931 thoughts on “How I Afford to Travel… And You May Not Like What I’m Going To Say

  1. If you had such a great time, why not tell the truth? This has nothing to do with whether or not you thought it was worth it.

    It’s about being truthful so that others might be able to do the same thing.

    Kate – your finances simply aren’t possible. Either you failed to pay a large chunk of taxes (in which case, good luck traveling in the future when the relevant tax agencies come after you), or you took a job that’s far out of reach of virtually everyone in their 20s. $1000/wk (gross) jobs aren’t just lying around for people to take in AU – median income is $57k, and if you’re in one of the higher-salary areas, your $150/wk housing isn’t possible without living in an (actual) slum. And median-level salaries certainly aren’t just something that a 20-something can walk into, especially being a foreigner. So either: you were extraordinarily lucky, you have a talent far above ordinary, or your lying to us.

    And while you may get your AU taxes back, you owe Uncle Sam. Big time. To the tune of $10k or more for the wages you made during that 6 months. Did you pay that?

    If you saved $10k over 6 months, that’s $400/wk savings. Or 40% of your GROSS income. That’s virtually impossible, given that your weekly NET income (after taxes and housing) at that really, really good job would be around $575. So – you’re telling us that you managed to feed, transit, HEALTH INSURANCE, plus entertain and misc, PLUS make the minimum payments for your student loan and credit cards on $175/week? Uh-huh.

    I suspect you just conveniently forgot to pay taxes. And, of course, mortgaged your future by not paying down your student loans, or saving for retirement.

  2. Teaching is one of the best ways to earn money and travel while being abroad! Totally agree. It’s where I started :)

  3. Pay taxes? I got taxes back :) About two grand. Plus $800 in retirement. That’s my next post. Go troll somewhere else please.

  4. Kate – US citizens have to file and pay US taxes regardless of where they work. You might have gotten back the Australian taxes you paid, but you still had to file a US 1040 and pay taxes to the US. The Australian Tax Office notified the IRS when you claimed the Australian tax refund.

    The US is one of the few countries that do this. You owe normal independent contractor taxes on your wages, minus any UN-refunded tax that you paid to a foreign government.

    So, if you got all your money back from the Australian Tax Office, based on a $52k annual income for a single person, you owed about $13000 to the US government in federal income and FICA taxes. If you only worked that 6 months and then took the rest of the year off travelling, you owe the IRS about $6000. And your failure to pay incurs interest, plus a failure-to-file penalty, which they’re NOT going to forget. At this point, the interest and penalties mean you owe DOUBLE to the IRS.

    And, of course, failing to pay FICA taxes negatively impacts the amount of money you get from Medicare and Social Security when your retire.

    If you think your student loans are a deep hole to dig out of, you’re making it much worse by getting into trouble with the IRS.

  5. Typical millennial who doesn’t want to work for anything and expects everything in return. Enjoy being a poor expat and when you do decide to come back to America, being the poorest out of all your friends.

  6. Look at all these people telling her how stupid her decisions are,.. Mocking her.. But life is just life. It’s simple as that. You live and then you die. So why not take risks? Why not go, “fuck it”, and just jump into something? I’ve been through extreme bouts of depression, even while having tons of money, even having security.. Because I was just working a job and doing mundane shit. Sure, I could go skydiving, or save up and travel to Jamaica for a week to sit on the beach. Or I could work abroad, feel the culture, experience the culture.. That’s what life is about.. Experience.. The good and the bad.. The risks you take.. In the end you die, so why not make the most out of the moments you have now?

  7. Pingback: How I Afford to Travel | Knowledge Is Inspiration

  8. Hi Kate,
    Thanks for the article, the distinction between having material things and spending money on experiences is key. I quit my job about 9 months ago and after selling my house and traveling around the US this week I am off to Thailand, New Zealand and Australia. I am excited to take advantage of the year long visas for people who are 30 and under. Keep writing, I would love to hear more about your experiences traveling and working!

