How to Afford Traveling Abroad as a Freelancer: 8 Tips Inside!

“I can’t believe you get to travel for free!”

This is a sentence that a friend of a friend said to me. It is also completely untrue. I’m a freelance writer and I get paid for much of my work, including travel writing. But I pay all the costs for my travels, and I would travel even if I wasn’t a freelancer. Seeing the world is a hobby, a passion, but not a career.

Other people may have their travel paid for, usually as sponsored writers/promoters from companies. Some with a journalistic background can go on a press trip and cover their expenses that way. Even more of these will be part of social media campaigns, and there will be things paid for by tourism boards or big brands.

Traveling freelancer

So, how can a freelancer afford to travel abroad? Read on for some important tips:

1. Start cutting back

Part of being a freelancer is knowing that money won’t always be available. Work may slow down, you may end up getting scammed by a shady client, you may need to save taxes, and of course, you may land a project that takes longer than expected. Whatever the case, you should try to cut costs wherever possible and live a lot leaner.

For example, when I decided to take on less work to focus on building a new site, I went vegetarian. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but since my family made the leap with me, we say we spend over $300 a month on groceries. My partner and I quit smoking, saving another $200 a month. We now only eat out once a week, which saves us another $200. We ditched cable and signed up for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. Another $150 went. Both small and large changes can have a huge financial benefit.

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2. Start saving

Every time you get paid, money should go into your savings account. It doesn’t have to be much, but it has to be something. I get paid weekly and put 30% of each payment into savings. That’s split into three bills: 10% for emergencies, 10% for travel, 10% for year-end taxes. It adds up quickly, while still leaving plenty of money for both bills and fun expenses.

3. Take on extra work when you can

Every now and then you will find that you have more free time than your workload is consuming. Or maybe you’re just willing to give up a weekend or two in the name of a better payout later. Do this from time to time, take that extra money and put it straight into your travel fund.

I spend one day a month working on additional projects. This normally gives me about $100 extra each time, so $1200 more for a big trip each year. Worth the effort.

An excellent option for the future digital nomad is teaching English online, and it is becoming increasingly popular.

Freelance tips

4. Choose affordable travel destinations

They say that food and accommodation in Thailand costs about $20 per day. Choose your destinations wisely, the geoarbitrage way.

5. Take advantage of travel offers

You should always be looking for good travel deals, or spend less. That means there are some things you need to know.

First, it’s always best for your wallet to go out of season. Second, you should always look at flights in incognito or private navigation mode, which doesn’t jack up prices in an attempt to get you to panic buy. Finally, you should follow social media profiles for different businesses in the area you are visiting for coupon codes and special offers.

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6. Go free whenever possible

My last trip was spent almost entirely in places where I didn’t have to enjoy a cent. Beaches, hills to walk, public parks, museums… there’s plenty to do without spending anything. Before you go anywhere, put together a list of free attractions and places to go before you go.

Include enough of these in your itinerary and get the most out of your trip without breaking the bank. This includes finding deals that let you buy one, get one free.

Traveler on a trip

7. Learn to stretch your dollar

Did you know that you can travel around Kiev, Ukraine for around $25 per day, including food, accommodation and transportation? Or that if you go outside London and visit the city during the day you can save hundreds of pounds a day? How about the fact that Prague offers luxury accommodations that would cost around $200 a night elsewhere for $100, and that if you choose to be more modest in your tastes, you can easily get by on around $40 a day ?

There are a lot of places around the world that are fantastic, but also at a very low cost. Stay away from the heavier tourist areas and try a place that isn’t always pushed as much by tour guides. You’ll save a lot of money and still enjoy every second of it.

8. Work on the go

A friend of mine traveled around Europe for four months, and while he paid for his tickets with money he had saved in advance, he did everything else with the money he earned along the way. By staying in cheaper cities and working as he pleased, he successfully traveled abroad while freelancing, largely on a freelancer’s salary. He is proof that it is possible, even if it takes careful planning to make it happen.

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Do you have some tips? Let us know in the comments.

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