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You are now at the last step of your journey to your #ForeverVacation.
The last step in the #ForeverVacation strategy is to travel the world with no regard for time. You no longer need to ask for days off or worry about how many vacation days you have remaining. When you feel like you want to travel somewhere, you simply just go!
I have traveled to more than 20 countries and have lived in Costa Rica for a year. I plan on traveling for the rest of my life. Once you start doing it, it gets very hard to stop. When you travel, you end up learning so much more about yourself as well as other people and their cultures. The world is an amazing place and life is too short to stay in one place. Let’s jump into it!
This is definitely the most common answer I get when I ask people why they don’t travel more. I love asking people, “If you had a million dollars in the bank right now what would you do differently?” 99% of the time, the response is, “travel.” However, travel is not as expensive as everybody thinks it is. In reality, the main reason people don’t travel more is because of time. No time off of work, no time away from the kids, etc.
Now don’t get me wrong. If you want travel to be expensive, then you can make it expensive. However, normal travel across multiple international countries will most likely be cheaper over the course of a month then it would be compared to a month where you are currently living (this will greatly depend where you live).
I could go on and on about this topic forever but for the sake of time, let me just paint you one quick personal example.
Before I moved to Costa Rica, I lived in Nashville, TN. Below you will see a breakdown of my fixed necessary expenses:
$400 (1 bedroom condo downtown)
$0 included in rent
$70/mo (cleans 6 times a month
and does laundry weekly)
$0 (Don’t need a car -
use Uber/taxis/friends to get around)
$35 (Use a local carrier in Costa Rica)
Total - $505
$1,600/mo (1 bedroom condo downtown)
$150/mo (cable, internet, electricity)
$0 (didn’t have a car - used Uber/taxis to get around)
Total - 1,860
So just looking at that simple example you can see it is a difference of $1,355. Those are only the fixed expenses. That’s not counting the fact that drinks at bars are significantly less expensive than they were in the U.S. and haircuts, massages, etc. are significantly cheaper as well.
My point is, don’t be naive in thinking travel in general is expensive. Sure, there are a handful of countries that tend to be pretty expensive to live in, but the majority of countries are very reasonable.
This is such a broad statement. Anywhere you go can be dangerous if you don’t know your surroundings. Over the last five years of traveling, I have never felt unsafe or scared of a place I traveled to. Whenever you travel, whether domestically or internationally, you should always do a little research beforehand to scope out the area.
I plan to move to Vietnam soon and whenever I tell people this they always say, “Wow. Isn’t that so dangerous?” I’m always confused when they they ask me this. The people who ask me this question have never been to Vietnam and most likely have not traveled out of their country very often. I visited Vietnam in December of 2014 and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Their culture was so intriguing and the locals were so kind to me. I felt like one of them!
I lived in Costa Rica for a year and that was another amazing experience. I made amazing friends who are from Costa Rica and I was always treated like one of them. Just remember, any place can be dangerous at any time. Don’t listen to people who say travel is dangerous despite the fact that they have never traveled. Go ahead… travel the world and don’t let the misconception that travel is dangerous keep you in one place.
This is something I thought initially when I started traveling. However, shortly after I moved to Costa Rica, I realized both of these were so far from true. Yes, there are times where you will miss your friends and you feel like the bond isn’t as strong as it was when you were physically with them. However, if they are your good friends, you will find the time to stay in touch with them. With technology where it is today, it makes it incredibly easy to stay in touch with people. For me, my friendship with my friends back in the U.S. have actually gotten stronger. I Facetime or Skype with my friends multiple times per week and we always have some much to catch up on. They love hearing about my travel adventures and I love hearing about their life back in the U.S. The bottom line is if they are your good friend then you will make the time to stay in touch.
In terms of meeting new friends in a different country, it has actually been easier than meeting friends back in the United States. When you are in a new country you become more interesting to the other locals around you. People generally want to meet you and learn more about you. Think about if you met a foreigner in your country. Wouldn’t you be interested about hearing their story? Why they are there? What do they do with their life?? In every place I have traveled to so far, I have met people that I still keep in touch with to this day.
Also, with technology, it makes it even easier to connect with nearby people. You could use meetup.com or even the app Tinder to find people around you. I have actually used Tinder in a variety of different countries and have met awesome people that I still stay in touch with. When you travel, Tinder isn’t used as much as a “hook up” app as it is to meet local people around you.
So don’t let this misconception hold you back from traveling. You will be amazed by all the interesting and unique people you meet as you travel.
