How to Travel Pro!
An In-Depth Guide on How to Budget Travel Around the World
Throughout my life people have always asked me how do I afford to Travel? I've always struggled to answer this as there is no simple answer. Quite frankly I don't travel like 99% of everyone else. I don't look at it like vacationing at all. I don't even look at it like traveling. I look at it like living strategically to get the most out of what life and the world has to offer!
This last statement is a matter of opinion. For the past dozen years "getting the most out of life and what the world has to offer" has been about having time to do what I want; not doing what someone else wants me to do. This translates directly into what many would regard as a terrible work ethic. I simply haven't worked a real job of any sort in over a decade.
Instead, I've spent my time learning how the world works through experience. Discovering new places, new cultures, and new ways of doing things and doing so in a fun adventurous way. This would not have been possible if I was living paycheck to paycheck working a 9-5 like so many do.
To someone else getting the most of what life has to offer may be about building a business, having lot's of money, toys, and notoriety within their community. This is kind of a humble disclaimer, explaining that my way is not the best way or only way; it could be someone's worst nightmare. Living non-local in many different countries how I do works for me. I've mastered the art of Living Travel Pro and that is what this book is all about!
Chapter One: Get Your Money Straight!
I could have titled this part, get your time straight. Have you ever heard that expression "Time is Money". Well it's true even if you don't have a job, don't have much income, and you just want to be free to roam the planet living out of a backpack.
If you ain't got no money, you ain't got no freedom! Feel free to quote me on that! Without any freedom your world of options, choices, and possibilities are limited. You can say, without any money your options, choices, and possibilities are limited.
So first and for most if you want to Live Travel Pro you're going to need endless free time, plenty of options and choices. Which means your going to need money; and not just a few hundred bucks you borrow from a friend. You're going to need a never ending supply of money; something most people call an "income".
So how do you get an income without working is the first thing most people would ask. Well, there are many ways and they all usually start with someone working very hard and saving a bunch of money and investing it. If you can start to run your life like you are a lending bank rather than a borrowing credit card holder this would help you out immensely!
I personally have had waves of money come and go throughout my life, and what I've done with these waves of money has had much to do with the freedom I have. My first wave of money came at a young age of 20-24 working 60 hours a week in South Korea running my own teaching business.
I was able to squander most of it. But I learned never to do that again. But I did end up with a house, which gave me a long term rental income. So now I'm a landlord/ real estate investor at the young age of 24. I was no longer trading hours for dollars. I was trading rental space for dollars. I had free time and income.
So one way to get your money straight is get an income that doesn't occupy your time; often through investment. How you get that first chunk of money can be through hard work and business building like me. It can be through your great uncle Tony who passed away and left you something. It could be through slow and steady saving over a decade of hard work. It could be from those five bit-coins you bought a couple years ago at 100 dollars a piece!
One thing is for sure is that you can't even begin to Live Travel Pro if you're broke, in debt, living pay check to pay check, and just struggling to live how you are at the moment. You have get a nice chunk of cash and get it working for you in a safe way.
Living Travel Pro is not about becoming a millionaire, it's about becoming a millionaire in free time. That does not take nearly as big of an investment or risk! What you do with your free time is up to you! I choose to travel and live internationally actually maximizing my spending power in other countries; something we'll learn all about later.
Chapter Two: Work for Your Money or Have Your Money Work for You!
In this chapter we will go into further detail about how you can get your money working for you and alternatives to having an income straight from a large lump sum investment. We'll cover how much money you really need to live this lifestyle, what it means to be a digital nomad, and what it means to be a Travel Pro!
What are some other ways to get your money working for you safely?
This really depends on where you are and what your country of residence has to offer. I'll first explain an entire huge asset class that you can't rely on. Any investment where you only make money if "it" goes up or down. You need a steady, reliable income if you're going to Live Travel Pro!
So with this in mind stocks, bonds, random currencies, bit-coin, cryptos, exchange traded funds (ETFs); even if you are 100% certain they are going to go up in value the reality is that you nor anyone has a crystal ball. So I would consider all these speculative investments that can be played with; just not to solidify a secure Travel Pro Life. These are the investments that very well could make you a millionaire, but they could also make you broke.
