How We Fund Our Traveling Business
The number one question that we are asked is, "How do you fund your travels?" While we won't be busting out any spreadsheets, here is an overview of how we've turned this dream into a reality.
When we get this question, we know people are interested in how we make money, and we'll get to that, but we want to talk about spending first. The first important rule of sustainable travel is, we're not on a vacation, so we can't spend like we're on a vacation. Most people's spending habits on vacation are drastically different from when they're at home. For many people, vacations mean eating out, going shopping, and splurging a little (or a lot). We knew that if we wanted to make traveling sustainable for a longer period of time, then we couldn't spend like we were on vacation; it just wouldn't work. We're going to take a look at four major expense categories, and how we reduce costs.
Sky scanner has become our best friend when it comes to booking flights and rental cars! This website is the best we have found as far as searching flights with flexible dates and sometimes flexible locations. In the search field you are able choose the destination as "everywhere" and sky scanner will show you the cheapest destinations that you can fly to. This has helped us many times in choosing where we'd like to go next! We are also very flexible on the dates which we fly and this also helps with booking the cheapest flights available. I've compared flights I find her to other search engines many times and I've never found any deals that are cheaper. We also use sky scanner for finding affordable rental cars!
We always try to find accommodations that work within our budget and many of the times this means spending a week or longer in an Airbnb rental because the per night cost ends up being cheaper. When you stay longer in the same Airbnb, the owner often adds a "longer stay" discount. This is a better option than jumping around to different Airbnbs in the same town! If we book a rental for 30+ days then there is sometimes a discount of 50% or more on the rental, which means huge savings for us! The "longer stay" discount usually applies to renting for 7+ days, but it's varies from property to property. It is really fun to get on Airbnb and search places around the world for a stay of 30 days or longer. You'll quickly see the cost of monthly rentals in beautiful, full furnished homes worldwide! Be careful, this can be addicting, but it also shows you that you really could live in so many places at an affordable price.
If you're interested in using Airbnb you can get a $40 travel credit by using our link to make your first booking! Hooray!
Food is a major expense! Sometimes we wish we just didn't have to eat! Ha! We spend more on food than we initially anticipated when starting our travels. The cost of food varies greatly from country to country so to help save money we always buy groceries wherever we are. It's typically the first thing that we do when we get to a new location. We make most of our meals at "home" and tend to eat out once or twice a week if we are out during meal time hours and it costs less than driving "home." This is very different from a typical vacation where most people eat out for most or all of their meals. In addition to being cheaper, cooking our own meals is often healthier! We know that not everyone (especially foodies) would choose to travel this way, but it works really well for our family! When we do eat out, we love trying traditional dishes from local, family run restaurants.
We love being outdoors and seeing all the sights of each new location! When choosing activities to do in a new location we usually choose 1 or 2 activities that cost money (ex. cable car, gondola, boat excursion, or museum), and then the rest of the things we do are usually free! You may have noticed from our Instagram feed that we especially love waterfalls and hiking trails with beautiful views. There are always way more outdoor activities then we have time to do so we never run out of beautiful outdoor activities! Tours and excursions tend to be very expensive so we are very selective about which ones we choose. We will talk more about this below, but sometimes we do photography packages for adventure companies in areas where we stay.
Photography - Working with brands
Mike is an incredible commercial outdoor/adventure photographer (if you haven't noticed already). For years he has been passionate about photography! As we travel Mike has clients that he does work for remotely. We have clients in the US, Australia, the UK, and Europe. Some of these clients send us outdoor apparel, or other items, that we photograph as we travel. This is different from social media work as it is paid commercial imagery that we shoot and send to clients. Mike loves what he does and it is really perfect for our travel lifestyle because we are always in new locations for new photos. Check out our work with us page to learn more.
Photography - Social Media
Our social media audience is highly interested in family travel content! They love tips, suggestions, and recommendations on where to travel, eat, and stay for their own families. We are often able to get good deals on hotels, rental cars, and activities if we tag a brand in our social media accounts. This allows us to do more activities and excursions as we travel that we wouldn't typically do. Once again, it's all about reaching out to people in the destinations we choose to visit, and offering something valuable to them. For us, it's amazing photos and a highly engaged audience.
Online Piano Lessons
Before leaving Arizona I was teaching piano to 40+ students, some of who were online students. I had students in Utah, Nevada, Texas, and Massachusetts. Both Mike and I saw the great potential online teaching had as a remote business opportunity. Before we began traveling full-time we tested online lessons by taking shorter trips and teaching while we were away. We found that it worked great as long as I had a quiet room and a good internet connection. I currently teach 12 students weekly no matter where we are in the world! I teach them Mondays - Wednesdays and we make sure we aren't flying or driving somewhere on those days. We've scheduled them in a way that no matter where we are I'm not teaching them in the middle of the night. I have had a had a few 1 am and 4 am lessons, but those were rare, and it's still been worth it! I mostly us WiFi but when that hasn't been available for some reason I just use my 4G cellular data and pay per MB used. We have Google Pixels and use Google Project Fi for our mobile data and we absolutely love it because of the amazing international coverage and ease of use! It works like it would work for us in the US and we pay the same monthly fee as we would in the states. If you are looking for a new and way more affordable phone plan you should check out Project Fi. If you use this link then you'll get a $20 credit.
Are you considering long-term travel?
We hear from so many couples and families who are interested in traveling the world as well. It makes us so happy to see other families having this goal! Please comment below if you have questions about getting started, we would love to help in any way that we can! There are so many factors to consider when traveling full-time and there are a number of ways to do it. We believe that it is 100% possible for anyone to do it. It does take planning, hard work, and sacrificing other things to make it possible. We encourage people to begin by getting out of debt and simplifying their belongings. This will make the transition much easier when it comes! Another way to get started is to start working and making money online. You can start your own business or you can find jobs that allow you to work remotely! Set a goal to make it happen and start working towards that goal now. It took us a few years to get out of debt and several months to simplify our belongings but it has been worth all of the effort and planning.