For me, I have been traveling around the world for the last three years while still running multiple businesses. The world is my office and none of my businesses require me to be in a specific place. Depending on what kind of travel you are doing (long term stay in one country, a lot of countries in a short amount of time, etc.), you will need to plan appropriately so you can put a few hours of work in on most days. If you have a successful content-based business (i.e. blog, review site, etc.) you will not have to put as many manual hours in of work versus if you own a skill-based business (i.e. graphic designer, copy writer, etc.).
The great thing is even if you have a lot of work to do on a specific day, you can work from a coffee shop in Bali overlooking the ocean or set up shop at a restaurant in Switzerland overlooking the Swiss Alps. Trust me, when you have a beautiful view it makes your work a lot more enjoyable.
So in order to keep your business making money as you travel, you need to automate it as much as possible and then set chunks of time aside in the day dedicated to work. I suggest that everybody get out of their hotel, hostel, or house and get to coffee shop or restaurant. This way you still feel like you are exploring the country by seeing the locals and you will tend to meet more people this way as well. I also like it because it spurs my creativity when I’m constantly seeing new people and things around me.
In the last section of this guide, I will share some more tips and tools that will help you run your business as you travel.
As I referred to above in the misconception section, travel does not have to be expensive. I’m not saying in order for it to be cheap you need to stay in a dirty hostel with rats. I myself have actually never stayed in a hostel. I prefer to stay in hotels, an apartment or a friends house.
Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of beautiful hostels that you can find for less than $20/night around the world. If that is your cup of tea then go for it. It will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Airbnb is a website where owners can rent out their entire house or rooms in their house for as little as one night. You simply go to www.airbnb.com, type in your location and dates and then can immediately see the houses/apartments that are available for rent. I prefer Airbnb over hotels because you can talk directly with the owner of the house. This is good for a couple reasons. First, they are usually willing to give you suggestions on things to do and where to go around the area. Secondly, since you are talking to the owner, you can negotiate the rate. I have used Airbnb or a similar site more than 50 times and I have never paid the listed price on the site. I have paid as little as $40/night. If you want to just rent out a room you can do that as well and the price will be significantly cheaper than renting the entire apartment. Some of the other sites similar to Airbnb are: VRBO.com, HomeAway.com and Flipkey.com. These sites are also a great way to make money as well as you travel. I actually rent out my two condos in the United States on these sites. It’s a great source of automated income and helps me fund my travels.
Couchsurfing provides a platform for members to “surf” on couches by staying as a guest at a host’s home. You simply go to www.couchsurfing.com and create a free account. Then you can type in your location and dates to get paired up with potential hosts.
Once you start talking to potential hosts, you can negotiate rates (if applicable). Most of the time, they will let you stay at their house for free. I’ve used CouchSurfing on a couple of occasions, and both times I had a great experience. I know a lot of people who use CouchSurfing regularly and they always rave about how good it is. You get to stay in a local’s home so it’s a great way to get a sense of the culture and sometimes they will even cook you some local food.
These are the two I use a lot as I travel to new countries. However, I don’t exclude hotels or for long term stays (two months+) I might even talk to a realtor about finding an apartment. You can find hotels for insanely cheap around the world (especially during off seasons). It’s also very easy to find nice apartments for around $400/mo all over the world. In Costa Rica, my apartment was only $400/mo and as I’m currently searching for an apartment in Vietnam, the average rate is around $350/mo.
So as you can see above, travel does not need to be expensive. You can use these sites to find great deals at beautiful houses all around the world.
Along the way through my travels, I have learned a lot and picked up some tricks
to help make your travels easier. Some of the tips and tricks involve technology
and some are just things I learned through experience.
Below you will find products from Google that have really helped me out as I travel.
Google Voice has been a life-changer for me. I’m now able to call and text anybody in the United States for free. I can use my laptop to make calls and send texts or I can download the mobile app. All it requires is a 3G or wifi connection. You simply go to the above link and create a number for free. After that, you will be able to call anyone for free in the country where your number was established. If you want to call a different country, they offer very cheap rates per minute. This has been a huge help in my condo renting business. If my cleaning lady ever has a question she can just sent me text instantly right to my phone for free. This is a must if you start to travel internationally.
Google docs is great free service if you are running an online business. You can create word docs, excel sheets, and presentations to share/collaborate with other people. The documents are hosted in the cloud so you never have to worry about running out of space on your computer or losing information if your computer is lost or damaged.