The best and most secure investment I can think of is lost in time in the 1970's in the United States. That would be a simple insured savings account. Interest rates were around 8% for most of that decade. So if you put 100,000 dollar in the bank, every year (12 month cycle) you would earn approximately an insured 10,000 dollars annualy on that money; and that's in 1970s money!
Why am I saying this when it no longer exists? Well it actually does exist in certain countries around the world. Ecuador being one of them. This is where I have a nice chunk of money earning me more than 9% insured. But there are some strings attached if you are not Ecuadorian, there is a visa and residency process to get involved with. They use the USD dollar in this country so there is no risk of holding another currency which is often more volatile. So this is one option for those willing to do so.
Other than that for most citizens of western countries you really have no safe and insured place to get a good secure return on investment. Since interest rates are around zero offering no return on your money, it's forced almost everyone into the stock markets around the world, which is a speculative and highly risky place to be at these valuations. If you got in back in 2009-2014 I'd surely be taking profits here.
Unfortunately we no longer have 1970's insured interest rates in the western world and the reality is there is no safe place to get a safe ROI on your investment now. So I really don't have the answer. What I'd probably do if you can't just commit to living in Ecuador for a while nor want to, is go to rental income. That is probably your best bet at this point. For secure and steady income.
However that can come with a bunch of headaches and risks too. Everything from poor management, to lousy tenants to your building burning down or just needing some serious repairs! One thing is for sure, if you want to live Travel Pro you have to get a solid income through investment without eating into your savings. Once you start eating away at your savings, you'll find yourself back at square one before you know it.
How much income do you need to Live Travel Pro?
This depends on how well you are at the other aspects of Living Travel Pro which we'll discuss later. As a general rule, I'd say you'd want no less than 750 dollars a month income. Obviously the more the better, but I've Lived Travel Pro on as little as 500, even less when I had to. However the less money you have, the less fun you'll have, the less travel options you'll have, and quite frankly the less you'll even really want to live Travel Pro.
Do I need to have investment income? What about another source of income?
Absolutely you can live Travel Pro from another source of Income. If you can make money from your computer you can basically Live Travel Pro! But, you'll be much more like a Digital Nomad than a Travel Pro. Living Travel Pro is all about having free time to do what you want and seeing the world. If you are busy computer programming, blogging, consulting, teaching English or whatever it is you do from your computer 40 hours a week then you will be much more of a stationary digital nomad tied to your work.
Now that being said. Getting this 1,000 dollar a month steady income from investment is often easier said than done. I don't get a full guaranteed 1,000 a month from investments. I get about 75% of that. I make up the rest from teaching English through skype for about 3 hours a week, and now through my efforts on steemit I'm earning much more. Earning money through your own talents builds self esteem and the feeling of productivity but if it turns into a full time job; then that is exactly what you have.
Chapter 3: Less is More!
A key part of living life Travel Pro is keeping things simple, using the philosophy of less is more. Many people living a "normal life" may think that traveling around, and around, and around! May be the least simple and most complicated life one can have; but quite frankly it is the opposite. I live one of the most simple, free, exciting, and educational lives of anyone I know. In this chapter I give you an idea of why this is true; and it all begins with Less is More!
One of the key things to simplifying your life is not owning much. The more I've owned in the past the more complicated my life has gotten. I was so struck by the "American Dream" and having the means to obtain that at a young age, was surely the catalyst that pushed me towards how I live now.
Things turn into "STUFF"
When I was living "The American Dream" which quickly turned into "The American Nightmare" I had everything at age twenty-two. I had a five bedroom house in Orlando Florida, swimming pool, two car garage, a bar, patio, pool table, pool cues, triangle, pool table chalk, king size bed, big screen TVs in every room, Saab convertible, an oven, a fridge, ice maker, house phone, cell phone, iron, ironing board, lots of clothes, pool toys, lawn mower, weed wacker, drill, paint, paint rollers, paint trays, fence, extra fence panels, silverware, cutting boards, rags, dish towels, dishwasher, glue, tape, kitchen junk drawer, leather furniture, Play Station, video games, Ice cream maker, waffle iron....
