The single most popular question I get is “How can you afford to travel?

I must answer this question in one way or another about 20 times everyday… so this blog post is long overdue!  Keep reading to find out all my tips, tricks and secrets for how I afford to travel full-time.

My goal in writing this is to tell you that traveling is cheaper than you may think, and show you that it’s not hard to travel full-time if you set your mind to it and take advantage of the opportunities around you. 

First thing’s first: No, I am not rich. No, I don’t have rich parents. And No, I don’t have a huge savings account.

Yes, I make all of my own money to fund my travels, through hard work, patience, taking advantages of opportunities and being a smart money spender.

I want you all to understand that I am just a normal guy from Arizona.  I don’t have a movie debuting on the red carpet of Hollywood.  I don’t have a top song on the radio, and I don’t have a best-selling book on Amazon.

But I have figured out a way to subsidize my expenses (i.e. travel for free) and make traveling my full-time job.  And as of this year (2016), I am starting to make decent profit.

Find out below how I created this lifestyle for myself, and how you can do it, too.

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I primarily make money in 5 different ways:
1. Travel Blogging (#1 source of income)
2. Sponsored/Press Trips (#2 source of income)
3. Social Media Campaigns (#3 source of income)
4. Snapchat Collaborations (#4 source of income)
5. Teaching English (#5 source of income)

Before I dive in to each topic, I will first provide you with some general tips which are necessary to understand if you want to travel full-time.  Please take note of the following:

5 Best Tips for How I Afford to Travel

1. Be Flexible – You simply can’t be constrained on exact days and times to travel, beacuse you can get killer cheap flight deals by being flexible.  Opening up your schedule is something you have to do if you want to travel full-time.

2. Be a Smart Money Spender –  If you want to travel, then prioritize it. You gotta stick to consuming only the things that you need, not what you want.  This means stop spending money on new rims for your car or a that expensive jacket that you don’t need (for example).   I only own a small amount of possessions like clothing, my computer, iPhone, GoPro and a few other things… that’s about it.

3. Look for Study/Work Abroad Opportunities – When I studied abroad in Prague during my Junior year of college, I visited 20+ European countries during my 5 month semester.  Likewise, I visited 20+ Asian countries when I taught English in Korea for 18 months after school.  If teaching English isn’t your thing, don’t worry beacuse there are tons of other jobs that you can find abroad.  Discover these opportunities at the end of this blog post.

4. Get Rid of Big Commitments – This one is hard for many people, and understandably so…  But if you want to make the big lifestyle change, then you need to let go of the big things holding you back in the past and move on to the future.  Sell your car, get rid of your housing payments and car payments.  Let your friends or parents take care of your dog.  If you’re in a miserable relationship, you have to let go and move on with your life.

5. Stop watching TV – Do you realize how many hours of your life that you waste by watching Netflix?  I recommend starting a blog (or something of that nature) and use those precious hours towards something that can benefit your future.

For the remainder of this post, I’m going to describe in detail the 5 ways I make money (in order with #1 being the most profitable): 

5 Ways I Make Money to Travel Full-Time

1. Travel Blogging

Believe it or not, I make a living from this travel blog, and my original blog called Hungry Partier, which I started in 2013 when I moved to South Korea.

travel-blogging

Travel blogging requires a lot of patience, hard work and dedication, but I’m telling you right now, it’s entirely possible and reasonable.

*My ultimate secret is to get a job teaching English overseas and start a travel blog on the side. That’s exactly what I did, and I had plenty of free time to put into my blog and build it up to what it is today.* 

The 2 major ways I make money from travel blogging are through affiliate links and sponsorships. 

Affiliate marketing is when a business rewards affiliates (i.e. bloggers) for each visitor brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts (i.e. on their website).

For example, if I am an affiliate for Amazon, then I can link to some of my favorite items on Amazon in a blog post.  If someone clicks my link and purchases the item(s) I recommend, then I get a small commission.

My biggest affiliate is with a TEFL Company that I recommend called MyTEFL, so every time someone buys that class, I get paid $35 at no additional cost to the person buying the class.

Get it? It’s almost as if I am a salesman for that company.  If I sell something, I get paid.

The other way I make money is through Sponsorships.

These are when a travel-related company or brand pays me (~$400-$1000) to promote them on my blog and on my social media channels. Keep in mind that I always write my own opinions and give advice/recommendations based on my experiences with the product or service.

Be careful though.  You don’t want to be a “sell out” and only go for the money, beacuse then you will lose trust with your audience very quickly.  I see this happen all the time with new bloggers.

2. Sponsored/Press Trips

A sponsored trip is when a tourism board invites me to their country and I promote my experience on my blog and social media channels.

machu-picchu

Some recent examples of sponsored trips are when I went to Germany with the Germany Tourism Office and when I went to Suriname with Suriname Tourism.  Both tourism offices sponsored a trip for me to go around their country and promote it on my blog, Snapchat and Instagram channels.  Not only do I get free flights, hotels & tours, but I also charge a fee for my services.

