply

      @Gunmother – It all depends on where you go and what your travel style will be. But in general, you could travel for around $15,000 per year so $70,000 would give you almost 5 years!

  87. Kimmy @ AfterGlobe March 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    This is so good to read. My husband and I are in the process of paying off our debt to be able to go travel for a few years. It’s so hard to have such a strong desire to leave not, but not have the funds to. I keep kicking around exactly how much we really need to save once the debt is paid off. After reading this, I’m thinking we may not need to save as much as I was first thing we would.

  88. dee March 23, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

    I so want to do what you do. I have dreams about it. Living by the beach, hiking up mountains, Waking up a 5am or sleeping all day. No 9 to 5 for me, Everyday is a totally different day…… I wish

  89. Andrew March 22, 2013 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Hey, I am sorry if someone posted a similar post. Basically, I am a 21 year old college student. I should have my associates by the end of the fall semester. I am a photographer at heart and I am picking up writing as another passion. I was advised to travel for a semester before attending a university. This person is the career adviser at my college BTW. He said that I may not even find that a university is my thing and that I am probably destined to be an artist and travel.

    Anyway, I would love to travel throughout Europe. I hardly ever leave Texas and when I do it is Oklahoma!!! I dream of traveling all around the world, not just Europe, all day. Heck, that is why I am slacking behind because I can’t stop thinking of traveling.

    My question is how should I. I am on Financial Aid BTW so I have to be enrolled in school or in 6 months I would have to begin to pay. If I choose to travel what do you suggest I do too
    A) Support Myself;
    B) Pay off my loan.

    I know I said I am a photographer and I beginning to write and I would love to take photos of things one moment and sell them at galleries then the next go to a remote location as a photojournalist and send my work into a national magazine like “Time” or “National Geographic”. But I have no idea how to get my foot in the door.

    I would love to here your input!!

    • Wandering Earl March 27, 2013 at 10:21 am - Reply

      Hey Andrew – That’s great that you want to you travel! As for advice, the thing is, there are millions of ways to earn money and support your adventures and it’s not possible for me to know which ones would be best for you. So the best thing you can do is to look online, read other travel blogs and learn exactly how other people are doing it so that you can start getting some ideas in your head. For me, I’ve used a combination of teaching English, working on board cruise ship and now blogging in order to travel but again, everyone has a different skill set/experience.

      The good news is that there are ways to earn good money – cruise ships, teaching English are just two of them – that allow you to save enough to pay off your loans as well. Another option is a working holiday visa to Australia or New Zealand, which allows you to spend 1 year working and living in those countries…not a bad option at all!

  90. […] on this site, the amount of money you do need isn’t nearly as large as most people imagine (How Much Money Do You Need to Start a Life of Travel), but you still need a little cashola in order to achieve your travel […]

  91. John March 1, 2013 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Hey earl!

    Loved what I’ve been reading so far. I’m a bartender in the US and was wondering what a bartender gets paid per month in parts of Asia?

    • Wandering Earl March 3, 2013 at 12:09 am - Reply

      Hey John – That’s hard to say, not only because I’ve never bartended in Asia but also because every country is different. Usually, though, as a foreigner, you would have to find cash in hand work so the pay would be on the low side, especially considering that most of Asia consists of developing countries where wages are obviously significantly lower overall.

  92. Melissa February 18, 2013 at 12:11 am - Reply

    I’m a college student looking to take some time off from school to travel but get discouraged when I read about how people save “x” amount of money and I think to myself, “there’s no way I can save that much right now.” Even if I tried it would take me forever! Reading this gave me hope that I can I start off my travels with very little money. I’m not afraid to work and to be honest, I think it’ll make my travels even more exciting. Thank you!

    • Wandering Earl February 18, 2013 at 1:58 pm - Reply

      Hey Melissa – I’m very happy to hear that and if you ever have any questions, just send me an email and I’d be more than happy to assist!

  93. Craig January 8, 2013 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Hi I’m Craig, me and my best mate are looking to travel asia, but we are also going to look into finding work whilt we are there! I’m looking to save about £2000 to start me off. Is that enough as I’m going to look for work anyway? Plus I’m not sure how much flights will be and travelling from place to place. I’m looking to go Thailand – Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia etc. Me and my friend are both good with budgeting especially as we don’t smoke, drink and both not really into going out and getting wasted and partying all the time! Just want to site see! I’m hoping I can pay for visa and flights fairly soon then save for spending money after! What do you think? I worried that £2000 won’t be enough!

    • Wandering Earl January 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm - Reply

      Hey Craig – It all depends on your travel style but 2000 GBP should last quite a while in that part of the world if you stick to budget hotels and cheaper restaurants. You should be able to manage a few months or more of traveling from with that amount!

  94. Alayna January 4, 2013 at 1:13 am - Reply

    Reading your blog makes me itch…. itch for a life filled with adventure and travel! Haha. This post in particular is so encouraging and inspiring. I wonder though, how would you recommend budgeting in student loans and the sort?

    • Wandering Earl January 5, 2013 at 12:32 am - Reply

      Hey Alayna – The way I look at it is that there is no reason why you can’t earn money overseas and pay off your loans just as you would if you got a job back home. From working on board cruise ships to getting a working holiday visa for Australia or New Zealand to being an au pair or teaching English in Asia…there are opportunities that will allow you to do both. And while the salary might not be as much as if you got a job back home, the cost of living in many of these places will be far less (almost no expenses on a cruise ship / cheap living in Asia / etc.), allowing you to virtually pay off the same amount each month.

      Hope that helps!

  95. Dayna November 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl I’m Dayna Im 19 years old living in Florida and I just happened to stumble upon this page. I’m not the typical girl I am very open minded and I would say I have a free spirit. It’s always been my dream to travel the world, to see new things, to experience new cultures, and meet new people and photograph everything I experience, and it may take me just a couple of years but I want to travel the world because there deffinately has to be more than the typical life of an American….. But what I want to ask you is how do you get started?? Not only financially but also when you get there. What was the first thing you did when you stepped foot in Asia?? As far as having a place to stay when you get there and exploring the new surroundings and getting involved in activities.

    • Dayna November 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Also how did you deal with the language barriers??

      • Wandering Earl November 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm - Reply

        Hey Dayna – These days, English is spoken in almost every corner of the world. That, combined with learning a little bit of the local language, is all you’ll need to survive in just about any country you visit.

    • Wandering Earl November 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      Hey Dayna – When I arrived in Asia, I simply walked outside and let the adventure unfold. I did a little research ahead of time so I knew some of the things I wanted to see and that was it. That is still my favorite style of travel…to wake up, walk outside my hotel and just see what happens and who I meet 🙂

  96. Davita September 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl,

    I’ve just come across your site and specifically this article. As a huge traveler, I’m surprised I haven’t come across it sooner. I am only 24, but I sort of feel as if I missed my chance to do a RTW trip due to my career in the fashion industry. At this point though, I find myself sort of unenthused about my career and would be okay with letting it go to the wayside for the sake of traveling. The only problem is, I have a dog. She is obviously a huge part of my life and I would not want to leave her. From your experience, do you know of anyone who has found a way to travel consistently with their pet? My only thoughts on the matter so far is that as opposed to backpacking, I would have to keep moving to places long term because of my dog. Any thoughts on the matter or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:56 am - Reply

      Hey Davita – I have met travelers who move around with their dogs, but the majority do tend to spend longer periods of time in each place. They go to one city for 6 months, then to another and so on. I’m sure it’s possible to travel more often with a pet but it will take more planning as you would need to find accommodation that accepts pets, as well as figure out transportation as well. Everything is possible but this would require a little more research!

