I was able to cut down my monthly expenses by 35% in the last year.
Not by living less, but by traveling the world.
I spent the last year in Rio de Janeiro, Medellin, Tulum, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Costa Rica, New York, Lisbon and Bucharest/Constanta. And after almost one year on the road, I can easily say that traveling 365 days a year is less expensive than living full time in most western countries. You take out a huge amount of overhead that doesn’t exist on the road and profit from the lower living costs in other countries.
Besides not having to worry about rent/mortgage, property/city taxes, home furnishings, home maintenance, etc – there’s another big advantage: I can pick up my bags and move to another apartment/city/country whenever I want. Noisy neighbors? Too much rain? Just pack your bags and leave.
And it never gets boring. I do not only meet amazing people along the way, I also get to experience other cultures, visit new cities, enjoy the sun at a tropical beach or satisfy the foodie in me by eating out every single day. And all of that while cutting down living expenses with 35%.
SO HOW MUCH DOES A FULL-TIME LIFESTYLE COST?
It all depends on your location, how long you stay in one place and especially your lifestyle. You can make it as cheap or expensive as you want. When leaving Belgium, the deal was that we would only increase our quality of living. Or in other words, while we already had a good quality of life, we only improved ourselves.
To give you an example, our cheapest rent this year was 550 euro for our 2bed/2bath apartment in Oaxaca, including cleaning 2 times a week. Our designer Medellin apartment was the most expensive with 1750 euro/month. Yet, even with an expensive apartment and several +300 euro/night hotel splurge trips, eating out almost everyday, Sala classes, gym + private trainer 5 days in the week, etc, I still managed to spend less than I did before when living in rainy Belgium.
But even for those on a budget, many countries in Asia will allow you to live with a monthly budget of under 1000 euro. I know many who never spend more than 600-700 euro month. That’s including rent, food, going out, etc. And you can even get that budget lower if you want to.
Take house-sitting for example. You can live rent-free while enjoying a full-time travel lifestyle. If you also cook your own meals in your rent-free location, you bring down expenses to the minimum.
HOW ABOUT FLIGHTS?
Slow travel is the cheapest, and to me the most comfortable way of traveling. It allows me to discover a new place in a relaxed pace while getting work done at the same time.
Flights often take a big part out of a 2 weeks travel budget, full-time travel means flexibility. And it pays off. You can easily fly from Europe to Asia for 450-500 euro, or even catch a promo with Norwegian for as low as 150 euro from Oslo to Bangkok. Flights within Asia are dirt cheap, allowing you to move or go for a visa run whenever you want.
Flights from Europe to Latin America are more expensive, but you should manage to get a flight to Rio for around 550-650 euro. Our flight from Costa Rica, including a stop for a few days in New York, to Boston was just under 300 euro. And that included an upgrade. I even found a flight from Oslo to Bangkok for only 150 euro (!).
Full-time travel is not for the happy few anymore. You can actually save money by moving to another country, or even while discovering new countries every 2, 3 months. It’s a great solution for those who want to launch their own business, and have to come by with a limited budget. It’s a great way to enjoy life for those who are bitten by the travel bug. It’s a great way to say goodbye to a mediocre life and enjoy all the beautiful things the world has to offer.
Tip 1: websites such as Google Flights, adioso.com or skyscanner.com have a fly to “anywhere” option, allowing you to find the best offers out there. Try it out.
Tip 2: Make sure to delete the browser cookies when looking for flights, or go in private browser mode. Travel sites are smart. They recognize your online search behavior and potentially raise prices.