  9. holy frick. I’ve never found an article so meaningful to my life right now. Whoever wrote this article you are my new spirit guide hahaha. I’m glad I’m not the only crazy one out there in this mind set

  10. Honestly, I needed this. I am a cheer coach from Texas getting ready to start job hunting in Australia. Thanks for the helpful advice.

    Maybe il bump into you somewhere cool! 😄

  11. By pure coincidence I am sat reading this article from my 18 bed World Square Hostel room!
    Great read, and a lot of truths!

  12. I went over to New Zealand when I was 22 with a few hundred dollars fortunately getting a job really quickly, worked and travelled for 2 years, had the most amazing time, I really did! same in aus for 1 year, almost homeless at first but survived then and a bit of Indonesia. First of all, it’s only an idiot that would happily go out taking out all these 0% credit cards without 100% knowing you’re gonna be able to pay it back (look into them first). If you’re intending to travel more western countries, unless you’re a pretty girl, it’s not as easy as it sounds just to be able to land in a country and get a job especially one where you think.. Wow I’m glad I travelled here to do this! Living abroad in these places really opened my eyes, met the best of people and by far the most naive too. I want people to go and experience the world, it’s amazing and I appreciate the writers enthusiasm, but don’t underestimate how hard it can be financially.. Save up more before you go abroad, and Keep some as backup.
    For me personally I decided to come back with unreal memories and new best mates and try and pursue my career, content in what I’ve experienced, knowing I can experience short holidays with my family, which will have hopefully not have had their nappies bought with a 0% credit card.

  13. Well done, I’ve travelled around America and Europe but never been able to afford the jump to Oz or any of the other eastern continents. Hopefully one day I’ll still be able to go it.

    Caz, Scotland.

  14. I agree with a lot of this, but the main point – working while she’s away – throws me a bit. I mean, it’s a great idea, but she was INCREDIBLY lucky to find a job that pays $1000 per week for 35 hours. I’m a university educated Australian citizen and have been looking for a job like that here for months.

  15. Awesome, I left Australia 20 years ago with the same dream, lived in 4 countries visited 24 countries and just got back home to Perth. Met some great people who are some of my best friends. Oh and I managed to buy a house a car money in the bank and owe nobody, all off my own back, follow your dreams.

  16. Hey!! i love your attitude :)
    I also have a “work to live; don’t live to work” philosophy, and built my website late last year based around travelling, working, and having an impact round the world. Life is about experiences, not earning.
    Feel free to take a peek at my site if you like – and chuck in a suggestion for “What Baz Should Do”!

  17. How on earth did you land a $1k/week job in Aus in a week. I’m an Aussie and the most I’ve ever made before tax in a full time job without doing ridiculous hours and public holidays in a week was $800.
    It’s a fantastic thought but this is really the exception not the rule. You aren’t going to be able to do this bartending or something like that.. you’ll be lucky to earn $500 in a week if you’re not getting Sunday/public holiday shifts >.> There’s also not these 0% credit cards available freely over here. I had a full time job in the mining industry still only paying about $800/w before tax and couldn’t get accepted for low interest credit cards… Australia has a very different credit system than the US.

  18. You are reckless, risking too much and your advise is ridiculous – How dare you think that this is good advise for anyone – let lone, the young and inexperienced. Peoples need others to care about . What about emergencies ? Health problems ? – you leave a lot out – where does God fit into you romp ? There is much to say about your blog – but the most important thing is – God be with you – who else do you have !!

  19. I really hope people realize that this article is bull shit and just a large marketing ploy by all of the companies that are hyperlinked throughout the paragraphs

  20. On this one, I couldn’t hold my tongue…

    As someone who has had a VERY similar experience in life, I’m in full support of your advice and hope the hopefuls out there consider your words. To respond to your charming commenter, Claudia, who questions what you would do about health problems, etc. and how reckless you must be to travel at a young age (God forbid): In my early 20s, I couldn’t afford health insurance… so I didn’t have it. How was that less reckless? Meanwhile, I was working 4 jobs to make the minimum payments on student loans that got me no where and a car payment for a vehicle that also got me no where. I worked hard. I was praised regularly for my maturity and my skill level…. but just couldn’t land that career-bound job despite hundreds of applications and dozens of interviews. So, I left. Since my leap of faith in 2012, in just 3 short years, I am now completely out of debt, have a full benefits package and have stood in awe on 5 continents.

