How Can People Afford to Travel the World? Do This…

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Kevin Hayler: Professional Wildlife artist, author, and traveler.

You don’t have to be rich to travel the world, in many ways having money kills the fun. I had my best adventures when I was broke. So how can you afford to travel? what’s the secret?

  • Focus On the Dream of Travelling the World
  • Don’t party, buy ‘stuff’ or dine out. 
  • Be frugal and use hostels and homestays
  • Choose the cheapest transport. 
  • Work or volunteer to stretch things out
  • Play the tax system

In this article, I will tell you how I managed to travel with next to nothing in the days before the internet was even a ‘thing’ and contrast it with how I can afford to travel now.

I’ll also outline the common ways other people get by. Is being a digital nomad all it’s cracked up to be for instance? 

Let’s find out.

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Focus On the Dream of Travelling the World

And before you ask, no I don’t come from a wealthy background, I grew up in public housing, with a single mum on benefits. I’m an ordinary working-class guy who had a dream and I went for it. 

I never had much money and I don’t take it for granted, yet I’ve managed to spend about a third of my life traveling abroad. 

How is that possible? 

Well, I remember coming back from backpacking through East Africa in the ’80s (yep I’m that old) and arriving home with next to nothing. I’d spent it all. 

What was I to do? 

  • I bought the cheapest tent.
  • Pitched up at a campsite
  • Bought a 2nd hand bike.

I had only £75 in the world and I cycled around all the local plant nurseries until I found a summer job.

6 months later I was back in Africa

This is an extreme example, but the point is, it can be done. If you have the will, the right focus, and the mindset, you can make things happen.


Black and white landscape with elephants in Ol Pejeta Reserve in Kenya. Authors own photo proving how I can afford to travel
Ol Pejeta Game Reserve. Kenya

It’s all very well dreaming but in the end, it comes down to cold hard cash and unless you have the bank of Mum and Dad, that means…

Working your butt off!

The only way I could afford to travel was to prioritize the things that meant the most to me

Let’s use the word ‘sacrifice’. What are you willing to give up in order to gain something else?

There is only one way to travel if you haven’t got the ready cash.

It means more nights in, no dining out, or going out drinking. You have to cut down on your cappuccinos and take a packed lunch to work. Do you really need a car? What about overtime? Can you work 6 days a week? what about 7? These are the decisions you have to make.

I did all that at the beginning. I’m better off now, but I’m still frugal. I don’t throw cash around buying new ‘toys’. These days I live on my boat in the summer and it gives me a home base to come back to. That’s enough for me.

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty – saving money.

How to Save Money So You Can Afford to Travel

It’s all very well having a job, but the cost of living these days is insane. Saving money can be very hard, I’m not underplaying the scale of the task. It’s harder now than when I was young. But here are a few ideas to consider.

Save Money on Accommodation

For most people, a supportive family is an obvious solution to an immediate need. Can you kip in a spare room? What about friends, can anyone put you up? I understand if this isn’t viable for everyone, it wasn’t for me, but boy does it help if you have a strong network to call on.

Free accommodation allows you to save up money quickly, if you find it, grab it.

I spent a few summers living out of a campervan. That solved the problem for a while. This is fine if you are young and it’s only a means to an end. It saves you a ton of cash. That said, it’s not without drawbacks.

For the most part, living in your motorhome is frowned upon socially. There is a stereotype associated with ‘travelers’ that is hard to overcome. It’s not fair and it shouldn’t matter but somehow it does. The nomadic lifestyle is a threat to people.

And there’s the practical side. What about your mail? You must have a postal address to do anything these days. What about a toilet, washing, and laundry? There are issues to consider.

Hopefully, you have family that will take your mail, if you don’t your life will be difficult.

Ideally, you need to find a site or premises that will allow you to park up long term. Parking along the side of a road is not fun, I know that from experience. Ask around. Someone might be happy for you to park up and be extra security for them.

Or how about renting a driveway from someone who needs some extra money?

For many years I lived in a youth hostel. Sometimes I worked in-house, at other times I used it as cheap digs. Later on, I had a few good years renting a place from friends. I was lucky, they had property free just when I needed it. I could rent on the cheap.

