Julia liked her job, but after 10 years in the same place, she was feeling an undeniable pull to go, well, anywhere else. Her Instagram feed was filled with influencers and travel bloggers showcasing their latest adventures, and she found herself constantly daydreaming about what it would be like to see the same destinations in person. Although she was happy with her work and liked her coworkers, Julia was tired of living for the two weeks of paid vacation time she got each year.
She started researching “ways to travel full-time” and was amazed at how many adults her age was doing the exact same thing. The reality is that you don’t have to be born wealthy, a self-made millionaire or social media star to be able to live such a life. In fact, with enough preparation and research, you can quit your job and travel too.
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Find Ways to Lower Your Monthly Expenses
The travel fund you build will be structured around providing all of your essential needs over the course of a year. This includes housing, food, medical care and cellphone/internet access. Depending on where you travel, costs will vary. If you go on a year-long tour of the United States, then you may need far more than you would in a country where USD is a more valuable currency. In countries like Thailand, you can survive on under $30 a day. In another country, like London or Australia, you would find yourself having less than you earn after a currency conversion.
So, to give yourself as much leeway as possible, you’ll want to begin by lowering all monthly expenses a year before you travel. This means cutting back on unnecessary spending, canceling or lowering subscriptions and finding ways to pay off any outstanding debt. If your student loans are a major expense, you can refinance them through a private lender. When you refinance student loans, you combine all of your loans into a single, larger loan that has lower monthly rates and possibly less interest, too.
Plan to Live Like a Local
Although you may only stay in a destination for a few weeks, you should try to live like the natives do. Even a short trip to London, can give you an opportunity to jump right in. But this means not wasting money on overpriced souvenirs, gimmicky tourist attractions and expensive restaurants. Instead, use your time in the country to experience it from the perspective of someone who calls it home. Safety should always be your top priority, though, and you should not wander alone in countries where you cannot communicate. Research is crucial to choosing an itinerary. Make sure you check the crime rates and make a list of places to avoid before you visit anywhere.
Sign Up for a Travel Group
If you’d prefer to travel in company and have more resources available, travel groups are a great option. After paying for a package, the company covers everything from booking your accommodations to crafting a schedule of fun activities. What’s more, you’ll get to travel in a group of others who are also passionate about spending some time overseas. Adventure vacations are a fantastic way for someone who has saved up money to quit their job and see the world for a year. Of course, you’ll still need to consider what you’re going to do after the vacation ends.
Don’t Forget the Future
If you love your job and can’t see yourself without it, then obviously quitting for a year isn’t the right solution. But for many, deciding to quit your job for a year and enrich themselves through travel is the most transformative thing they ever do. It opens their eyes to new parts of themselves that allows them to pursue different passions they never would have considered career options otherwise. Through your travels, you may decide to enter a new field, become an English teacher in a foreign country or even go back to school and study abroad. While all these are exciting options, you should also work on keeping job opportunities available in your current sector, or at least know what you’ll do to earn a living once you come home.
Understand Visa Restrictions
In reality, you can’t stay out of the country for a full year unless you get an extended visa. Americans are permitted to stay out of the U.S. for three or six months at a time, depending on their travel destination. This means that you’ll need to make living arrangements and additional itineraries between stops. For many, this is a great opportunity to see different parts of their home country while they take various short journeys around the world. You can also use your time between visits to work on building your own business or mastering the art of side hustles. There are plenty of ways to earn a living while you travel, so start researching your options to find methods that align with your passions and skills.
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