      You might find some useful information here:

  97. Alan September 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Hi earl, im off on a 2 month trip to thailand in a month or so, im getting itchy about only being away for that amount of time, i figure why not stay longer and travel se asia. Seriously considering just stopping there and then going to australia on a 1 year working visa.. There are also 2 of my best friends doing the above, i am worried if idont go ill miss an oppertunerty of a lifetime… But if i do go ill be giving up a good job and comfortable lifestyle.. To go or not to go?!

    • Earl September 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm - Reply

      Hey Alan – Just look at it this way. Which will you regret more – having traveled or having not traveled? And then, there’s your answer!

  98. […] it’s true that I’ve already written plenty of posts on the matter, clearly all of these posts, even as one collective entity, still fall well short of […]

  99. Emily July 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    I’m 24 and I was bit by that darned travel bug when I studied abroad in Australia about 4 years ago. Ever since then all I’ve wanted to do is travel again. Well I graduated college and eventually found a job in the field that I dreamed of being in (I’m a sea lion trainer) and while I do love it, I know there’s more out there. The job will always be there. I’m part time there right now, and between that job and another PT gig, I make about 16-17,000 a year. Brutal right? But I’ve set a date of August 2014 (after I’m MOH in my best friend’s wedding) anyway and that means my only goal is to save up as much money as possible between now and then. I’m starting in Asia, so that will be cheaper anyway, but then I’ve worked in two working holidays into my RTW travels! After about 6 months or so in Asia, I plan to move to Australia for a year with a working visa, make some money (while of course traveling), and then moving to NZ for a year and doing the same! Working visas are a great way to live abroad, travel, and make money at the same time (so long as you’re 30 years old or younger). Plus, being a professional animal trainer, I figure maybe my animal husbandry and training skills may come in handy during my travels :).

    • Earl July 19, 2012 at 11:04 am - Reply

      Hey Emaily – Thanks for sharing your story and 2014 isn’t too far away! You’ll be on the road before you know it and enjoying all that the world has to offer 🙂

      And working visas are excellent, especially those in Australia and NZ. Quite easy to obtain and plenty of opportunities to find employment once you arrive. Good luck with your planning and if you ever have any questions, just let me know!

      • jd September 24, 2012 at 11:42 pm - Reply

        im curious, why do you say “so long as you’re 30 years old or younger?” im 33 and planning to quit my job due to burn out and not sure what to do. will have a decent amount of $$ in the bank and am on vacation for the month of october and will be in mexico for 2 weeks. i really hope to find another job to come back to or possibly just keep on travelling. and i wonder why that comment was made.

        • jd September 24, 2012 at 11:44 pm - Reply

          im sorry, maybe you can answer that Earl? I assume Emily may not get back on here and see my question. thanks 🙂

          • Earl September 25, 2012 at 7:06 am

            Hey JD – The reason that comment was made is because the countries that offer ‘working holiday visas’ only offer them to foreigners who are 30 years old and younger. Once you’re over 30, these temporary work visas (ie for Australia or New Zealand) are not available any more, so you have to work a little harder to find an actual company overseas that will hire you and then sponsor your visa.

  100. ashwin July 6, 2012 at 6:10 am - Reply

    I am Ashwin,from India. A very inspiring blog. And I came across this just when I neede it . I have been in dilemma since the last few weeks whether to go for an international tour or not(India does have a lot of places to explore).
    Finally I have decided to go for the cheaper countries(say Egypt, or the middle east or Turkey). And it seems one does need a LOT of money to travel,a few intelligent choices and you could do your trip in any kind of budget.
    Ofcourse I cant afford to go to South America or to Mongolia as of now, but I could still get a good experience by choosing some other country.
    And it’s even tougher for people from middle or lower income countries, we might be “rich” here, but we are at a currency disadvantage outside our country.

  101. Anja July 2, 2012 at 2:24 am - Reply


    Inspiring article, I would like to travel myself and explore the world. However, even that it may be easier to travel alone – I would like a companion. Anyone that would be interested?

  102. Connor June 24, 2012 at 2:56 am - Reply

    Hey Earl,
    I am 18 and i graduated school in 2011 thinking that i was supposed to be leaving for the army but then got disqualified for stupid reasons, so not being enrolled in college…..i kept up with my cooking job at my local country club and lately i have been thinking about traveling the world like you did but i dont know where to start.. i only have $600 to my name other than my car (worth $6000)
    I kind of need guidance on where to start with this kind of lifstyle before i sell all of my things, quit my job and start traveling
    I guess what im trying to say is, Do you think i am to young to start traveling the world as a “nomad” or should i wait longer???

    • Earl June 24, 2012 at 8:41 am - Reply

      Hey Connor – I don’t think there’s anything such as being ‘too young’. It all depends on you. If you feel ready to get out there, then you’re ready. If you feel like you need some more time, then maybe you should wait. However, the key is to make sure you don’t end up waiting too long and eventually getting caught in a lifestyle that doesn’t allow you to achieve your travel goals. So if you really want to explore this world, you just need to head off as soon as the urge becomes so strong that you can’t think of doing anything else!

      Also, I’m not sure if you’ve seen already but you might want to check out this new guide I wrote: How to Live a Life of Travel

      It may help you out quite a bit!

    • Cindy July 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm - Reply

      Connor, my sister finished school at 17 and saved up for a few months working, she then went to Germany and ‘au paired’ for 8 months, travelling in between times (for example she had her 18th birthday in London, as she met up with a friend who was living with family over there) and then she proceeded to spend the next couple of months travelling about Europe. Last year when she was 19, she and 2 friends travelled Western Europe and Morocco for 3 months with about NZ$3000 – she says they lived off of people’s kindness and canned corn haha.
      Well, my point is, I think you’re of a fine age to travel as long as you want it. You don’t necessarily need many dollars or years to your name, just a friendly attitude.

      I hope you do see this, and I hope it helps/inspires in some way.
      -Cindy (I’m 17)

  103. Michael horta May 4, 2012 at 2:55 am - Reply

    Hey Earl
    When I left the service I followed my dream. Fed my travel bug. I bought a motorcycle with the money I had from the service and hit the road in England. I Started with 3800 dollars in my pocket and never looked back. I worked in any job I could get from bartender to bouncer, carpenter, photographer, roofer, drafts person, the easiest to get were bouncer or bartender. Everyone wanted to hear stories from the states or green beret war stories. Sometimes it got dangerous but most times it was an awesome experience. I wish everyone did it. I hit Europe, Asia, Africa and south America. You are so right in adventures helping you make money. Keep inspiring others. You are very cool.

    • Earl May 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks Michael! And that’s the thing, there are always jobs available for those who really want to make travel a reality. Glad to hear it worked out so well for you!

  104. shauna April 24, 2012 at 4:11 am - Reply

    awesome story! just what i am thinking of doing.. i am 22 and live at home with my family but would love to pack up and travel without a return date.. such a big scary move!!!

    • Earl April 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm - Reply

      Hey Shauna – It is a scary move indeed but just think that almost nobody who makes the move ever regrets that decision! And there’s a reason for that…once you get out into the world, things start to fall into place and you realize that you do have opportunities to turn travel into a lifestyle.

  105. Vicky April 22, 2012 at 7:24 am - Reply

    Just read your namchung (think that’s right) hotel blog and it made me cry, beautiful 🙂 I’m so inspired by your site and your life. Thank you once more!