That couldn’t last forever so when it stopped I bought the boat.

A boat is like a floating motorhome but without the stigma attached. Having a boat is seen as Bohemian. It’s perfectly acceptable. I can describe myself as a wildlife artist who travels and lives on a boat. It sounds so romantic, doesn’t it? I should cheer up a bit really!


Dive boats in Komodo National Park. Authors photo as proof that ordinary people can afford to travel
Not my boat. I wish. Dive boat in Komodo NP

This is my compromise for living cheaply these days, it’s how I can afford to travel so often. If you are a couple, it’s a great way of saving a ton of cash.

Most marinas offer cheap moorings and all the facilities you need and that suits me fine.

Save Money on Entertainment

Be warned, hard-core saving means that your social life will take a hit. Unless your wages are very good, entertainment is the first thing to go. 

You’ll have to cut down on boozy nights out, restaurants are a no-no, and so is your morning Starbucks. Save hard and stay in.

Cook for yourself and have friends around. Don’t buy your lunch, make it. Take a flask to work. Why not? It all adds up. A latte costs about £3.00 ($3.80) where I live. Times that by 7 and that’s £21 ($26.67) per week.

That’s the budget for a whole day in most of Asia, food, lodging, and money enough to rent a scooter for the day. That’s how I think.

Save Money on Shopping

I’ve never been much of a shopper. I buy only what I can afford, and that means I NEVER borrow money. So many people take borrowing money for granted, not me.

I see debt as a burden. It confines you and you become a slave to the system. I find no joy in having ‘stuff’. As far as I’m concerned, ‘things’ need storing, maintaining, and securing. The fewer things I own, the happier I am.

You can take it too far of course, and I knew I had a problem when I bought a camera while I was living in a campsite. I was so overwhelmed by the burden that it represented, that I gave it to a charity shop the following day. I was too embarrassed to take it back to the shop.

For more rational folk, buy less, fix things, and buy cheaper. Shopping is a dopamine hit and not long-lasting. I get more joy from repairing something than I do from buying a replacement.

Save Money on Transport

I made the biggest saving recently by ditching my car. Well, actually it ditched me.

My old rust-bucket finally gave up and I had to scrap it. Instead of looking for a new one, I bought a new pushbike with a trailer and I saved a fortune.

Do I miss it? I must admit I do occasionally, but I can always rent a car now and then. And cycling is good for me. It’s amazing how quickly you get cycling fit again, and as an added bonus you can enjoy finger-wagging at passing polluters!

If you need wheels for work, have you considered downsizing to a scooter? Or an e-bike?

Being car-less also means I take trains and buses more now than I ever did in the past. It’s not convenient and not always that cheap, but savings are there if you plan ahead or buy saver tickets.

How to Save Money Preparing For Your Trip

Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. There is no point sacrificing everything only to throw away money on overpriced flights, insurance, and hotel bookings.

  1. Booking Advance Flights: Buying tickets in advance is usually cheaper. Keep an eye out for deals, and sign up for newsletters.
  2. Travel Off-Peak: Consider traveling during the off-peak season or shoulder season to save money. Fly midweek and at night to make big savings.
  3. Credit Cards: Look for credit cards that offer the best exchange rates abroad. I’m in the UK, and I save a fortune with my Clarity card from the Halifax Bank.
  4. Travel Insurance: There are huge savings to be made by shopping around for insurance policies. Use comparison sites.
  5. Pack Light: Many airlines charge for checked baggage. Packing light and only taking carry-on luggage saves money. Buy things you need when you arrive.
  6. Bring Your Own Food: Buying food at the airport or on the plane can be expensive. If your airline allows it, pack your own meals and snacks.
  7. Public Transport: Calculate how much money it costs to get to and from an airport. Be prepared to sleep at the airport if you have to.

How to Save Money by Finding Cheap Flights

If you’re like me, you have a vague idea about where and when you want to fly but nothing concrete.

It’s OK to be indecisive but there are drawbacks. Flights are cheaper if you book well in advance. You’ll need to be flexible with exact dates.