Press trips are not as common as I’d like, beacuse they take a lot of planning, and frankly, many tourism offices don’t have the budgets to sponsor trips.

3. Social Media Campaigns 

A social media campaign is when a travel brand or company pays me to promote their product or service on my blog or social media channels.  It’s called product placement, and it’s the same concept for how Nike used to pay Tiger Woods to wear their logo on the golf course (although that was a multi-million dollar contract).

I have worked with a variety of brands in the past, most notably Shotka Vodka, and I have an upcoming campaign with Citizen Watches.

shotka

Whenever I post about using these products, I always do so in a very natural and fitting way.  I try to avoid being “spammy” or “commercially.” Of course, there are so many travel brands out there who have money to spend on marketing, so it’s in my best interest to get a hold of them (I pitch myself a lot).

4. Snapchat Collaborations 

This one might come as a shocker to many of you, but I actually make a full-time living just from Snapchat.  How on earth is this possible?

snapchat

I got a head start of growing my Snapchat channel, when I realized the potential of the app while on a 2 month trip around India in early 2015.  I wrote this article for how to market yourself on Snapchat (it’s way outdated now but still relevant), and it has opened the door for many opportunities in the Snapchat space.

Specifically, big brands pay me to do Snapchat Takeovers for their account from around the world.  Companies are interested in working with me beacuse I am both a content creator, and I have a large following that they can leverage to grow their audience as well.

In the past, I’ve done Snapchat collaborations with Tripit, Lonely Planet, Bleacher Report, Germany Tourism and Yahoo Travel — but these opportunities are starting to die down as Instagram is taking over as the King of Social Media.  (*Hint* focus on growing your Instagram account.)

5. Teaching English

Teaching English is the BEST way to find a job overseas and start traveling full-time.

teach-english

I taught in South Korea for 18 months after college and I loved every second of it.  I couldn’t possibly recommend it more to anyone reading this.  It changed my life in more ways than I can explain.

Teaching English is really the safest way to take that first big leap abroad, beacuse it’s essentially risk free once you’ve locked in your job.  Just think about it, you are literally getting paid to teach people your native language, which is so easy that it barely requires you to think.

I’ve already written numerous blog posts about this topic like: The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Korea and How I Traveled to 17 Countries and Saved $3K, so please refer to those post for more information.

To be applicable to teach English abroad, you must meet these basic requirements:
– You must be a native English speaker
– You must hold a passport from an English Speaking Nation
– You must have a bachelors degree from a University
– You must obtain your TEFL Certificate (Teach English as a Foreign Language)

You are NOT required to speak the local language of whichever country you go to, and you are NOT required to have any previous teaching experience.  I studied economics and entrepreneurship in college.

My starting salary teaching English in Korea was about $2,000 USD per month.  While that doesn’t sound like a lot of money, trust me, it goes a long way.  Especially considering the amazing benefits like: free rent, reimbursed airfare, no taxes to pay on paychecks, no expenses except phone bills, free lunches, health insurance, 4-week paid vacation, etc.

And after my teaching contract ended, I was given about $6K in bonuses which I put directly towards my travel funds. I used that money for about 6 months after teaching, on big trips to India, The Philippines and Europe.

If you have any questions about teaching English, don’t hesitate to contact me!

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So, how much money do I really make?

It varies month-by-month.  Some months I’ve made $8K, others about $1K.  The more work I put into it, the more I get paid.

The travel benefits are just as precious. 

It’s not just the money that I make that enables me to travel — it’s also the freebies and travel benefits, which allow me to travel longer.

I’m talking about all those free flights, hotels, transportation, tours, etc.

I get this stuff for free, because I work with the companies and tourism boards to promote them on my blog and on my social media channels.  But these companies don’t always find me — I find them.  I just spent 50+ hours over the last 2 weeks pitching myself to hundreds of travel brands, companies, tourism boards, hotel chains, etc, to get deals for 2017.

I am confident that as long as my following continues to grow, the amount of money I make will increase because I can start charging higher prices when more people are consuming my content.

world-map

So you want to quit your job and life a life of travel.  How can you do it?

The most difficult part is to start.

It’s so easy to really want to do something, and then find every possible excuse not to make it happen. I’ve seen it so many times.

My biggest piece of advice for a starter to take the leap abroad is to find a job teaching English and start a travel blog from day 1.  If you dedicate yourself, then I promise you, within a year or less, you can already start making a decent living form your website and freelance work.

I am living proof that this is possible.  It’s not a maybe, it’s a 100% yes this can happen.

But If you are not qualified to teach English, then don’t panic, because there are may other jobs that you can find to make that first big leap abroad.

Here are some other jobs where you can make money and travel the world.

– Work on a cruise ship
– Work at a hostel
– Work at a restaurant or be a bartender
– Be a tour guide or instructor for your passion (rock climbing, scuba diving, etc.)
– Be a freelancer for things you’re good at (check out UpworkElance and Fiverr to find work)
– Maybe your current company has branch overseas that you can move to?