  106. Vicky April 22, 2012 at 6:50 am - Reply

    Hi Earl, these messages are such an inspiration! I am 33 and have been wanting to travel since I can remember! I am English and have been in educational since the age of five, I became a lecturer of Drama since leaving Uni! I wish I could go right now as I’m so desperate to explore our beautiful planet. I started a part time 2nd degree in Creative Writing 3 years ago and still have another 3 years to go 🙁 I love it but cannot wait to achieve my degree so I can leave rainy England, hopefully for a very long time. You have made me feel very assured that it is easy to teach English so thank you and thank you for being so inspirational 🙂

    • Earl April 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      Hey Vicky – You should have no problem at all finding jobs teaching English. Just go to a website such as and you’ll see just how many opportunities are out there all over the world! And before you know it your degree will be finished and one of those opportunities will be yours 🙂

  107. Matt March 21, 2012 at 12:02 am - Reply

    Hey Earl,

    I’m 24 and I think it’s my time to explore! I’ve been chasing what it is I want to do with my life ever since I graduated high school, spending thousands of dollars on school and not never being ale to come to a conclusion. Just recently it dawned on me that even if I had found something I’d be stuck in the ” Rat Race” that so many people in Americans conceptually attach to. My goal is to save up around 5 to 10 thousand dollars and begin my travels next January, but like yourself I would like to be employed in whatever countries I decide to travel. So I would just like to ask, where do I start when planning this journey? Is it possible to set up employment before arriving? Could you suggest what country to start and what path from country to country?



    • Earl March 21, 2012 at 11:32 am - Reply

      Hey Matt – Those are tough questions to answer as every single person is different. When it comes to choosing a country/region to start in, you should choose the region of the world that you are most interested in exploring. You definitely want to make sure you are excited about wherever it is you are headed!

      In terms of employment, unless you’re looking for official work with an NGO or with a multi-national company, chances are you won’t be able to line anything up before you arrive. However, that’s not a big deal because you certainly don’t want to sign a contract for a job before ever visiting the country. There is always the chance that you arrive and decide that you don’t like the place and want to move on. So it’s much better to start traveling and then look for work whenever you find a city or town that you want to stay in for a while.

      But again, I would start off by concentrating on the part of the world that you really want to visit more than any other!

  108. Kim March 2, 2012 at 3:41 am - Reply

    Hi Earl! I love your blog and have been pouring over nearly every post in it hoping to be able to do what you do; particularly how to fund my travels. Even though I’ve traveled quite a bit on my own, the tricky part now for me is that I no longer travel alone. I have 2 kids. I’ve been planning to take them around the world for a couple of years hoping to give them an unconventional education. I’ve looked into teaching English in several countries but was shot down once they found that I’m Asian. Even though my English is just as good as any other Caucasian, I’ve been told by several schools that they are specifically looking for Caucasian English speakers. My other attempt is doing online marketing/blogging but have not a clue where to start. Ironically, I’ve majored in Economics in college and worked in Finance for over 5 years and I have not a clue as to making a single cent on the internet. As traveling and writing is my passion, I now have a blog that no one reads (except for my husband). Anyway, I digress…negative thoughts aside, I would like to know how I can start generating income through websites/online marketing.

    • Earl March 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      Hey Kim – I appreciate the comment and yes, that does seem to be a common issue with teaching English unfortunately. It’s still possible to find a job of course but will take a little more effort and research. As for earning money online, that’s a tough questions to answer. I would literally need to write a book as there thousands of ways to earn an online income. You could do freelance work through a website site us or, you could earn money through blogging, you could write eBooks and sell them on various websites, you could earn money through affiliate marketing and on and on and on…

      My recommendation is to spend a few days doing some research and then narrow it down to the one method that you would be most interested in trying to follow. Then, stick with this for a while (several months at least) and really try to make it happen. I’ve found that if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to constantly teach yourself how it works, you’ll succeed in the end. Those who don’t succeed are generally those who quit and give up once they realize earning an online income is not nearly as easy as they thought.

  109. Janis Love January 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm - Reply


    I’m an Aussie girl that got bitten by the travel many years ago and am on my second world trip. This time solo and with no plans to return home any time soon. I loved your post and just wanted to say that I too am traveling on a very tight budget and it is this that has driven some of my decisions and led to meeting new people and visiting some great places that I wouldn’t have gone had I had lots of cash. Ive found house sitting to be a great way to travel on a budget, usually its free accommodation in return for looking after pets. My one rule is always have enough put away for a flight home should something go horribly wrong.


    • Earl January 10, 2012 at 3:38 am - Reply

      Hey Janis – And that’s an excellent rule to have as it provides that security that makes life on the road much less worrisome. It’s great that you’re out there on your second world trip and it seems that you are experiencing the world just as you want to be doing…keep it up and safe travels!!

  110. Christina January 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    I agree completely! I have to, since I plan on doing just that very soon. haha.

  111. Richard December 29, 2011 at 9:33 am - Reply

    Thanks Earl. I am glad to hear that there is still people interested in learning French. I love Chiang Mai, so I may give it a try. Do you need a work permit to teach in Thailand or is it only necessary for teaching in a school?

    I am also considering creating two websites. One on cats and maybe dogs and another on creative writing and litterature. I am thinking of having blogs with some links to website such as Amazon to make money on the books I review or subjects I cover. I could put in some short stories of my own and give advices on creative writing. Is it costly to have such a website? Do you think I could make some money? My website would be in English to get a bigger audience but I may have a link for those who want some French content.



    • Earl December 30, 2011 at 3:11 am - Reply

      Hey Richard – Technically, you do need a work permit to teach. But if you apply to language schools, many of which do teach French, they will help get you the necessary paperwork and visa once they hire you. If you decide to teach independently, tutoring students on your own, then you could obviously do that with just a tourist visa. You just wouldn’t want to spread the word too much as any work on a tourist visa is not quite allowed.

      As for your website ideas, you have the right idea. Just keep in mind that it takes much more time and effort than most people think, so as long as you’re in it for the long-haul and are willing to battle through the challenges that you’ll face, there are rewards to be had in the end. It’s not costly at all to have such a site as all you need to do is register a domain (about $10 US per year) and host the site, which costs around $12 – $15 US per year. Quite cheap actually 🙂

  112. Richard December 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    I enjoy reading you. It is a source of inspiration. I am thinking of starting a life of travelling too and maybe settle for a while in a foreign country (I prefer to stay at a place for a while to really know it before moving on). However my situation is different from yours. Even though I am considered bilingual, my first language is French. With my French accent, I would not stand a chance teaching English and nobody is interested in French anymore 🙁 In addition to that, I am 52 years old… I am about to lose my job due to “restructuring” and I will have a small pension which will give me a disposable income of around 1800 US$ to 1900 US$ a month. It is a bit more than the 1000 US$ stated on your website but at my age I need a little comfort such as A/C. Are there jobs opportunity abroad for somebody my age? I am not looking for a full time job but I would like to make some money. Do you know older people doing what you are doing? I have a little money in the bank but not that much. My health is still good.



    • Earl December 28, 2011 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      Hey Richard – Thanks so much for the comment and I can say that you definitely have options. First, for $1000 per month, I often have AC as well in the places I’ve stayed in and I’m quite certain that you’d find such places to be more than adequate. When I spend extended periods of time in one country, I too want a certain level of comfort as it helps me maintain my sanity and get more work done. So you’ll really have no problem at all with the amount of money you’ll have coming in.

      As for teaching, there is definitely a market for French. I know people who have taught French in Chiang Mai as well as in places such as Mexico and several countries in the Middle East. You don’t need 1000 people to earn a living teaching. All you need is a handful of students to tutor and there is definitely a handful of people in almost every country that wants to learn French! Also, you’ll have far less competition and will often be the only person offering such lessons.

      So I wouldn’t count teaching out at all and I think that could give you a nice supplement to your pension, allowing you to live quite well in many parts of the world.

  113. Ashwin December 28, 2011 at 8:39 am - Reply


    I am so much in awe of you. I regularly lap up your content as that’s the next best thing to actually travel.

    Now, I am from India and I did quite a bit of traveling myself. I just had to ask you something:

    You say that you can live in Chiang Mai, for instance, indefinitely. What about Visa? I heard that recently the Thai government has clamped down on the freedom that we had earlier ( visa runs?).