It really helps if you have a clear destination in mind. I’m usually flying somewhere in Asia. 

Most of my trips are in winter. I leave the UK in November and return again in April. The choice of cheap flights is best in October and as Christmas gets closer the prices go up.

I can usually find cheap deals up until Nov 30th, after that, there is usually a steep jump in airfares. 

There was a time when I would simply buy the cheapest tickets I could find, but those days are all but over. Now I consider the added transport costs of getting to and from the airport and the departure and arrival times. Personally, I don’t want early starts and late arrivals.

My preference is for a direct flight. I look for promos and offers and sometimes I get lucky. Then I look for short layovers on a direct route. A couple of hours to stretch your legs is the perfect transit time.

Lastly, I look for long layovers with the possibility of breaking the journey for some sleep.

How To Find The Cheapest Flights

Firstly, I look at the comparison sites:

Then I check the airlines directly to see what they are offering. If I see some good deals I note them down.

N.B. I used to check the high street travel agents here in the UK, but the best brokers went bust during the pandemic, much to my distress. I suspect the same thing happened in most places.

Before the lockdown, I would find the best deals, visit an agent and ask them to match or beat the best deal. I enjoyed buying my ticket from a friendly person. Now I have to put up with the emptiness and frustration of doing it all online. Such is modern life.

Flight Clubs and Onward Tickets

A fairly new development has been the emergence of flight clubs. They are sites that crawl the web for amazing flight deals. You sign up for their newsletters and they send you the latest bargains on offer. 

Free membership gets you a few deals and paid subscribers get the rest. Some offers are crazy cheap. I joined Jacks Flight Club with a quarterly membership for £15 ($19). I had plenty of offers but nowhere I usually go, so I didn’t use any.

I’m on the fence about them, but they might suit you.

Check these companies out:

Another fairly new option has been the emergence of onward ticket sites.

For a small fee, they will issue you with a legitimate onward or return-ticket booking which cancels after 48hrs. It allows travelers to enter a country demanding proof of an onward journey.

This is very useful if you are hopping around between countries. 

Try these sites:

Expect to pay about $12 for a temporary ticket.

also has a 24-hour refund policy which allows you to book a flight, cross the border and get your money back.

Another way to achieve the same result is to book a sacrificial bus or ferry ride out of the country. A search online for bus companies is easy enough. I managed to find a $10 ferry crossing from Indonesia to Singapore to use as proof of an onward ticket.

I’ve done the same thing with plane tickets offered on promo deals. I booked an AirAsia.com flight for $20 and never used it.

Some people fake their tickets but for the sake of $12, it’s not worth the risk. 

Before the pandemic, budget airlines had sprung up everywhere, especially in Asia. They were so ubiquitous that they were often the first choice of travel. Having been back to Asia since then, the industry has been hit hard. The competition has shrunk.

Deals are there to be had, but the giveaways are few and far between. Most airlines quoting super low prices, no longer include baggage. The only way to grab these deals is to travel with hand luggage only.

Cheap flights undoubtedly opened up formally remote areas and many of these services have been cut. Whether that’s a plus point or a minus is debatable.

It does mean that to reach those special out-of-the-way places, you have to make an effort. There are still buses and sometimes trains. We know it’s better for the environment, and it is usually cheaper. We should all use terrestrial transport more.


An approaching storm on the pacific coast of Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. Budget travel
Approaching Storm Costa Rica

Besides, there is something to be said for overland travel. It makes life interesting. You see daily life, meet the locals, plus, taking an overnight sleeper train is good fun!

I’m trying to cut down on my short-haul flights now. I took my first overnight bus in years recently and it wasn’t so bad.

Travel Credit Cards

Don’t make the mistake of using your credit card abroad without checking the rates. There are specialist cards that give international exchange rates and have no fees, or very small fees, for ATM withdrawals.

They save you a considerable amount of money when you use them correctly.

Pay your bill in full:  Set up a direct debit before you leave and pay your bill at the end of the month.  Otherwise, your high-interest rates will cost you a lot of money. Keep enough travel funds in your bank account.