No matter which job you take abroad, you should still start a blog and get your voice recognized to the world. I can’t even tell you how many new doors I’ve opened from starting this blog, and it’s only getting started.

The opportunities are out there. It’s just up to you to make it happen.  

I truly hope that this post inspired you and now you understand how I can afford to travel.  It’s not luck, but rather a lot of hard work, patience and smart decision making.

And from there onwards, the possibilities are endless.

Drew Binsky

A graduate from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Drew Binsky has visited 120+ Countries since 2012.He first caught the travel bug while studying abroad in Prague, then taught English in Korea, and now he's on a mission to visit every country on earth.Follow his journey on Facebook & Instagram @drewbinsky 🙂

45 thoughts on “How I Afford to Travel Full-Time

  1. Hello Drew:

    I just found your blog. I am a Fond du Lac Wi resident so we have an entire State in common! Glad to see you are living out so many dreams. Its hard to be a bigot when you are a well traveled person.
    Carry On!!!

  2. I’m EU and watched your video about differences between EU and US. Pretty funny remark about ketchup; FYI, you can find it in non-glass samples too. 🙂 Thank you for your posts

  3. If you will travel to Baku I will suggest you very good Tranfer Service from Airport in Baku, http://www.az-tur.com
    Because it can be problematic and some time I had problems with other service providers, like sudden price increase!!!! But this guys was always in time and very frendly.

  4. Hi Drew…
    I’ve been following you on IG for a few months. I love reading your adventures. I’m an emptynester…I just got a job in Germany as an Education Trainer for the next 3-years. I want to start blogging about my travel adventures. What advice do you have on getting followers?

  5. Hey Drew!
    I’m Fascinated by you.Tell me more about making money out of Blogging.
    And do you think your economics, entrepeneurship studies have been crucial for you to establish yourself at this amazing platform?

  6. Drew! Love your authenticity, your integrity shines. Thanks for sharing your travel experiences. Where can I find the best information about growing my Instagram account and how to effectively promote a blog for world wide recognition? Also, when do you sleep? ?

  7. Do you only take trips if you get paid by them? Curious as I am in travel PR and find it super fascinating what bloggers are choosing to do nowadays. As you said, many travel brands aren’t keen on giving you a free trip and paying since it’s no longer looked at as PR.

  8. You are a true inspiration for me ! I have been trying to follow you. I will get graduated in April 2017 then I am ready. Thank you so much such a inspirational person you are.

  9. You are very inspiring! I follow you on IG and really enjoy your posts. I just turned 60 and am strongly considering becoming a travel blogger as my 3rd career in about 5 years. I think I may have something to contribute to older folks. We will see! I was wondering if snapchat is still viable, you seem to think IG is the way to go..

    1. Thank you so much, Phyllis! You should definitely be a blogger — I would focus on Instagram for now, as it’s becoming more and more relevant. please email me if you have any specific questions, and best of luck!

  10. You know, I’ve been trying to get an answer from you on how a Nigerian can get a job teaching English in Korea. you’re the only one I’ve heard say that Nigerians teach in Korea. how please? How?

    1. Hey Esther, I know it’s possible because I had a Nigerian friend who taught English in Korea. You will have to contact individual recruiters and ask them. Don’t stress beacuse you do it!

  11. Thanks Drew, finally someone truly shares how this world works. I have been doing research as of how to start blogging and stuff but no one talks about how your blog actually makes money like affiliates, etc. Thank you for sharing this info, it was really helpful.

    One question, how did you learn all of these different techniques? for example, how to contact companies, etc. I have heard that there are some blogging courses that teach you how to do all of that, but I was just wondering if you have tried any type of courses to learn these techniques.

    Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Alan! I taught myself everything, from the ground up. I had no idea what blogging was 5 years ago. There are many blogging courses that you can find online, but I haven’t tried them. I know Nomadic Matt has one amongst others. Best of luck to you!

  12. Man, I wish I was a native English speaker… You guys have it easy! We have nowhere near the same chances of starting this lifestyle by teaching our native language abroad! Nevertheless, I know a couple of well-educated British dudes who complain a lot but never tried to teach English abroad, so congrats Drew for having taken the plunge!

    You sir are an example!

  13. I’ve been trying to find an article or blog like this for months so thank you so much for finally explaining it all! I have you on snapchat and love the idea of being a travel blogger. You really have inspired me to start a blog and finally start documenting everything haha Hope I meet you someday when our paths cross half way accross the world! Keep up the good work 🙂 P.S. If your ever in Ireland be sure to pop in for a cup of tea haha

    1. Thank you for your kind comment! I’m so happy that you felt inspired to start a blog 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions moving forward and I’ll be happy to help!

      Drew

  14. This is awesome Drew. I’ve been blogging for four years. I haven’t made anything from it yet. I know I’ll figure it out. But I do enjoy writing about my travels and inspiring people. But thanks for some tips!

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