    If finding legitimate work in Thailand is almost a no entry zone for foreigners, and if tourist visa only allows you 14 – 90 days of travel, how do we figure out a way to stay at one place indefinitely?

    • Earl December 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm - Reply

      Hey Ashwin – While the rules have changed for Thailand, there are still ways that you can stay for a long time. It does involved getting an initial 2 month visa, some trips to the immigration office for visa extensions and the occasional border run to Laos where you can apply for a new visa at the Thai consulate on the other side. So it’s still possible. As for other countries, generally, if you are able to find official work, the company or organization that hires you will be able to take care of the necessary paperwork to get you a proper long-term/work visa.

      But if you just want to find informal work on your own, then you just need to figure out how to use the tourist visa system to your advantage!

  114. Laura December 21, 2011 at 3:39 am - Reply

    This blog is so inspiring Earl! I’m a 19 year old stuyding Tourism and Hotel Management in Barcelona and itching to explore the world. I’m half spanish half english and give english lessons to spanish children to earn a bit of money. The thought of living a life of constant travel and living off private English lessons like you do really excites me! It is a reality I hadn’t properly thought of. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! I look forward to reading more!

    • Earl December 22, 2011 at 4:49 am - Reply

      Thanks for visiting Laura and I’m happy that the blog has given you some new ideas! Please let me know if you ever have any questions about anything on the site or about travel in general…

  115. Divas December 18, 2011 at 2:52 am - Reply

    really interesting. if you’re a white American, you can make a lot of bucks as a language teacher in the developing countries… especially in Asia…even a high school diploma with an American accent would be more than enough…even if you’re not white but speak with a ‘western’ accent, you can pass off as a demi-god in this part of the world..however, as a person from one of the least developed country in Asia, i can only envy you…;)..

  116. Jacob December 16, 2011 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    I really think you hit it on the head with the concept of having too much money sucks the drive out of you. My wife and I were traveling on a tight budget and by no means luxurious, but still we had enough to last us our planned year abroad in 13 different countries. But I think now, had we used our heads like you and others we met to work creatively in places, we could easily have made our money last for years. It was a mix of not wanting it at the time and not being desperate enough. Good on ya for making it work and hope to see you abroad sometime soon!

    • Earl December 17, 2011 at 7:50 am - Reply

      Hey Jacob – I think most people would rather have that cushion to last them through their entire trip. I would have loved that as well, but I didn’t expect to travel for so long and when I decided to travel long-term, I just didn’t have much money left. However, I do feel lucky that it worked out this way in the end. And now I know that no matter what, I’m able to survive anywhere in the world and continue traveling. Hopefully others can see that as well so that they are not afraid to begin their trip even with little cash in the bank.

      And do let me know if we’re ever in the same area. Always a good time when meeting up with other travelers in random places!

  117. Jon December 5, 2011 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl,

    I’ve been eagerly devouring every piece you post on this site for last year or so, and after reading this particular entry for the third or fourth time I realized that I’ve never actually posted a comment.

    I recently graduated from university, and I am actually working in order to save some money to start my own life of wandering. I’ve debated leaving much earlier and with little money like you did yourself but I’ve ultimately decided that a year’s worth of income would provide me with a slightly more stress-free beginning. I plan on starting by teaching English through a placement program in Korea, and hopefully place the majority of money in a place that will accrue interest but remain largely untouchable. My thinking is that I can force myself to learn to live on a budget while retaining a kind of safety net.

    Anyway, I guess I don’t really have a question. I just want to say that you’ve helped inspire and motivate me to start this kind of life, so thank you.

    • Earl December 6, 2011 at 11:03 am - Reply

      Thanks for that comment Jon! And I think you have a good plan ahead of you. I agree that it having a little extra money at the start is a positive thing, so I think you’ve made a wise choice. The challenge is always about motivation as it is easy to work for one more year to save money and then turn that into another year and then another and so on….and eventually, those travel goals are forgotten. But if you believe that no matter what you’ll get out on the road at some point, having that extra cushion of fund will be well worth it!

  118. Lash September 9, 2011 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl,

    You’re exactly right, from my experience. I’ve been traveling continuously since 1998, living on $400-$500 (max) per month, inclusive. That’s budgeting my flights between countries, some occassional medical expenses, xmas and birthday shoppiing and all. $6000/year has been doing me fine for over 12 years. Most Americans/Canadians just don’t realize how inexpensive much of hte world it out here! Or, conversely, they just don’t realize how expensive the USA is! just lack of experience, really.

    I couldn’t agree with you more about a comfortable non-ending nomadic traveling lifestyle. it’s superb! cheers, Lash

  119. Amanda August 30, 2011 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    Hey, Earl!
    My name’s Amanda, I’m eighteen years old and I’m from a tiny town in Texas. I’ve had a yen to travel for YEARS now and am finally at an age where it seems like if I don’t start now, I don’t know when or if I ever will. My main question is, do/did you know any young women who have been able to travel by themselves, work and do a lot of the same type of thing that you have done and feel safe? If so, could you have them e-mail my mom? lol
    Thanks! -Amanda

    • Earl September 1, 2011 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Hey Amanda – Haha! I know exactly what you’re talking about and I wish I had known some independent travelers back when I started as I would have loved to have them talk with my own mom 🙂

      There are in fact many solo female travelers out there who are living this lifestyle…off the top of my head here are a couple:

      And here’s a good post to read:

      I hope those help out!!

    • Max January 11, 2013 at 11:51 pm - Reply

      Hey Amanda, Have you gone on your trip yet or are you close? I’ve just recently had the urge to go to, partly thanks to this blog 🙂 Just curious on how you are preparing to go on a trip and where? It would be cool to talk! And good luck on your travels 🙂

  120. […] to have less of a safety net, because it pushes you to experience more and try more (check out this post from Wandering Earl, where he says that although it’s certainly a good idea to have some financial padding, […]

  121. […] it’s true that I’ve already written plenty of posts on the matter, clearly all of these posts, even as one collective entity, still fall well short of […]

  122. […] it’s true that I’ve already written plenty of posts on the matter, clearly all of these posts, even as one collective entity, still fall well short of […]

  123. […] While I often mention that first “3-month backpacking adventure to Southeast Asia that has now turned into 11 years of travel”, I would actually never have even taken that trip had Melbourne never come into my life.During […]

  124. Jasmine November 8, 2010 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    I just saw this post thanks to your thank you letter to everyone 🙂 I hardly have any money while I travel. I usually don’t meet the minimum requirement for available funds when arriving in a new country, and I certainly don’t have any significant savings. I’m not proud of my lack of funds, nor am I ashamed; it just is what it is. I hope one day I can generate enough money from my website and another I’m developing and my other freelance work to save a little more and be able to visit more expensive countries. When I start to feel ungrateful or panic about my financial situation, I remind myself that the majority of the world lives on a lot less than me, and there’s always some way I can cut back.

    • Earl November 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      Hey Jasmine – You’re another great example of how thousands upon thousands of dollars are not needed in order to travel, but even more importantly, you seem to really understand how fortunate you’ve been. We should all take the time to remind ourselves every day that much of the world is simply unable to do what we are doing. This fact alone helps us to keep everything in perspective.

      I hope your websites do work out for you! Just don’t give up your determination not matter how challenging it gets.

  125. johnny - November 8, 2010 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    great post earl and one that should act as an inspiration for all of us!

    i can relate a lot, i left ireland in 2006 with $1500 bucks and a one way ticket to asia and, just like you, i’m still on the road! the life we want to live is possible, if we just believe =)

    • Anthony November 8, 2010 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      Sweet Jesus I love stories like that! 1500, same as Earl. I’ve set a date next year and am saving up as much as humanly possible until then but I do have the odd financial panic in my head. Just gotta do it I suppose! 🙂

      • Earl November 10, 2010 at 5:20 pm - Reply

        Hey Anthony – The panic will remain until you finally get out there and see for yourself what is really possible. Yes, you just gotta do it 🙂

    • Earl November 10, 2010 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      Hey Johnny – Thank you for sharing your travel beginnings as well and it’s amazing that you began in almost the exact same way that I did ($1500 and SE Asia). Here’s to more rewarding years on the road!