Pick the local currency: ATMs ask if you want to use your own or the local currency conversion rates. Always choose the local rates. The same applies if a retailer asks you how you’d like to pay. Choose the local currency

Pay with your card: It’s almost always cheaper to pay for goods and services with your credit card than to withdraw cash. Some cards also have a cashback incentive.

Take the right card: Not all card companies are accepted universally. Research your destination to ensure you are taking the right card. Visa, Mastercard, or American Express.

I’ll be honest. These tips apply to British credit card holders. The banking system is different in the States and I’m not knowledgeable enough to suggest the best deals. I can however, suggest a Wise card because I signed up.


You can also choose to , download the app, and receive a .

Wise account homepage screenshot

Wise allows users to manage money internationally. This is a great service. If you ever need to transfer money abroad this service beats the likes of Western Union and Paypal hands down.

Here’s how Wise works:

  1. Sign up with Wise: You can sign up with Wise by providing your email address and creating a password. You can also use Google or Facebook.
  2. Create a Wise account: The Wise account lets you manage money internationally. You can hold money in 50+ currencies, and convert them at the real exchange rate within the platform. It’s free to sign up, and there are no monthly fees
  3. Send money: You can send money with Wise by typing in how much you’d like to transfer and letting Wise know what kind of transfer you’re making. You’ll need to fill in your details and tell Wise where it is being sent.
  4. Receive money: You can receive money with Wise by providing your account details to the person or business that is sending you money. You can also use your Wise account to receive payments from customers if you have a business account.
  5. Spend money: You can spend money in different currencies around the world with the Wise card and get low conversion fees. You can also withdraw cash from ATMs. In the UK the limit is 2 free withdrawals of up to £200. Then it’s 0.50 pence + 1.75% fee per withdrawal
  6. Manage your money: You can manage your online and use the Wise app to manage your money on the go.

Wise charges small and very competitive fees for its services, and is generally much cheaper than traditional banks. Wise also uses the real mid-market exchange rates and is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement (US) and FCA (UK) amongst other international regulators

I have started to use it as a very handy backup for my Clarity Credit Card (UK)

Compare Travel Insurance

Do not accept any offer of travel insurance without checking the competition first. There are great deals to be had if you look around.

This is where comparison sites come into their own. It’s a hassle and I hate doing it, but with a little patience, you can save a great deal of money.

Check out these U.S. comparison sites:

  • InsureMyTrip: InsureMyTrip allows you to compare different travel insurance policies from various providers. It includes long-term and multi-trip plans, which are ideal for long-term travelers.
  • SquareMouth: SquareMouth allows you to filter by specific needs, including long-term travel. It’s easy to compare comprehensive plans covering everything from medical emergencies to trip cancellations.
  • TravelInsurance.com: TravelInsurance.com allows you to compare various travel insurance policies, including long-term and annual policies. It allows you to sort by coverage limits, deductibles, and other factors.

Check these British comparison sites:

  • MoneySavingExpert: MoneySavingExpert isn’t a comparison site in itself but offers great advice on finding the best travel deals. It provides users with a wide range of financial tips, including finding the best insurance and holiday deals.
  • CompareTheMarket: One of the UK’s most well-known comparison websites, Compare The Market allows you to compare prices on a range of travel insurance policies, including single trip, annual multi-trip, and specialist cover.
  • GoCompare: GoCompare offers a comprehensive comparison service for travel insurance. You can tailor your search based on the type of cover you need (single trip, multi-trip, long stay) and compare different insurers’ prices and offerings.
  • MoneySuperMarket: MoneySuperMarket is another top UK comparison site where you can compare prices on a wide variety of travel insurance policies. They offer detailed filters to help you find exactly the type of cover you need.
  • Confused.com is one of the UK’s first and longest-running insurance comparison websites. They offer comparisons for various types of travel insurance, including single-trip, annual multi-trip, and winter sports.

This is how to lower your premiums:

  1. Pay a higher excess to lower the premium
  2. Pay for medical emergencies only. The only thing that really matters is your health.
  3. Consider purchasing an annual policy if you travel frequently, as it can be cheaper than buying multiple single-trip policies. Policies have a 90-day limit for each individual trip.
  4. Ask to exclude pre-existing medical conditions

I’ve had this company recommended by a travel blogger friend of mine. It’s called Safetywing and it covers long-term travelers and digital nomads. You can even purchase their policies while you’re traveling and that is rare.