    So, dear Claudia… How dare you think that your comments and advice are good for anyone, let alone today’s American youth? How dare you try to push your ignorance-inflicted fear of the world on the youth that suffered through graduating college in or around 2008? Rather than using such hateful words toward one young woman’s remarkable journey… consider this: Your God helped to deliver these answers to our “prayers” in the form of a majestic pathway that allowed us to see more of “His” creation and encounter more of “His” people. Who are you to question “His” path for us when it’s not your own – or perhaps it is simply one that you chose to turn your back on? Where is God in your shameful cowardice that leaves you at home year after year, frightened to set foot outside your door for fear of unimaginable health issues or emergencies? Enough of this.

    Kate — congratulations. Live it up, girl. To quote one of my favorite songs these days: May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground. Carry on.

  21. I recognize this site is clearly an astroturf for the CC companies and other corporate sponsors.

    There’s so much information that’s left off about the details (which ARE very important) that it’s borderline criminal fraud.

    (1) The “Work/Travel” visa (417/462) required for Australia is only valid for 1 year, only available to 18-30 year old people, and there are noticeable limits in terms of total number given each year. Work visas are difficult to get in many countries.

    (2) The cashflow presented is completely unrealistic, bordering on fantasy. Jobs like described aren’t available except to a tiny fraction of the population, and certainly not to someone in the situation described. The expenses too are fictional.

    (3) No mention of having to pay taxes or get healthcare, both of which you MUST do, and, particularly healthcare, are an INSANE IDIOT not to have, as without it, you run a very high risk of ruining the rest of your life (physically and/or financially).

    (4) Any concept of future impact of the complete failure of basic fiscal planning is missing. Retirement? Disability? Credit ratings that might impact your future ability to holiday? Debt?

    The “author” – and I use that term sarcastically – is just astroturfing, because anyone who followed these directions is playing Russian Roulette with half the chambers filled with their financial and physical health.

    Being open to travel around the world is certainly a worthy idea, and not being bound to the “expected” course can provide huge life experiences.

    That said, promoting such experiences without a sane (and calculated) risk profile – i.e. basic accounting and realistic projections – is fraud.

  22. Wow! I get what you saying I’m an IT geek who loves to travel. I work, do freelancing and travel on weekends. Economy sucks?? Yes it does… For people like me, planning the travel budget is really important.

  23. Okay so I just read some of the comments here…. some of you are saying pretty ridiculous things. Yes, Kate chose a radical, perhaps even extreme, method to fund her travels and it worked out. It’s a risk she took to create a better future. Not too different to how many people take out student loans to get a degree to gain a better job…. but then many graduates these days are still doing undergrad work, except with heaps of debt…. not too different to the travelling using credit cards scenario. Also those of you who keep saying it all worked out because she’s hot… again complete stupidity. Yes, she’s attractive, and yes, I’m well aware of the increasingly shallow world we live in. But however, I myself have been to Australia… with $400 in my pocket, and I myself, like many people I met there got a job within a week. Australia’s economy is ridiculously good compared to other parts of the world. The least paying job I ever had was $19/hour and that was housekeeping in a hostel in central Sydney. To get a job in Sydney you have to be proactive, go to cafes, restaurants, bars, recruitment agencies, talk to everyone. Don’t just think sending a few applications online will work (although sometimes it does). The easiest jobs I ever got were sales jobs, and although these weren’t for everyone and may kill your soul, doing it for a few weeks raking in $1000/week (which FYI is easily done) is worth it if you can afford to travel for a month or so after. I met countless people there who struggled to get a job, because they just sat on their ass all day not really trying. Also, if you read properly, Kate worked for a PR firm in NY so she’s obviously had decent experience somewhere. Helps to get a job if you’ve had some experience, yes. To those who talk about visa requirements: Yes, you must have proof of funds. However, immigration rarely checks this. If they did she might be stuck, but again that’s a risk Kate took and it worked out. Also I’ve been traveling, working and living overseas for 4 years, and I’ve never had health insurance. Oh gosh. Drama. Not.