  126. […] all of the support that this site has been receiving.For example, back in September, my post “How Much Money Do You Need to Live a Life of Travel” was mentioned by…Karol Gadja at Caz & Craig over at […]

  127. Teresia Quinn October 15, 2010 at 12:45 am - Reply

    Excellent blog entry – thank you for making my morning! I am not travelling at the moment, but have done my share in the past. I do so agree with everything that you say. I relate it a little to packing for travelling too – you do not need 2 x 23 kg suitcases to go for a week to Mallorca, when a pack is enough. You do not need $20 000 to set off around the world, as that will make you a travelling tourist, rather than a travelling nomad.I encourage my kids to set off and am happy to say that my son has already done his first 6 months with a small budget, finding work on the way, albeit in a ‘safe’ country, Canada, but then he again he was only 18 years old and first time solo.

  128. […] the world travel is $12,000 to $20,000 USD. There are many exceptions to this rule.  For example, a recent grad named Earl left for Thailand with only $1,500 USD in his pocket to last him 3-months. He kept an open-mind, a positive attitude, and jumped on any […]

  129. Taylor October 4, 2010 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Hey Earl,
    I have landed in Chacala and it is amazing…very quiet, and a fantastic beach. Working hard to get my spanish up to speed. Also I have used the power of google alert: and have found a sweet housesitting gig here in a 5 bedroom villa…for $350 per month.
    I owe it to you Earl, thanks so much for your blog…and help.
    I brought all of my film gear here so…
    Now i just need to film my epic Spaghetti Western film here!!!! ala Sergio Leone

    • Earl October 4, 2010 at 9:37 am - Reply

      Hey Taylor – That’s excellent that you’re in Chacala! And great deal with the 5 bedroom villa 🙂

      If you ever eat at the cafe Chac Mool (as I’m sure you will as it’s the only cafe in the village), tell Amelie that Derek & Liz say hello. We never got a chance to say goodbye to her when we left, but her and her husband are good people and they offer the best food in the village.

      Looking forward to hearing more about your time there. I already miss the fresh banana and coconut bread served by local vendors on the beach every weekend!

  130. Frank October 3, 2010 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    I think it would help to have security to turn to once the travels are over – perhaps due to age, or just something in case of emergency so not relying on friends and family for bail out if something went terribly wrong…

    It would be great to own and be renting out a house in my home country – that way the steady income is there (hopefully) and also the nest egg is waiting in case of return.

    So far i have the house, and the itchy feet… but unfortunately a massive clash of scientific study – which i just love with my whole heart; i traveled a little with open university study in my first year of it – but to get the grades and amount of time invested in the study as i want – long term travel is not really viable.

    So.. here’s to studying for another 5 years or so – and then hopefully *hopefully!* getting the career i crave which will allow for travel too.

    I hope i am making the right decision.

    • Earl October 3, 2010 at 11:37 pm - Reply

      Hey Frank – The good thing is that you can always change the path you’re on! So if one day you feel strongly about heading in another direction, you will always have that option. The idea of renting out a place in your home country is always a good one. Anything that can provide even a little steady income does certainly help. I also think that it depends on the goals one has for their travels. If someone plans to take 12 month or 18 month trip and then return home after that is over, then yes, having some extra money put away is a good idea. And I’ve also learned the importance of not waiting until you have $0 in your bank account before looking for ways to earn money. There should always be a little extra money tucked away in order to deal with any unexpected situations.

      Thank you for the comment and good luck with the studying!

  131. AdventureRob September 25, 2010 at 5:26 am - Reply

    It really does depend on the type of travel you’re willing to do. I left with a lot of money did the usual sight seeing and stuff and it ate into my budget slowly but surely.

    3/4 of the way through my budget I was actually looking forward to running out as it would require me to get a job and be a bit more clever with where I was. There is little incentive to work hard when you already have the money and can fall back on it. I think those who have some money and look for work abroad arn’t so ‘get up and go’ about it (this includes myself) as the need isn’t there.

    • Earl September 25, 2010 at 9:03 am - Reply

      @AdventureRob – That’s very true. If we don’t have any money to fall back on, we’re going to do whatever it takes to keep the traveling going. I’m quite sure that had I begun with a lot of money, I would have kept traveling until it all ran out. And then I would have returned home due to a lack of motivation to find ways to earn money on the road. Looking forward to running out is actually a great motivational tool to keep on traveling!

  132. Tee September 24, 2010 at 2:50 am - Reply

    I read this and I instantly think, “This is what I want to do with my life.”
    I’ve never had that reaction to anything before.
    This article just makes me finally believe that living life the way I want to is actually possible.
    This hit very close to my situation presently. Though I’m not a long term traveler (not yet anyway), I hope I can soon make traveling an important part of my life, even though I’m still really young, I want to make this happen as soon as possible.
    Right now, I’m planning to take a trip to Israel. I have a bit over $2000 to my name and I feel that I just cannot wait to make this trip any longer.I can’t wait a couple more years to wait for things to be a little more “convenient”. I’ve searched for tickets and it looks like that alone may take more than half of my money. But I’m trying not to make that a major problem. All I have to consider most is school. Reading this article gives me great inspiration and a feeling that I can truly make this happen.
    I’ve also have great interest in teaching English in various parts of the world. I just read your “How To Fund Your Travels with Creativity” article and now I’m even more blown away. This is exactly what I wanted to do! I’m so excited now for I finally have a goal, a possible means and ideas to achieve it.

    • Earl September 25, 2010 at 8:27 am - Reply

      Hey Tee! I could feel your excitement come through your comment and I certainly hope that you do achieve your travel goals! There really are endless ways to turn just a small amount of money into long-term travel and there are literally hundreds and hundreds of people who have found their own unique ways to make it happen. There’s no shortage of inspiration out there!

      Good luck with your decisions and if you ever have any questions at all, please feel free to send me an email as well…

  133. […] How Much Money Do You Need To Start A Life Of Travel? by Derek Earl Baron […]

  134. Kelly September 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the reminder that what I want to do IS possible. I’ve been “home” after spending 1.5 years away, and feeling bored and stagnated. My mind is constantly dreaming of new places to visit and ways I can make this become a reality. It’s nice to see that others are living the dream. =)

    • Earl September 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      Hey Kelly – It’s definitely possible! I know that feeling of dreaming about travel and wishing you were out there right now exploring the world again. Sometimes, if you want it badly enough, you just need to confidently take the first step and see where it leads…

      Hopefully you’ll be out there traveling again soon!

  135. Larry September 21, 2010 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Hey Earl,

    I think travel can be just like anything else in life. You can spend a whole lot of money on something just to make it easy on yourself. Or, you can be creative, resourceful, and patient and make something work and save your money. It all depends on your perspective about what you think your time is worth.


    • Earl September 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      Hey Larry – Thank you for the comment! I think that for many people spending a whole lot of money simply isn’t an option and as a result they assume that traveling is therefore impossible. The idea of the post is to demonstrate how that should not be the case at all and that there is a second option that involves being creative and resourceful!

  136. Brad Shepherd September 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    So glad I read this today. My wife and I have been so close to pulling the trigger for a couple months now but I keep on stalling, worried that I don’t have enough money saved up or a reliable source of income yet. (Been working hard on our blog though: and some affiliate ideas from Corbett.) This post pushed me over the edge. A few more things to sell and we’re out of here!