Find Julie at TheBambooTraveler. You won’t believe how comprehensive her travel blogs are.

How to Save Money as You Travel

Saving up money to go traveling might be an endurance test but when you arrive in a developing country all that sacrifice makes sense.


Boating around Kaleodeo National Park after the monsoon in India. Flooded landscape with tree islands and reflections. Very affordable travel
Keoladeo National Park. India

Much of this world is still incredibly cheap, especially Southeast Asia. Your money goes a long, long way. 

This post will give you some advice: How Does it Feel to Travel Alone? Pros and Cons

If you can’t afford to eat out at home, in Asia there’s no reason to eat in. Public transport costs very little and accommodation is a bargain.  Honestly, anyone can afford to travel in Asia. The major cost is the initial flight.

The way to make your money stretch further, and control your travel expenses, is to be selective and keep within a travel budget. There is no point in denying yourself, that defeats the reason for getting away, but common sense must prevail.

It’s easy to get carried away by the low costs and live to excess. Have a travel fund and keep within your average daily allowance. I’ve seen so many guys drink their budget away, and for what? A drunken hazy memory in a foreign country? To each his own.

Look for Popular Homestays to Save Money

Accommodation is cheaper than you’d ever guess. In Asia the competition for your trade is fierce and bargains abound. There has never been so much choice. You’re not confined to noisy dormitories, especially now that Airbnb is another option.

There are some more expensive cities where you’ll have to take a dorm room to keep the travel costs down,  Singapore is a prime example, but a night or two in transit is not such a big deal. Budget travel involves compromise, right?

Top Tip: Always have earplugs for dorms and eye masks help too. 

I often hear people talk about staying in dorms as one of the best ways to meet people, true to some extent, but it’s often overstated. 

In my experience, backpackers are a closed bunch. Couples keep to themselves, single people hide behind laptops and smartphones, and older people are often ignored entirely. 

Dorms are as social as you are prepared to be social yourself. If you’re willing to say hello to people, they can be sociable places. If not, they can be very lonely.

One of the recent developments gaining popularity all over Asia is the Capsule Hotel/Hostel. They are dorms on steroids. Each bunk is a self-contained private unit. They have lights, power points, and even storage.

They are the perfect compromise for budget-conscious travelers who prefer their own space.

Outside of the big cities, I much prefer staying in private rooms. I look for homestays and guest houses because, in my book, that’s what makes traveling special.

Plus there are usually other guests and it’s easier to meet people on a more genuine level than in a noisy dorm. Some of your fondest memories will be staying in these hidden gems. 


Mutiara Guest House in Bandiniera, Banda Islands, Maluku, Indonesia. 
Very nice affordable accomodation
Mutiara Guest House in the Banda Islands. Indonesia.

Of course, the choices open to you will vary from place to place and from country to country. 

I couldn’t afford to travel in Africa without a tent. If I didn’t take one, I wouldn’t be able to stay in so many parks. Africa is not geared up for backpackers on the whole, and even in South Africa, the parks are too pricey without camping.

Enjoy these posts:

One last option worth mentioning and very popular with some people is Couch Surfing. You can’t get cheaper than free. You can travel all over the world and stay with local people. I’ve never done it myself but some people love it.

Use Local Transport to Save Money

Why pay extra to have a dodgy tour firm pick you up at your hotel/guest house and transport you in a minibus with other ‘independent’ travelers when there is a local share-taxi or bus station down the road?

The mistake I see a lot of people make is choosing tourist transportation over local alternatives. When it comes to convenience, you pay a premium.

It’s easier to travel independently now than it used to be. Online booking and Uber have cut out most of the sharks. There was a time when transport was a battle and being cheated was the norm. Not now. The power has shifted in our favor. Happy days.

And you know what? no one wants to hear about your tour bus trip. Get on a local bus and see some life. Sometimes, things will happen and you’ll have a story to tell.

