If you’re possessed by wanderlust, you’ll want to travel as much as possible in your adult life. For some people, that might mean taking a vacation to a new destination every year. But for others, the call is even more powerful; if they could, they’d live an entire lifestyle based around travel, meandering from place to place as a way of life.
So is it possible to live a consistent travel-oriented lifestyle as a modern-day nomad? And if so, what steps can you take to make it a reality?
Key Challenges to Overcome
There are three key challenges you’ll need to think about:
- Career and income. You won’t make it far if you don’t have at least one stream of consistent income. You could try to backpack homelessly from place to place, but this is inadvisable. Ideally, you’ll have a career that allows you to work remotely, so you can keep making money as you travel.
- Expense management. Traveling can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding ways to minimize and manage your expenses is crucial if you want to be successful, especially if you’re bouncing from location to location.
- Safety and health. You’ll also need to be wary of your safety and ongoing health. For example, if you’re involved in an accident or have a healthcare emergency, do you know how to seek aid in your current country?
Tips for Success
You can overcome these challenges, or at least compensate for them with these tips:
- Get a travel rewards card. First, get yourself a travel rewards card. These cards offer higher rewards than traditional cashback rewards cards, and can return a percentage of all your travel costs back to you in the form of travel perks. In some cases, you may earn extra rewards for using the card to make travel-related purchases, like plane tickets or a hotel room. It may not seem like much on a per-transaction basis, but if you’re going to be paying for travel expenses consistently, over time, these savings can significantly add up.
- Become a digital freelancer. One of the most appropriate careers for a modern-day nomad is becoming some kind of digital freelancer. There are many specific roles you could fill here, depending on your skills and interests. For example, you might become a writer, a photographer, or a graphic designer. In any case, you’ll have the freedom to work wherever you want and work whatever hours you want, which is perfect for a travel-oriented lifestyle. Just make sure you dedicate enough time to work to meet your expenses.
- Make friends with locals. Wherever you go, try to meet and get to know new people. Local residents will understand the area much better than you, and may be able to provide pointers, like cheap places to eat, free attractions to try, or dangerous areas to avoid. They may also be able to help you in the event of an emergency.
- Focus on free (or inexpensive) attractions. Taking in the sights and attractions of each new area is part of the journey, but some attractions can be costly. If you want your money to last you as long as possible, and if you want your journey to be sustainable, focus on free or inexpensive attractions, like museums, parks, and nature preserves, as much as possible.
- Prioritize inexpensive areas. If you aren’t picky about your destinations, consider prioritizing travel to areas that are known for being inexpensive. South Africa, India, Kosovo, Saudi Arabia, and Kazakhstan are some of the cheapest countries in terms of local purchasing power, rent, groceries, and local goods and services. If you’re making the same income, your money will go further in countries and areas like these.
- Build and maintain a strong emergency budget. You never know what might happen to you. You may need emergency medical treatment in an unfamiliar area, or may need to fly back home to respond to a family emergency. To be prepared for whatever may come, it’s important to build up (and maintain) an emergency budget of at least a few thousand dollars.
- Always learn the language. No matter where you end up traveling, make it a point to learn at least a little of the native language. Doing so can help you immerse yourself in the culture more fully, and may be necessary if you need help or information in a pinch.
It’s possible to live a life of constant travel, but it’s not a lifestyle suited to everyone—even the people who love to travel the most. If you plan to pursue this lifestyle full-time, or for several years, make sure you’re prepared for all the disadvantages, and have a backup plan in case things fall through.