    • Earl September 20, 2010 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      Hey Brad – Thank you for commenting! It can become quite easy to keep on stalling as every bit of extra money we can scrounge up seems well worth it. But before we know it, a year goes by, we still haven’t left and we’ve only saved a little more money. The ideas is that if extended travel is something that you are determined to pursue, you will be determined to sustain such a lifestyle once you begin. As a result, you’ll discover the opportunities that will help make that happen…

      I certainly wish you a great journey and hopefully you sell your last remaining things quickly!

  137. Keith September 20, 2010 at 8:12 am - Reply

    This is a solid post, and particularly timely for me seeing as how I’m six weeks from my last day at work and I’ve spent the last 10 months saving. My wife and I have had the luxury of saving a lot of money for my travels so I won’t be traveling as you did back in ’99, Earl.

    However, I think an equally salient point is not the cost in money it takes to travel, but the cost in lifestyle changes it takes to travel. Many people coming straight out of college or skipping college can probably identify with your situation. For people neck-deep in professional careers, maybe with a spouse and kids, money might not be the lynchpin. Instead, if you want to travel more intensely than America’s three weeks/year, there will be a significant upheaval in your lifestyle.

    I know I know, this post is about how much MONEY you need to start a life of travel, but there are other “currencies” that need to be considered depending on where your “life” of travel starts.

    • Earl September 20, 2010 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      Hey Keith – You’re absolutely right, there are of course more factors to consider when deciding how to start a life of travel, although money always seems to be the biggest concern (and hence this post!). It seems that 90% of the people I’ve communicated with who are interested in extended travel, whether they are coming straight out of school or have been in a professional career for some time, all mention money as the major factor that is holding them back. It seems that even those who have had good jobs for a while aren’t necessarily able to save up a great deal of money. Some may be fortunate to have saved but I don’t think that’s the majority. Consider yourself lucky in that respect 🙂

      My point was just that most people won’t even start thinking about how to overcome the other challenges (aka ‘significant upheaval in lifestyle’) until they have what they consider to be ‘enough money’ saved. Unfortunately, most people struggle to save that amount because they typically think it needs to be $30,000 or $50,000. Once they realize that such an amount of money is not needed, then they are free to concentrate on the necessary lifestyle changes!

      • Keith September 20, 2010 at 7:23 pm - Reply

        And the ironic thing is that sometimes the lifestyle change is required first, before people can start saving money. I know that was true for my wife and me. Enjoyed this post, thanks Earl.

  138. […] How Much Money Do You Need To Start A Life Of Travel? by Derek Earl Baron […]

  139. Taylor September 20, 2010 at 12:03 am - Reply

    Hey Earl, Great post!!! I am on the cusp of the great adventure and wanted to thank you for all your help with Mexico. I am going to a small town called Chacala to help build a school and to work on my business plans. Thanks Earl for your help.

    • Earl September 20, 2010 at 5:23 pm - Reply

      Hey Taylor – I am actually quite familiar with Chacala! I spent a month living there last November. It’s a great place, absolutely stunning, peaceful and the beach is amazing. Although it is quite remote! If you have any specific questions about the place, don’t hesitate to send me an email…

  140. Cherie @Technomadia September 19, 2010 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    This is a question folks ask us all the time.. and my answer has always been ‘Imagine the worst possible scenario..and ask yourself.. just how bad is it?’. That’s what convinced me to jump on the road, is when the worst-case prospect of stopping somewhere and taking on an odd job to make ends meet sounded like fun!

    It’s amazing the opportunities that happen when you’re out there, actively exploring who you are. If you trust in yourself, in your agility to make it work – then there’s no excuse when it comes to money to hold you back!

    • Earl September 19, 2010 at 11:28 pm - Reply

      Hey Cherie – We should ask that question every time we have a major decision to make! And I agree…rarely (or perhaps never) is the answer something that really sounds terrible. Most of the time, as you’ve found out, the worst-case scenario actually seems somewhat appealing. So if money isn’t an issue and we discover that there’s nothing to lose, then that should give us the confidence we need to take the all-important first step towards our goals…

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

  141. Laurence September 19, 2010 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Wow, great post and great comments. I currently fall into the camp of travelling on my savings, mostly because I have them. However, having now travelled for a year, I am looking to acquire casual work as I go and enable myself to keep on travelling for as long as possible, the lifestyle just works for me. Also, by working and slowing down, I think I will get much more of a feel for a place and it’s local culture. New Zealand next, for a year, can’t wait 🙂

    • Earl September 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm - Reply

      Hey Laurence! It’s great to hear from another long-term traveler out there 🙂 It seems as if you have a good understanding of what it will take to sustain a traveling lifestyle and as a result, there should be nothing stopping you from making it happen. Slowing down has been very rewarding for me over the past couple of years, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy a full year in New Zealand!! Who wouldn’t??

  142. Jeff Titelius September 19, 2010 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    What an inspiring tale you tell about your incredible experience and journey over the last 11 years. To desire a life like the one you envisioned way back when, only requires a dream and you nailed it! You found a way to overcome the obstacles and confronted every situation you found yourself in as a new opportunity to explore, to travel and to continue the momentum of your mission that is now thundering ahead at full throttle. I wish you all the success in the world and may your travels never cease nor your wonder wane!!

    Thank you for sharing your story – a personal triumph that should renew everyone’s faith in having a dream and setting out to make it a reality.

    • Earl September 19, 2010 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      Hey Jeff – Thank you so much for such a wonderful comment!

      I’ve always felt that any obstacle can be overcome once a person knows exactly what they’re trying to achieve. And just reading all of the comments above, written by people who have also turned their dreams into reality, is all the proof one needs!

  143. Forest September 19, 2010 at 6:28 am - Reply

    After moving to Canada with no cash I as working for min wage which was ok but I started working online to get myself a mobile income…. It’s awesome having that now and gives a new level of freedom. However I do sometimes miss working in new places with new people.

    I have known people turn up in countries with less than $100 and make their way through by jumping on jobs and getting into the system asap.

    • Earl September 19, 2010 at 10:23 am - Reply

      Hey Forest – Thanks for sharing your example! It’s all connected…you were forced to work for minimum wage but that little cushion then helped you get started with your online endeavors. One thing leads to another and you were able to turn ‘no cash’ into complete freedom.

      On another note, I also miss working with people sometimes as working on my laptop just isn’t the same as being surrounded by people in an energetic environment. There are days I think of going back to work on cruise ships just to be a part of the working atmosphere!

  144. […] How much money do you need to start a life of travel? by Earl from Wandering Earl […]

  145. Jeremy B September 18, 2010 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    Earl, this is a great post. Thanks for sharing the lessons you learned. One thing that is clear – there will always be obstacles to test how much you want this. You realized what these were for you, especially finances, and found a way to overcome. It goes to show that when you really feel like you are supposed to do something, things will always come up and you will find a way through challenges. Great encouragement to people who want to try anything they are passionate about, not just travel.

    • Earl September 19, 2010 at 10:17 am - Reply

      Thanks Jeremy! Facing obstacles is an excellent way to determine how much we want something in life. It’s easy to say we want to live a certain way but when we discover that the path is not always so easy, we may be forced to rethink our goals. However, for those who know they are on the right path, they can proceed with confidence, knowing that they will find a way to make it all happen!

  146. Little House September 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    I can see how not having enough money can be a big motivator. It’s wonderful to hear how you’ve been able to travel and use your creativity to continue exploring the world. I haven’t read many of your posts, but I’m curious about traveling extensively. Do you have to come back to the US every few months because of visa issues? It’s hard for me to comprehend since I rarely leave the US (my husband doesn’t like to fly very far.) Just curious!

    • Earl September 19, 2010 at 10:02 am - Reply

      @Little House – Thank you for the comment! I typically return to the US about once a year and that’s generally to visit with my family and friends for around a month. As for visas, I normally obtain my visas while overseas, which is quite easy to do. If I’m in a place like Thailand and plan to travel to India, I will get an Indian visa at the Indian Embassy in Thailand. And in many countries you can simply obtain a visa upon arrival at the border or at the airport.