I remember getting on a local bus once and seeing the comfy tourist coach speed by and wondering if the chicken bus, I was on, was such a great idea. Then suddenly all hell broke loose.
I turned and saw people scrambling over their seats, some were screaming, while others were in fits of laughter. There was a snake on the loose!


I sat back knowing that I’d definitely made the right decision. 


A frosty morning looking out over the high moorlands in Bale Mountains Ethiopia. Another affordable destination
Bale Mountains. Ethiopia

Working and Volunteering Abroad Can Make Your Travel Very Affordable

Inevitably your cash will run low at some point. Do you go home or find some work?

Some Work Options

One of the most popular ways to get some well-paid work is to Teach English. If you have the qualifications you can earn serious money. 

I often meet people teaching English in Asia. Korea seems to be at the top of the list at present and China is popular too. If teaching is for you then taking a TEFL course will pay for itself in no time.

These online teaching sites may interest you but there are many more:

I’ve never wanted to teach English myself, but I have made money using my own skills.

I’m lucky enough to be able to draw and it’s a portable skill. I’ve traveled through New Zealand for free with the money I made. I spent very little in Oz and paid for a big chunk of my trip to East Africa. 

Read this: How to Sell Your Art and Travel the World (Psst…Do What I Did)

My best money-earner was drawing the guesthouses and hostels as I went along. I would trade my pictures with the owners or sell them to other guests. Easy. 

I also got a lot of commissions from the hostel owner’s friends.

I remember a time when I hitched a ride with some backpackers in Australia. We were talking about people we’ve met earning money as they travel. They mentioned a guy, they’d heard about, who went around Oz drawing hostels. They were talking about me! I was as proud as Punch.

Many young people apply for work visas for Australia and New Zealand, that’s been a standard option for decades. I went on a 6-month tourist visa and worked cash in hand.

Now the dream of many travelers is to become a digital nomad. On the surface, it has got a lot going for it. Potentially it allows you to hole up anywhere and earn money while you sleep.

Well, that doesn’t happen overnight I can tell you. Boy does it take work. If you think blogging is passive income, think again. And you can’t go off the beaten track. If there is no connection you’re stuffed. I’d say unless you are dedicated to the idea, don’t bother. 

Volunteering is a practical way of extending your trip, saving money, and meeting great people.

The World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) organization is one of the best. You volunteer your labor on a farm in return for food and lodging. Many people have a great time seeing life in a totally different way all over the world. All for free.

Workaway is similar but covers a wide range of volunteering programs. You donate 5 hours a day in return for food and lodging.

Helpstay is another one to check out. They claim to vet their hosts before accepting projects. They offer a mix of opportunities some free and some low cost.

11 Money Saving Travel Tips

I’ve been traveling around every winter for over 30 years, and for much of that time, I didn’t have two pennies to rub together. If you are on a tight budget there are more ways to save money.

Here are 11 travel tips that help to keep your costs down:

  • Eat Street Food: Street food is not only a great way to experience local cuisine, but it’s also significantly cheaper than dining in restaurants. Use your common sense and check hygiene standards.
  • Visit Local Markets: Local markets are a great place to find cheap fresh food and experiment with new fruits. Find out the real costs before you ask the prices so you can haggle properly.
  • Ask Locals for Recommendations: Locals often know where to find the best and most affordable food. If a place is busy, it says everything you need to know.
  • Local Repairs: Getting things fixed is much cheaper than buying new gear in the developing world. Seek out local tailors and repair shops. Some of these guys can fix just about anything. Things like shoes, zippers, phones, and clothes.
  • DIY Fixes: Carry a small repair kit with you. I take a small sewing kit with super strong nylon repair thread. Bag seams often pull apart and repair thread works best. I always carry cable ties for emergencies. It’s amazing how useful they are.
  • Buy Local SIM Cards: Instead of paying for international roaming, buy a local SIM card for the internet and calls. You will save a fortune.
  • Do Your Own Laundry: Most ‘dirt’ is only sweat. Soak your clothes overnight and rinse in the morning. Clothes dry in an hour or two in hotter countries. Alternatively, hang your clothes in your hotel room with the fan on.
  • Travel Slow: Slow travel can significantly cut down on travel costs. Spend longer in one place and negotiate a lower price. You get to know the locals, make friends, and experience the place in more depth. Plus you’ll have no transportation costs.
  • Team Up: Don’t be shy! If you want to save money, try asking people to share a ride. Airports often have overpriced and rigged prices to get you into town. Team up for group tours, it’s a great way of meeting people.
  • Refillable Water Bottles: Buying bottled water adds up and its more damned plastic. Invest in a refillable water bottle with a filter.
  • Travel Overnight: Taking an overnight bus or train can save a day’s worth of accommodation costs. However, be extra aware of security. Chain and padlock your bags.