And it goes on....George Foreman grill, a gas grill, grill cleaning supplies, long handle grill fork and spatula, chandelier, patio furniture, patio furniture umbrella that grew mold every year, Phillips head screw driver, flat head screw driver, pliers, hammer, light bulbs, extra light bulbs, chlorine tabs, pool vacuum, regular vacuum (one broken one new), pool pump, bench press, weights, insecticides, fire ant killer, hoses, cleaning supplies, a mop, a broom, cutlery, blender, dining table, hard wood floors, paper towel holder, hard wood floor cleaner, welcome mat, throw rugs, curtains, desk, chairs, pic-nick table, bicycles, baseballs, baseball gloves, football, basket balls, a basket ball hoop, skate board, tennis rackets air pump, air beds, air vacuum pump, a hammock, palm trees, gardens, lamps, washing machine, dryer, two dozen paintings hung on walls, fire wood, a fire pit, surround sound speakers, sound system, 5 disc DVD player, jewelry, coat hangers.....I had everything! Or did it have me?
After living travel pro for over 11 years now. I can tell you with a straight face, it had me! It had me by the throat. The time it took away from me to take care of all this "STUFF" and the expense it took to maintain all this "STUFF" was choking the life out of me. Making me poor and miserable. Just imagine the endless hours I spent buying all this stuff, maintaining it, and eventually trying to resell it. However I'm not against owning things, quite frankly the very best thing anyone can own is a big fat bank account. That you have my full approval of!
I haven't owned a car in over 10 years now. Nor do I miss it at all. For starters, you have to have your car washed, you have to change it's oil, you have to vacuum and clean out the inside every so often, you have to fix it when it breaks, you have to replace it's tires on occasion, you have to pay for it's insurance, you have to buy it gasoline, you have to maintain a license to drive it.
Quite frankly the list goes on and on. How much money do you spend on your car every year including gasoline? How much time do you spend dealing with anything related to your car including standing next to the pump watching those numbers go up? Do you own your car, or does you car own you? How many hours do you need to work to own and maintain a car. Is it one week of work a year or two or three months? Do you give 10% of your life up or 20% to have a car? For a Travel Pro it's zero!
Now I'm no fool, I personally wouldn't live long term in the USA without a car and quite frankly I see it as a real necessity in my country. However I can also look at it like a tax to live decently. I find living in the USA simply a bad deal on life unless you are straight up wealthy, and that is "wealthy" at American standards. Living travel pro, you simply do not need nor want to own a car, nor live in the USA. Further more living travel pro means you live, travel, and get around all over the planet without a car. It's cheaper, easier, and frankly owning one would be a burden.
So less is more when you travel pro! We can break it down to even simpler things in life. How about owning a video game console. Sure you can sit on your sofa and play endless hours of games until your eyes are red and bloodshot, and trust me I have.
So you have your PS3 or whatever, and the joy stick starts to malfunction, now you've got to deal with fixing it or buying a new one. Uggh, your cousin just spilled soda all of your game console. Can't have a game console without games or a television, of course bigger is better. Let's hook up a surround sound system to it as well.
How come this right speaker stopped working? This game keeps freezing up. Better get in my car and head over to Best Buy.....Wait a minute where did I put that warranty? Does my credit card only have 150 dollars left on it? Really! Maybe I shouldn't have bought such a big TV for my PS3. Uggh I can't even play the game on it, it keeps freezing!
How Do You Want to Live?
Is this your life? Or at least someone you know. This is what I mean about less is more and how people complicate their lives. Living travel pro means being able to fit all your possessions into a bag and not having to worry about vacuuming carpets, doing dishes, cleaning a desk, mowing a lawn, paying an electric bill, shoveling snow, buying a shovel to shovel snow, buying paint, or painting a room, or ever having to make another purchase from home depot ever again!
Really the list goes on and on. For example living travel pro I don't have one single reoccurring bill I pay. Not even health insurance as I know any health emergency I have will be cheaper out of pocket with equal care in about a dozen countries I can list off the top of my head. No water bills, no electric bills, no insurances I pay nothing.
Being free of the burden of bills and the need and expense to take care of all my stuff was one of the most rewarding and relieving things I've ever done in my life. When I hear others complain about all their expenses and having to deal with the maintenance of their "STUFF". I just think to myself, thank goodness that is not me anymore. I try to offer advice but it often falls on deaf ears.
Chapter 4: Clean Up Your Life!
This Chapter could be called "Less is More Part Two". As we are still on the topic of cleaning up and simplifying our lives so we can Live Travel Pro! We have now discussed why Less is More is a Travel Pro Philosophy and how it is a key part in simplifying one's life. In this part we will talk a little bit about how we can make this happen.
