I’ve traveled extensively—to be precise, I've visited 50 countries and spent three years living abroad. The best part? I was able to do so at an incredibly low cost.
There’s one thing I notice that's always stuck in people’s heads: Traveling is expensive. I’ve always been baffled at how most people don’t understand how I’ve been able to travel so much without winning the lottery. Then I realized my lifestyle is quite a bit different, mainly in one regard: I'm not attached to a home or to "stuff."
How to Avoid the Highest Cost of Travel
In my experience, I've found that the number-one cost of traveling is lodging. Essentially, people often pay "rent" twice: once for your home base, and again at your destination.
When I travel for more than a couple weeks, I almost always give up my apartment by renting it out to cover the costs. Because I live in one of the most expensive cities in the US (San Francisco), I find that when I don’t pay rent back home, I’m actually spending less living abroad than if I'd stayed behind.
Lodging is often the most expensive part of your trip. Why would you pay for two places to sleep when you can only be one place at a time? Yes, I know; you might have roommates, kids, a wife, etc. Those are all valid reasons behind paying double. But if long-term travel is a dream of yours, you can build your lifestyle around your circumstances.
Explore an Alternative Lifestyle to Fund Your Travels
Ask yourself this: Do you value having this fixed home base that you won’t rent out to anyone else more than you value achieving a dream of long-term travel? If you want to explore how to do that with whatever your circumstances may be, you can find tons of stories with a simple Google search, or ask folks on travel forums or reddit.
By simply shifting your mindset around the costs of travel, you can potentially shave off more than a third of the cost of your trip. If you live in the US and are traveling somewhere with a lower cost of living—such as many places in Asia—you might even find yourself not spending beyond your normal expenses back home. Heck, some people even make a profit when traveling, whether it's via a sublet, Airbnb, or simply reveling in low-cost experiences that aren't tied to costly consumption.
If you open your mind and expand your concept of home, you'll be one step closer to funding the travel journey of your dreams.