      With that said, I’m actually about to write a post regarding a visa issue that I’m having right now, and for the first time in the past 11 years, I’m forced to get a visa while in the US! So your questions could not have been any more perfectly-timed 🙂

      Have a wonderful Sunday!

  147. Randall September 18, 2010 at 5:06 am - Reply

    This is so inspiring! It really gets me thinking about how little I would need while living my dream in the Philippines. Traveling from the Philippines is cheap.

    Let’s see….must get rid of debt..

    • Earl September 19, 2010 at 9:44 am - Reply

      Hey Randall – The Philippines does seem to be a country where one could live quite well and for an extended period time on little money. It’s all about priorities (as Dave mentioned before) and doing what it takes to turn that dream into reality, knowing full well that it’s possible. Getting rid of the debt is the first step but once that’s done, you’ll be on your way…

  148. Just Jesz September 18, 2010 at 3:57 am - Reply

    There’s nothing like jumping into the deep blue, and allowing your survival instincts to take over =)
    Glad you had fun, and keep living life passionately!!

    • Earl September 19, 2010 at 9:40 am - Reply

      @JustJesz – Exactly! We’ll find ways to survive, but the hard part is actually taking the jump. Thanks so much for the comment!

  149. Dave from The Longest Way Home September 18, 2010 at 1:19 am - Reply

    Very good post Earl. I think the key to many people perception of how much money they need to travel falls back to insecurity of the unknown.

    The unknown of actually leaving that comfortable job. Knowing that there is no longer a wage there.

    The insecurity of having the confidence in starting a new career without the 9-5. Which, today is more like the 8-10 🙂

    Then, when they do make the break. Many people fall into the trap of party and celebration. Nothing wrong with that. But if you do want to be location independent, priorities need to be established.


    • Earl September 19, 2010 at 9:38 am - Reply

      Hey Dave – I think we can all admit that facing the unknown is a bit terrifying! And it just comes down to taking that leap and believing in your goals. Once I realized that I could always change direction and return to a 9-5 if needed, then I felt I had nothing to lose by attempting to be a permanent traveler. And that’s an interesting point about the partying travel mode. Many of us do fall into that when we begin (and there’s nothing wrong with that like you said), although it can be a very difficult mode to climb back out of if your goal is to turn travel into an actual long-term lifestyle.

      And by 8-10 are you talking about 2 hours (hopefully) or 14 hour days??!

  150. Caz Makepeace September 18, 2010 at 12:45 am - Reply

    Great post Earl! This really highlights the truth that money is never the thing stopping you from living your dreams. I, too, have spent many years traveling around the world on little money, but finding opportunities along the way which enabled me to get more of it. These opportunities are there for everyone to take, it’s just that some don’t allow fear to be the curtain that blinds them to it!

    • Earl September 19, 2010 at 9:28 am - Reply

      Hey Caz – I love how many people appear to have started their long journeys without much money! The proof is out there that such a lifestyle is possible without $50,000 in the bank. And I agree that anyone can take advantage of the endless opportunities, it’s just being open and determined enough to find them that makes the difference!

  151. Ozzy September 17, 2010 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    I have lived and traveled with both money and so completely broke I wasn’t sure how I was gonna eat the next day. I must say that the better adventures come when you are broke and you travel by the seat of your pants. Backpacking and hitch hiking are always fun. You are never sure where or how you are going to end up. Great post, it acts as a great reminder to me that though money is needed it should never hold you back from doing what you love and that living on that broken edge can be a blast.


    • Earl September 19, 2010 at 9:31 am - Reply

      Hey Ozzy! That’s the thing, many people would actually CHOOSE to travel with less money because of the adventures that result. As long as you know there are ways to survive out there, then you’re in for one memorable and educational ride. Of course, if you aren’t aware of the opportunities, then the result would be much different.

      • Ozzy September 19, 2010 at 2:08 pm - Reply

        I call it the willingness to do something stupid


  152. [email protected] are the New Black September 17, 2010 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Okay, I have NOTHING on your 11 years of travel! But this post reminded me of my time in college studying in Germany. My education was paid-for through my (loans) college in the U.S., but I had next to nothing for travel. I was desperate and went to a cafe I had heard would hire foreigners with little hassle. I was not fluent in German! But I got hired, and I managed, and not only did it finance some trips to Eastern Europe (which had only previously been unveiled from behind the Iron Curtain)(I’m a bit older than you are)(*ahem*) but it was the best thing I could have done for learning the language! I never would have had the gumption to do it if I hadn’t needed the money so badly.

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      That’s such an excellent example Jolyn! That’s the thing, who would be motivated to enter into such a situation if they already had enough money to travel? And look at what you would have missed had that been the case…

      If a person really wants to travel, as you’ve demonstrated, you just take a deep breath and find a way to make it happen. I might have to ask for the name of that cafe just in case I find myself in Germany while low on funds one day 🙂

  153. Andi September 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    Wow, that’s really impressive!!! Traveling truly doesn’t take a lot of money and I wish more people realized that.

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      Hey Andi – I also wish more people realize that travel doesn’t have to be expensive! Hopefully this post can help a few people…

  154. David Cain September 17, 2010 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    I was quite surprised to find that I spent significantly less money when I was having the time of my life traveling than I did while I was just sitting around at home. And that was mostly in New Zealand and Australia, two countries with significantly higher costs of living than my home country.

    It made me realize how much superfluous junk I pay for in my normal at-home lifestyle that I absolutely do not need.

    Thailand was far less expensive than those countries, and other countries are cheaper still. I used to think travel was quite exclusive because you have to come up with even more money than you’d be spending at home, but it just didn’t work out for me that way.

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      Hey David! I think you just perfectly summed up the great realization that many travelers make at some point during their journey. I’ve also had a similar experience in Australia, living in the center of Melbourne for a total cost of what most people associate with SE Asia! And you’re right, there’s always somewhere cheaper to go.

      Also, when we’re traveling, not only do we cut out the overwhelming majority of our typical expenses, but being immersed in the overall experience of a new place often doesn’t require us to spend any money at all…

      It’s great to hear from you and I hope all is well!

  155. Jenny September 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    With an open mind and focus on the positive, a lot can happen. If you sit and worry about all the possible scenarios… you’ll take away energy from getting the results you want.

    You don’t need a lot of money to travel just the right attitude.

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm - Reply

      Hey Jenny – Agreed! Staying positive at all times is a must. Negativity will cloud our vision until we can no longer see any of the opportunities in front of us.

  156. John Bardos -JetSetCitizen September 17, 2010 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    When I first when to Japan I only had about $1000, no job and no visa. However, everything quickly fell into place. The opportunities that open up are amazing if you have no safety net or backup plans.

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      That’s quite incredible John, especially considering the life and business that you ultimately ended up creating out of that $1000! l doubt you would have had the same results had you not needed to find a way to earn income from the beginning.

  157. Maria Staal September 17, 2010 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Great post! I have actually done both the things you describe. When I first started travelling I left home with a retun ticket to Australia and the equivilant of 750 dollars in my pocket. Of course it helped that I knew that I was allowed to work my way around Australia, but still, it was a scarly thing to do.
    After I had come back from Oz, I worked for 4 years to save up enough money to get me back there again. This time I knew I wasn’t allowed to work anymore, but once there I did a lot of volunteer jobs, which was a lot of fun. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my stash of money in the bank.
    That said, I totally agree with you that only setting out with 1500 dollars opens your eyes to being creative, and that is something everyone should learn.

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      Hey Maria – So you definitely are familiar with both sides. I think it also depends on a person’s travel goals. If a person wants to spend their time doing volunteer work, then they’ll need to have enough money saved up as they won’t be earning any income. But if a person’s goal is to travel extensively using any means available, then $1500 or as in your case, $750, is enough to get started. And if they want to keep the journey going, then they’ll have to get creative and find a way to make it happen!

