Risking 7 Lifestyles: How To Save For Travel

The modern world blows, sometimes nice and hard.  As a traveler, you must step back and take a look: technology amidst mansions, cars, oils, gases, rising costs of amenities and those heavy monthly bills.  Then right beside us there’s poverty, famine, disease, war and constant power struggle.  To top it off, all of this costs money, and lots of it.

Contrary to civilization is travel, real travel where the backpacker leaves all wastelands behind to discover new culture, ways of living and knowledge to experience.  Thus the traveler gains wisdom.

But in this society, traveling wisdom comes with a cost.  It’s no longer free like the age of Basho, wandering with rucksack along trails from shed to shed, over mountain ranges and across rivers.  No.  Border guards prevent this.  Visas, rules and modern transportation make this virtually impossible.  But why let them stop you?

Tired of the hustle and bustle, out of money with mounting wanderlust, how do you obtain enough monetary resources to make this happen?  Here are a seven opportunities to help hit the road.

First, add up those monthly expenses.  What are your bills?  An average person is going to have the following dues:

•    Rent
•    Food + laundry
•    Cellphone
•    Internet
•    Transportation + gas
•    Insurance
•    Play

The above are the basics of the modern world enabling you to live, work, connect and remain mobile.  Depending on your lifestyle you can have monthly bills ranging from the low-end frugality of $1300 to a high-end butterfly of $4000+.  But as a traveler, you have to rearrange these priorities, including your values.

Once you have a total, let’s take apart the list and see what can be cutback for the next adventure.

1.    Foremost is rent.  Rent is a bitch.  In the developing world it’s tough to find a studio apartment for less than $600.  So what do you do?  Housesitting is key.  You live for free; in fact you get paid to sleep in others’ homes, taking care of daily routines with cats, dogs, iguanas, maybe a ferocious chimpanzee, and possibly more.  Rent is now gone.  And with those spaces between jobs there is couch surfing with friends, crashing with a family member, or visiting a long-lost lover.

2.    Food and laundry is almost inescapable.  You need to eat and most often food costs money.  However, if you’re housesitting, make sure you get the go-ahead to indulge the pantry, but go light on the booze.  Otherwise, dumpster diving is free and many times generates pirate’s booty.  Clothes?  Wear what you have.


3.    Cellphones are despised in my world.  Chuck them towards the depths of the growling sea and give text messaging the Bird.  Yet it’s hard to live without, but fortunately cheaper then landlines if you forgo cable television.  Find a cheap plan and stay under your minutes.

4.    Internet.  Cut it.  Ever heard of the library?  Head there with a laptop for free wifi and surround yourself with travel books.  And that housesitting gig?  Ask for their router’s password and connect.

5.    Transportation is an easy one.  Sell your car and buy a bicycle.  Check your public bus lines and light rail schedules.  You’ll save money and eliminate stress and gas.  Help yourself.  Help the environment.

6.    Insurance might be difficult, especially with rising plans and an indecisive government that simply wants more control.  Solution?  Get fit by riding that bike and cancel car insurance.  Wear a helmet and eat healthy.  You’ll suddenly discover $300/month for medical insurance is wasteful.  Be your own doctor with something called preventative healthcare.

7.    We all need to play.  Going out with friends.  Dancing at live music venues.  Movies, events, museums and recreation are keys to balance in life.  But what is more valuable: spending $100/night with friends resulting with head in strange porcelain tub or $3/night for a bungalow on the edge of Thailand’s Andaman Sea?  This is a personal choice based on personal experience.

To travel in today’s world, you must reorganize priorities by taking a step back to observe your monthly expenses.  What will it take to buy that next plane ticket?  You decide.  And if you really want it, whatever lifestyle that may be, it’s possible.  Travelers know that if there’s a will there’s a way.  The most expensive purchase will be that plane ticket to get you started, whether it’s a roundtrip itinerary or the elusive one-way journey casting away those monthly dues.



  1. Spectacular article and photos, Cameron. You are SO being and doing what you’re meant to be and do.

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