May 11, 2022

Around the World on $40K

Patrick Mayles
Forbes & Seeking Alpha Contributor

You love to travel, to experience new places, people and challenges. You also want to eat when you’re seventy. 

Unfortunately, these two goals can feel like they conflict, but it doesn’t have to be that way. From remote work to high-value travel options, it’s never been easy to see the world while continuing to save.  

Whether or not your job lets you travel while working, there are still a wealth of strategies to explore the world without coming home broke. If you’re feeling some wanderlust but don’t want to crack your nest-egg, read on!  

Roads Less Traveled

You likely know that a trip through Southeast Asia or Central America is generally going to be cheaper than a two-week jaunt through Western Europe, but it may surprise you just how much cheaper. 

If you’re open to different destinations, you can research the cost of living in each country or region, and plan a trip that enables you to have the experiences you want at a fraction of the typical price. You could even spend less during your vacation than you would in the US! 

South America, from Peru to Colombia to Argentina, offer some of the highest-value travel experiences to more intrepid voyagers. Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam also offer breathtaking natural beauty at an affordable price (though the plane ticket is likely to be a bit steeper). 

Beds and Seats  

Regardless of where you travel, transportation and lodging are likely to be among your biggest (and most boring) expenses. 

If you get the most rejuvenation out of a comfortable, elegant experience, then you’re totally entitled to spend your vacation in fancy accommodations. To offset the cost of those luxurious lodgings, consider limiting the number of cities you visit, picking a destination with low living costs, or skipping that expensive night out. 

If you’re the total opposite, you can economize by taking red-eye flights and night buses, catching some Z’s and waking up at the next leg of your adventure. You could also look into hostels that give free room and board if you work a little each day. 

To get the most out of any experience, it pays to do your research. Check Airbnb, hostel sites, and local hotels to see where you can get the most value. Also, check out the local bus schedule or research other modes of transportation for those quick trips. We recommend scouting out all transportation options; flying might even be your cheapest choice! 

Working Around the World 

Digital nomads are a growing group of workers that call nowhere (or everywhere) their home. They work online, either as entrepreneurs or employees, and travel from place to place, usually on a tourist visa. If you can work online, this can be a powerful way to see the world while still saving, since the cost of living in other countries can be far lower than your hometown. 

The nomadic lifestyle isn’t for everyone. As you may have found during the pandemic, many people find that they miss walking into the office every day! Not everyone is able to simply uproot their domestic lives to travel the world, either. However, this setup can empower a jet-setting lifestyle that would be otherwise impossible, all while continuing to save for tomorrow. 

Consider asking your boss to let you travel for a few weeks (or months) while continuing to work, either on a full or limited schedule. If you’re self-employed, ask yourself if this is the right choice for you! 

Plan Ahead

Our fundamental advice is that you don’t have to give up a secure future to have a fun present. From working online to picking affordable destinations and transportation, it has never been easier to travel on a budget, and even to keep saving during the trip. 

We recommend setting a firm budget, allowing for spontaneous splurges, to map out how much you’re going to spend. This can empower you to fit more into an itinerary without running out of runway or returning home with a skinnier wallet than you expected. Pick locations that won’t break the bank—these same places can also offer the most unique, memorable travel experience. Finally, consider working online, part or full-time, while traveling to get the best of both worlds!

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