One must first understand that more "STUFF" is more "STUFF" and less "STUFF" is more "FREEDOM". Less bills and less purchases equals more money saved. More money saved equals more freedom too. More freedom equals more free time and that is what living Travel Pro is all about; being extremely wealthy in free time! Having less things to take care of means more time to take care of yourself and live the life that you want!
Where do I begin? I'm already drowning in debt, bills, and STUFF!
Cleaning up ones life, cleaning up one's mess, or even worse stated; cleaning up the living hell one has created for themselves! This is probably is one of the most challenging steps to accomplish in order to live Travel Pro.
It took me over a year and with help from others to completely relieve myself of the mess I created from years of accumulating STUFF. I was able to get all my STUFF down to the point where I have one box of memorable things I can't throw away which is stored with my father; and everything else I can fit in my backpack.
If you've ever seen that TV show Hoarders, what they do on that show is basically the process. If you really want to live Travel Pro and travel the world endlessly with hardly an ounce of worry, concern, or stress; you will have to get rid of almost everything you own!
What!!! But I can't get rid of my cast iron skillet, I've been using it for 10 years I love this skillet. What about my wedding photos! Is this Travel Pro guy insane? What about my diploma hanging on the wall. This is my favorite blanket since I was a child. My baseball glove I've had since, forever!
Do you own these things? Or do they own you? Like I said I have a box of stuff I would never throw away, but trust me I've thrown away things many people probably would not have. You literally are going to have to give up some things you cherish or that box being stored at Aunt Suzzy's house gets bigger and bigger.
I would start the process, by going through your house from top to bottom, and just start throwing out stuff that is more or less garbage. You know, that spring cleaning mentality. It's a great place to start.
From there you have a garage sale or a series of garage sales, then you give the rest away to charity or to friends. Finally you have two piles; one is for what you'll be traveling with and it can fit into a backpack and the other is that box of things you just can't throw away, like photo albums and such. That goes to a trusted family member or friend.
During this whole process you are selling your house or time is leading up to that rental lease running out. Preferably you're selling the house coming into a huge chunk of cash to get working safely for you or you'll be renting the house and having that rental income help you Live Travel Pro.
Also around this time you are going to need to sell your car; and in comes another pile of cash or at least the end of recurring car loan payments. No more insurance payments and pumping gasoline becomes a thing of the past. You're almost Living Travel Pro!
All Cleaned up and Ready to Travel Pro!
Since you just uprooted yourself from all your stuff. You'll now be in the position to start planning your first travel rout and explore some parts of the world you've always wanted to. Start slow, travel slow, and get a feel for your new lifestyle.
Saying goodbye to friends and family may be a huge challenge for you, and for others you may feel you can't get away fast enough! However this is one of the more difficult parts. Before committing to life Travel Pro you have to consider if you can or want to separate from all your stuff as well as the people and community you will be leaving; and if your new found freedom will be worth it in the first place.
However one thing that will naturally happen at this point upon your first travel venture is this mind blowing realization. Let's say you're nervous so you want to just take it easy close to the states and you spend your first Travel Pro month in a lovely place in Mexico called Playa Del Carmen.
You make a Travel Pro Deal and rent a furnished small apartment walking distance form the beach for $100 a week no deposit, no contract, all included. Well, suddenly you'll realize....last month this time you had a $250 electric bill to pay, rent was $850, internet and cable was another $120, Water bill that was $50, cellphone is minimal pay as you go, car insurance that was another $60. Holy Smokes! You literally have no bills to pay!
Chapter Five: Don't Travel Strictly for Pleasure!
In the previous chapters we primarily focused on all that needs to be done to gain the freedom of time, so you can live the life you want, whether it's a life of travel or something else. In the remaining parts of this book we are going to delve into the art of Traveling Pro and the Travel Pro Lifestyle!
For starters if you think living Travel Pro is all about vacationing, luxury, and an endless high of self gratification; you couldn't be further from the truth. Being Travel Pro, is simply living a strategic international lifestyle which offers financial freedom and escape from the confines of societal expectations; which often rob you of your freedoms.