  24. Again along the lines of the other comments. I studied university for 4 years, got a job straight out of university, and I STILL earn less than $1k a week working 38 hours too. Yes, be smart with your money, but also be realistic about your assumptions.

  25. I have been waiting for the chance to make the push forward 6 years I have been waiting to go booki my visa was the best thing I have done after being offeredy dream job I had to turn it down to make the risk and go can’t wait this article was the big tick in the box life will always be a struggle and having money is the ‘ideal’ success but what’s money with out memories !! Thank you for this page will change my life!!

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  27. It works. I have a Grandson who started out in Europe over a year ago. Now in Canada. Backpacked and has always had work. For the young this worlds has changed and the opportunities are many and varied. I guess all you have to do is be confident in yourself and just do it. The people he has met and befriended, the places he has been, makes life worth living with an experience of a lifetime. This may be trite but if enough young people travel meet and communicate with enough other young people and they all talk peace and learn to interact they may just change the world to become a better place. I am 80 years old and I have faith in the younger generation.

  28. Also, having done all that you’ve mentioned, it’s NOT reckless. They just don’t know what it’s like and if you continue to play your cards right, you’ll be absolutely fine :)

  29. I am not sure about this article but DFAT and the Department for Immigration and Citizenship have some fairly stringent rules on work visa’s and the like now, you must have health insurance and proof of money other wise you will not be given a working visa, this is only one of many conditions placed on working here, I would advise people to go to the Australian immigration website to see the real facts…add to that the miraculous job she got (hats off to her) but these are pretty rare first hand, you might also want to check out rent in Sydney or other cities first too, not cheap.

  30. I’ve done what Kate tries to promote (i.e. I travel and work internationally), and you’re a blithering fool if you don’t have health insurance. I realize most people reading this are 20-somethings who think they’re indestructible. And don’t consider that taxes and retirement are REQUIRED for you to pay.

    If you think student loans are a burden, try having to be force repatriated back to the US when you can’t pay for a broken leg. Or any number of modest (non-life-threatening) injuries people are prone to get while exploring. For an active person in your 20s, you have even (that is 50/50 chance) odds of having a major accident sometime before you hit 30 – car accidents are the biggest (and, much higher likelihood when in the 3rd world), and various “sports”-style injuries next, typically when exploring attractions. A quick trip to a hospital can run you several thousand for a minor injury (say, simple broken limb), and run up fast. Unlike the US, many other countries WON’T treat you unless you can pay.

    And if you don’t pay the taxes you owe, good luck coming back to the US without being in a world of hurt. The IRS coordinates with all Western country’s Tax Services, and knows about what you’ve been paid. They’re also cooperating with many popular expatriate countries, so the IRS knows what you owe. And penalties stack up fast. Want to ruin your credit, never be able to buy a house or car here in the US? Fail to pay your taxes. And it will take YEARS to clear your name after you’ve paid off the debt, which will be 2x – 3x what you originally owed.

    I honestly can’t think of a better way to screw up your life than follow “Kate”‘s suggestions.

    If you want to travel and experience things, then you absolutely must plan it out, and take care to cover all your bases. It’s eminently possibly, but not something you do “seat of the pants”.

    Kate’s suggestions are about as sane and realistic as if a High School senior, never having done anything but go to their classes, suddenly decided that they wanted to go to Harvard, and showed up at the Admissions Office, expecting to be given a space and start class the next day.

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  32. This is a super simplified and unrealistic attempt to convey the joys of travelling. Finding a job in a foreign country isn’t as simple as walking in with a ‘0% credit card’ and change in your back pocket. Also the fact that you consider yourself money savvy is laughable.

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