These may not sound like great savings on a daily level, and I wouldn’t bother with most of them on a short trip, but for a long-haul trip it all adds up pretty quickly. 

Some things are disproportionately expensive when you travel to a foreign country. Alcohol is usually one of them. I travel mostly to cheap countries and a beer will cost as much, if not more, than a restaurant meal itself.

Yet I see people routinely order drinks with every meal. The easiest way to spend money is to drink it away. The occasional drink is a pleasure but if you want to travel longer, go easy.

Play the Tax System to Offset Traveling Costs – My Trump Card!

You won’t find this tip in many round-up lists about cheap travel but as the world changes and working online becomes common it will become more relevant.

I am self-employed. I make wildlife art and my purpose for traveling is to find and photograph wild animals with a view to making printable illustrations. That means I have expenses.


Rhino pencil drawing by wildlife artist Kevin Hayler
‘Heat and Dust by Kevin hayler

I keep all my receipts and offset the costs of my trip.

My trips are tax-deductible!

That’s right. I claim accommodation, park and guide fees, food, and travel. That’s almost everything.

As most of each trip is taken up with all things wildlife I can offset the majority of my costs. So when people ask me how I can afford to travel that’s the major reason. And it’s all legit!


Local Bajo (Sea Gypsy) kids having fun and playing in the water. Togian Islands, Suluwesi, Indonesia.
A very cheap budget destination
Sea Gypsy kids. The Togian Islands

On paper, I make very little but that’s misleading. I choose to spend money all winter and earn money all summer. That’s how it works.

Does it solve all life’s problems? NO. If I ever wanted a loan or a mortgage the banks would laugh. That’s a drawback but I’m in the system which is a good thing, I pay some tax, I manage to bank some money and I get to travel for 4 months every year. Not so bad.

Every country has its own tax rules but I think you’ll find most systems will allow artists to travel and claim expenses. You should check it out.

How Can People Afford to Travel? Final Thoughts

You don’t have to be rich to travel, but if money is hard to come by you must be super-focused with one goal in mind, to get away. I’ve made traveling a way of life. I’ve geared my life around traveling for long periods of time, every year.

It all sounds idyllic and I’ve many memories to show for it, but let’s be honest, I couldn’t do it if I had real responsibilities. If you haven’t got those ties and want to travel, do it now before life gets in the way. Do it now. Life is short.

It’s a sad fact that time is running out. I’m so glad I saw the world when I did. I saw things when international travel was still developing. I dare not return to places where I have good memories. Whenever I do, I’m shocked at the level of change, and it is rarely for the better.

I started traveling in 1986, that’s 37 years ago. Back then there were 5 billion people in this world, now there are 8 billion! Think of that. You can’t afford to put it off.


Lion pencil drawing by wildlife artist Kevin Hayler
‘Lion Country’ by Kevin Hayler

Has this post given you food for thought? I paid for most of my trips by selling my art, and if you want to do the same thing, I’ll show you how!

Selling art made simple digital guide for starting a small art business

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Psst…it’s only $12.99!


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How can I afford to travel the world? Sunset with a boat in Indonesia. For Pinterest
The artist and Author Kevin Hayler


Hi, I’m Kevin Hayler
I’ve been selling my wildlife art and traveling the world for over 20 years, and if that sounds too good to be true, I’ve done it all without social media, art school, or galleries!
I can show you how to do it. You’ll find a wealth of info on my site, about selling art, drawing tips, lifestyle, reviews, travel, my portfolio, and more. Enjoy

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