Google Photos has been another amazing tool for my travels. When you travel, you tend to take a lot of photos and videos. You have to constantly worry about backing them up to your computer in case you lose or damage your phone. Also, it’s very easy to run out of storage on your phone if you are taking so many pictures. Google Photos is a free app that will automatically backup your photos to the cloud as soon as you take them. Then you can go to the above link on your computer or view the mobile app and all your photos will be nicely organized, dated, and tagged with a location. There are a bunch of different things you can do with Google Photos, but for me, the most important thing is that it automatically and instantly saves my photos to the cloud.
There are a handful of translation apps and websites around, however, Google Translate is my favorite. The free mobile app not only has text translation but you can actually hold your phone over text and it will automatically translate it to your native language. Also, it does voice translation as well and lets you have a fluent conversation with someone who speaks a different language. For example, if I was in Brazil and needed to have a conversation with someone in Portuguese, I could say what I want in English and then it would translate it in Portuguese. Then the other person would speak into the phone in Portuguese and it will translate it in English. This is a great mobile app and platform to have handy as you travel!
Before you travel, go online or call your credit card company and ask for a duplicate card. It will have all the same information as your original card but will be good to have if you misplace a card (which you should eventually call and cancel) or if your other card gets damaged through regular wear and tear (which will eventually happen).
I love the app SnapChat for travel because it helps you stay connected to your friends and gives them a view into your life on the road. I feel like Snapchat is the better then Facebook, Instagram or Twitter when it comes to engaging with your friends back at home.
Be sure to add me on Snapchat and watch me live my #ForeverVacation as I travel and party around the world! Scan the code below to add me or enter my username: bendolgoff
Whatsapp is a free messaging app that you will come across a lot as you travel. You will meet a lot of friends throughout your travels and Whatsapp is a great way to get their number and stay connected with them. As you travel, you will realized almost everyone has Whatsapp. You can text/call people for free no matter where they are in the world. Definitely a must to have on your phone!
Now that you are on a #ForeverVacation, you do not need to be constrained by when you can get vacation days off of work. You can make your own schedule and decide to travel when you want. This flexibility will save you a ton of money over the course of your travels. You don’t need to travel on school vacations or holidays based in the U.S. Do your research and see when the off-season is in different countries. Traveling during the off season can save you more than 50% of the total price it could cost you during peak season.
There is no need to be paying $100+ per month for a cell phone provider you won’t be using as you you travel. Call up your carrier and tell them you want to freeze your service. Most of the carriers will do this so you don’t have to pay the monthly bill. If they do not and you really want to keep your number then either port it over to Google Voice for free or use a carrier like Virgin Mobile. You can find plans from Virgin Mobile starting at $15/mo that will let you keep your number with them so you don’t lose it.
I know a lot of you might not want to do this, but my belief is that you don’t need a car if you are on a #ForeverVacation. I personally have not had a car in eight years and have not had any problems. (It helped that I have always lived in a city and I’m aware this isn’t an option for everyone.) I have saved a lot of money not having a car and my life has been less stressful. Remember, the major use of your car is usually to and from work, however, when you work from home or wherever you want then that instantly goes away. You don’t need the added monthly payments while you are traveling and if your car is paid off then you could probably use the extra cash. Not having a car internationally will end up saving you a lot of money. I personally use Uber or taxis when I’m in different countries. They are much cheaper compared to the United States. Also, in Costa Rica, most of my friends had cars so they were always glad to pick me up when we were going out. There are a handful of other services like Instacart and TaskRabbit that will deliver groceries to your door and run errands for you which makes your car even less important. Choosing to sell your car may depend on where you live in the world as I know some places may be a little more difficult to get around and might lack some of these new services.
If you own a house or an apartment then you should definitely look to rent it out while you are traveling around the world. Find a property manager who you trust (maybe it’s just a friend) and let them deal with the tenant while you are gone. This way you don’t have to sell your house and can have your mortgage paid (and maybe some extra cash on top of that) by your tenant every month. As I mentioned above, I rent out my two condos back in the U.S. and it has been a very profitable decision.
I hope this guide has inspired you and pushed you a bit to start traveling and living your #ForeverVacation. As you travel, you will learn things you never knew, meet amazing people you never knew existed and discover places you never thought existed. When I talk about my travel experiences with other people, it’s one of those things you can’t really grasp until you do it. You now have the blueprint for your #ForeverVacation. Now it’s up to you to build it.
Life is better on the other side. Best of luck!