      Hopefully once your book is out you won’t have to worry about traveling with only $750!

  158. Liz September 17, 2010 at 10:27 am - Reply

    When I first started travelling I went to london with only $600 dlls… =) I statied there for 8 months hehehe.

    Great post! I loved it!

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      Hey Liz – Starting with only $600 USD in London is quite impressive! But somehow you managed to stay there for 8 months, so it’s another example of how travel goals can be achieved even when it seems impossible! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  159. Financial Samurai September 17, 2010 at 7:04 am - Reply

    Definitely much better to start off with very little! When your back is against the wall, the best of you always shines through.

    Having too much money is definitely, ironically a negative motivational force. I try and pretend I literally have NOTHING every single month to keep moving forward.

    It makes progress feel so much better!

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      That’s a great strategy Sam as the more we have, the easier it is to become complacent. Glad to hear that progress is being made!!

  160. Mark Powers September 17, 2010 at 5:39 am - Reply

    Great point you make, Earl! And great to know, because I’m on your heels, but won’t be starting out with much either. Thanks for the killer post!

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      Thanks Mark! That’s exciting that you’re about to start your own adventure and that you understand that you don’t need a ton of money to begin. Do you knkow when you’ll be starting out?

  161. anthony September 17, 2010 at 4:00 am - Reply

    This is officially the most thought provoking post I have ever read haha. People at work have kept asking “are you alright?” Because I’m daydreaming as my mind is occupied by the words and message written on this post, I am atarting to cringe every time I use the word “but” to justify why I haven’t booked that ticket yet. Certainly food for thought.

    On a total other note. My gravatar picture is black,does anyone know how to fix this?

  162. Audrey September 17, 2010 at 2:39 am - Reply

    We started our travels a bit on the opposite route. We had saved a chunk of money to travel, but then a freelance project kind of fell into our lap during our first weeks of our trip. So, we took time off from traveling in Thailand to work our butts off to get it completely before the end of the year (when the budget ran out). That was the “a-ha” moment – we realized we could continue to extend our journey if we can string together projects. Unfortunately, the economy and changing media environment mean that we won’t have projects like that anymore, but that’s where getting creative and finding other sources of income come into play.

    That said, I’ve found that many people who have been on the road for a long period of time have started with very little monetary cushion and have relied on their own wit and creativity to find work to keep them going. The mindset changes to “there are opportunities everywhere – you just have to look for them.”

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      Hey Audrey – That’s quite an interesting start to your travels. I wonder how long it would have taken to have that “a-ha” moment had that project not happened so soon after you began? Often times all it seems to take is that first opportunity to appear for us realize that there aren’t a handful or even dozens of ways to keep on traveling, but an infinite number of possibilities!

      Ok, now I need a glass of wine just from reading the title of your last post!

  163. Diggy September 17, 2010 at 12:58 am - Reply

    Hey Earl,
    Great post, I really enjoyed reading this. It’s an inspiration for a lot of people!!

    Next to the jobs and kind of work that you describe that people can do to pay for their travels, you can also get into blogging/affiliate marketing to make a passive income online.

    It’s not easy to make massive money and it does take work, but if you spend 2-3 hours on your sites every single day, it’s very possible to make an extra $5000 or more per year which is very helpful!

    All the best

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm - Reply

      Hey Diggy – Thanks for sharing your thoughts and you’re right about the passive income. The amount of effort required is significant but even a few hundred dollars per month in earnings could easily cover one’s accommodation expenses while traveling. 2-3 hours of work per day is well worth the rewards and the number of ways to earn money online are literally endless!

  164. Henway September 16, 2010 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Definitely agree with you.. constraints lead to creativity. Being comfortable leads to mediocrity. When you have constraints you get desperate, and your mind is forced to go into overdrive.. you literally need to survive and you’re forced to do things out of your comfort zone. If you have too much money, the cash will gradually dwindle down w/o you knowing it.. sorta like a toad being boiled.

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 1:58 pm - Reply

      Hey Henway – Thanks so much for the comment! I get the feeling that you have some experience with this yourself 🙂 We tend to believe that we must decide to step out of our comfort zone, but sometimes we have no choice but to do so. I love how you put it – “Constraints lead to creativity”. I couldn’t agree more!

  165. Brandon Pearce September 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Great post, Earl. I think this is one of the main things that holds so many people back from travel – they fear they don’t have enough money, that they’ll “run out” and end up stranded in some foreign country. And sure, that could happen. But would it really be that bad? Those type of adventures can bring life-changing experiences, which is what travel is all about anyway, right?

    Although, I can’t be one to talk, because I didn’t leave for full-time travel until my own on-line business had already taken off sufficiently to support my family while living abroad. I still feel like it took guts to make the move, but not nearly as much as if I had left before I had the income. But regardless, thank heaven for the 4-Hour Work Week! I’m living it and loving it!

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 1:54 pm - Reply

      Hey Brandon! I fully agree that being forced to use what little resources we have in order to achieve our goals, leads to some of the most life-changing adventures. And I think any time we decide to take a path that is considered unconventional it takes a huge amount of guts to move forward. You’re great proof of how incredibly these decisions can turn out in the end!

  166. anthony September 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl, why do I get the feeling that I may have inspired this post? What with me harassing you with this question and all haha 😛

    I certainly do have that itching feeling and endure the 59 minutes in an hour situation. I just can’t help but feel an extra few thousand savings, when I am in a position to do so is a good move. I’m not disagreeing with you though, I admire such spontaneity in yourself. Mind you, I don’t think I will lose my work ethic as I am looking to work online while away.

    Anyway, I’m hogging this comments board. Good post, one I’m sure to come back to!

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      Hey Anthony – Haha…yeah, I owe you a big thanks for the inspiration indeed! And as long as you stay true to yourself then there’s no problem with sticking around to save some more money. At some point, the urge to leave may simply become too much and that’s the time to re-think the plan. Thanks for the comment and looking forward to hearing about your own projects!

  167. Nick Laborde September 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    I can see that having limited resources would open you up to unexpected opportunities. This inspires me to quit being so preoccupied with how much money I need to save. I know from everyday life experience that certain challenges always seem to lead to open minded creative thinking.

    Now I just have to figure out how to sell my house without having to fork out a lot of cash that I don’t exactly have.

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Hey Nick – Money is important but with the amount of opportunities out there in world, there’s definitely no reason to get too worked up about it. Sometimes it’s far more beneficial to just start the adventure. Good luck with selling your house! That is one thing I know very little about 🙂

  168. Brian Setzer September 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    I was just talking about how an open mind and good attitude is all you need to go anywhere. Now I’ve got confirmation from someone else who has been there. Long term travel can (and is) done on all budgets all it takes is wanting to. I only wish I’d discovered my traveling ways earlier. No worries, still plenty of time and places left to see.

    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      Hey Brian – Just be thankful you did find your traveling ways eventually! And rarely do we have to look too far to discover another example of how an open mind allowed a traveler to live out their dreams, no matter what their budget may have been (the comments above are a great start). Enjoy the rest of your riding!

  169. Adam Mayfield September 16, 2010 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Awesome post! I can relate. I don’t have a ton of money and my biggest problem was paying down my debt. I’m aiming to leave mid-late October and with not a lot of money in my pocket.

    I’m convinced that if you are open and willing to put yourself out there that business and opportunity will find you.

    Ohh and to some, 11 years is a life time! Keep it up and maybe I’ll see you on the road soon!


    • Earl September 17, 2010 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      Hey Adam – Seems like you’re on the right track! Once the debt is gone, hopefully it won’t take long to save up enough to get your adventure started. The opportunities will find you and I can’t wait to hear where your path leads…

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