Is Traveling Cheaper Than Living at Home?
Something I often hear is “I’d love to go traveling, but I just can’t afford it right now.”
When I ask how much money they think it costs to go traveling, the answer is usually a nondescript “Lots…”
How much does traveling the world for a year really cost? $50,000? $75,000? Maybe even $100,000?
According to Nora Dunn, author of The Professional Hobo blog, it’s much less than that.
Nora answered this very question in an article titled ‘Travel full-time for less than $14,000‘.
So is it cheaper to travel the world for a year than to live at home? Well, in most western cities, $14,000 would barely cover the cost of renting a small apartment for a year, let alone living costs as well.
As Nora says, “I am not rich. I am not a trust child, nor do I have rich parents, a sugar daddy, or a stream of income that allows me to live the high life on the road. Full time travel doesn’t have to be expensive, and after two years on the road, I’ve learned plenty of tricks to travel the world without breaking the bank, and without an end in sight.”
Nora recommends avoiding souvenir shops at all costs (and not buying souvenirs in general), as they are the ‘biggest trap’ you can fall into and will end up costing you a lot of money.
She also recommends not signing up for volunteering programs (if your only goal is to save money and travel cheaply) as they can be expensive as well as traveling slowly (i.e. staying in each area for a while), as “the more flights you take, the more money you will spend. The more you have to pack up, hop on a bus, a train, or a taxi, and find a new place to stay, the more money you will spend.”
Of course, Nora makes some pretty broad assumptions in her article. In order to travel this cheaply, you’ll need to get rid of your house and your car (especially if you don’t own them) and be debt-free (among other things) in order to minimize the amount of money coming out of your bank each month in payments.
This idea that traveling costs bundles of money seems to be fairly prevalent in our society. As Charlie Sheen’s character (a rising stock broker) said in the 1987 film ‘Wall Street’ when telling his girlfriend about his dreams, “I think if I can make a bundle of cash before I’m thirty and get out of this racket, I’ll be able to ride my motorcycle across China.”
To many people, this line in the movie would have washed right over them and caused no specific reaction.
This was not the case with Rolf Potts, author of the popular travel book Vagabonding. In Potts’ words, “When I first saw this scene on video a few years ago, I nearly fell out of my seat in astonishment. After all, Charlie Sheen or anyone else could work for eight months as a toilet cleaner and have enough money to ride a motorcycle across China. Even if they didn’t yet have their own motorcycle, another couple months of scrubbing toilets would earn them enough to buy one when they got to China.”
To read Nora’s article in full, click here.
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