An absolute essential aspect of Living Travel Pro is you simply cannot travel strictly for pleasure. You have to travel to give yourself a financial edge. If you just travel for pleasure you'll blow your budget at every move. You'll run out of money and be back behind the financial eight-ball before you know it. You'll once again be living life to make money, instead of living life Travel Pro.
I'll give you a perfect example. I'm now traveling through South America. I've booked ten flights taking me from the northern Peruvian city of Piura, through 13 cities, five countries, stopping in Florida, and finally ending up in New York City, after visiting Patagonia Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina.
This itinerary has been made for almost exactly one thousand dollars total! It's spread out over ten weeks. I'm traveling faster than my normal speed; but I'm excited about the adventure. This rout wasn't created because it's exactly what my heart desired. It was based on a combination of fiscal responsibility, great airline tickets, and personal interest of destinations.
If I was traveling strictly for pleasure, I would be skipping to destinations like Rio De Janeiro. I'd hop a flight to the Peruvian Amazon. I'd take the luxury train for 450 dollars each way from Cusco to Machupichu. I'd take a luxury cruise from Valpariaso Chile down to Patagonia instead of a 35 dollar flight.
Basically I'd blow my budget in one big irresponsible vacation mindset, ready to go back to work for the next 50 weeks a year. Giving yourself limitations and staying on budget is of up-most importance. If you choose to just do what feels good and ignoring your budget, you won't be traveling for very long unless you are extremely wealthy and a savvy investor.
To live this life you have to be willing to go to where the destination is affordable. If a cheap flight to Santiago Chile is in the cards, then hang there for a week or two. Learn about the city, try to assimilate into their culture. Live life like the locals as much as you can, not like a tourist. If it's endless spending and tourist activities that you can't stop yourself from doing, then watch your budget be blown in no time and you'll be backed into a financial corner, and unable to Travel Pro!
Live your life, get a good deal on a hotel, eat at local restaurants, avoid the tourist mindset. Don't do expensive tours, instead just explore places on your own time, pace, and leisure for free. Make friends with the locals whenever possible and experience the culture. Let your budget lead you to your destinations while appreciating the fact that you can go to these locations in the first place.
Never have the mindset of fear of missing out. Never think I'm in Lima Peru because I got a good deal on airfare to come here, but I really want to be in London and Lima stinks. Always appreciate the freedom you have to be where you are. Be happy you are not stuck in a 9-5 job living paycheck to paycheck saving up for that two week vacation, just to set you back at zero once it's all over.
Love the fact that you can float around the world with a Travel Pro Strategy and not have the financial pressures of what one would consider everyday life. Enjoy each location and experience it for what it has to offer without complaints wishing you were at Disneyland or some fantasy like destination.
Finally understand that happiness and pleasure comes from with-in. There is no destination on the planet that will make you happy. So be the pleasure where ever you are and don't travel for pleasure! Stay on budget and travel for an enlightening lifestyle that is affordable and more meaningful than just self gratification. Simply live life Travel Pro and enjoy what each destination has to offer regardless of where you are!
Chapter Six: Maximize Your Purchasing Power Through International Living!
A key part of being Travel Pro is all about purchasing power. Every country around the world your purchasing power changes. Just crossing the border from one country into the next could have you spending double at every turn or cutting your expenses in half. Just a move in the exchange rates can have your expenses changing significantly in one direction or the other. In this chapter we are going to talk all about how to make this work for you and show you how you can live very well for very little all around the globe!
I often choose my destinations on where my money goes the furthest. This is probably the main reason I've been traveling for over eleven years and have mostly avoided going to Europe! Going to a place like Europe is full of countries I personally call "Pay More Get Less Countries". Meaning you have to pay more for everything and get less in return.
I enjoy second and third world countries with low crime and stable governments. Countries where your thousand dollar per month income immediately puts you at the top of the economic social scale. These countries I call "Pay Less Get More Countries". Meaning you pay less for everything and get more in return.
The things I basically spend my money on day to day is not much different then most people around the world. Food and Rent; travel expense, clothes, and other random things that plays in just a bit as well, but I can actually put off clothes, electronics, and other shopping until I'm in a country that offers great deals.
For example electronics, the US basically can't be beat, clothes third world countries especially ones that produce it for cheap like Peru, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia. Travel expense, strategies on that is another book entirely. However, food and rent is your daily expense that can't be avoided.