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

  1. Pingback: Something I saw. | gretelschumacher

  2. I did the same thing
    But with only $400 under my name lol ya crazy
    Rent was $400/ month
    And was making 1200-1400/week as a chef
    It was good times!

  3. By the way, I’d also like to comment in regard to the idiot who thinks he knows how the tax system works and said she’s going to owe the US government heaps of money and is going to be in trouble with the IRS…wrong…she was making $1000 per week which, assuming she’s salaried, is $52k per year.. Now, if you know how the system works (which, clearly you don’t) you would know that she only owes the Australian government money at that rate (but given her income would probably be taxed around 17.5% and with a full year of work would get about $2000 back from the Australian government. Now she would have to file her taxes to the U.S. government but she would owe them nothing. Why? Because when you’re a U.S. citizen working overseas, you don’t owe any money to the US government until you make at least $90k. I’ve been living here parts of 4 years now (2012, ’13, ’14, now 2015) and I’ve filed my taxes legally each year..it’s important to know what you’re talking about before you decide to be a douche and yell at someone on the Internet : )

  4. Holy shit the amount of nay sayers on this is ridiculous! i am currently on a working holiday visa, i earn 1200 a week as a research assistant. i came here with 1000 dollars. immigration didn’t check bank account or health insurance. If you can’t do that, that’s fine, but don’t tell other people they can’t either. i can’t fly a plane but i get that there are people who can!

  5. Mike,

    Regardless of income (well, anything over $9k annually), you owe the US government normal taxes, MINUS what taxes you’ve paid to any foreign government. I don’t know where you’re getting your tax advice from, but the 3 different corporate tax attorney’s I’ve consulted say the same thing, the above. You file both your foreign country tax form (and pay/get refunded however they do it), then you file US taxes, and subtract from what you owe the US any taxes that the foreign government had you pay. Oh, and you now have to file paperwork on your foreign bank accounts too (though, they tend to let it slide for people with little money).

    The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (which is likely where you got the $97k number from) applies in certain countries, and to certain people. It depends a great deal on your personal circumstances. Also, to get it, you have to file on-time. If you don’t, you can’t get the FEIE no matter what.

    Not to mention the fact that if you don’t pay FICA taxes (almost 15% now) on whatever income you have, you seriously hurt whatever Social Security or Medicare benefits you might have in the future. Australia has an agreement with the US around FICA taxes, so any social security-style taxes you pay to Australia will count towards US FICA. But only about 20 countries in the world have this agreement.



    As someone who runs an international consulting business, I’m very much aware of what taxation does. I certainly might miss some detail with Australia (because, while I’ve had to file there, I’ve never been a resident of Oz), but the key here is that the details of EVERY country are unique, and someone blythely wandering around the world is going to get into a world of hurt by failing to understand what their tax situation is.

  6. I met this girl when she was working in Sydney. A GREAT girl and an even better prostitute! Every young girl should follow her advice.

  7. hannabanana – here’s the problem with the blog:

    (1) the proposed budget is very unlikely for the vast number of 20-somethings. Very few are going to be able to get something like your post-grad work, and unless they’re in some niche high-demand field (like modelling or hi-tech), they’re simply not going to find any entry-level job for a college grad paying $52k/year in an area which has the described cost-of-living. Especially a job which allows them to work for a while, then travel (that is, effectively temp work) – such work doesn’t exist at the claimed rate of pay.

    (2) if you don’t have health insurance – either via a US-based service, or via the local country’s service – while you work/travel/adventure, you’re a blithering idiot. Injuries and health problems are the #1 way to wreck your life, especially if you can’t pay to have them fixed properly. Running around the world without healthcare is absolutely an immensely stupid idea.

    (3) You have to plan for paying taxes, possibly to the US and your local country, maybe only one of the two. But you have to make sure you know about all the proper forms that need to be filled in, and you need to understand the impact that failing to pay the proper amounts will have on your future. The blog blatantly ignores this issue, and, in fact, gives WRONG and ILLEGAL advice on the subject (if she got her Aus taxes refunded, then she owed tax to the US).

    (4) related to #1, the budget doesn’t allow for repaying your student loans. Ignoring this is mortgaging your future for some fun now, which is a terrible idea. Using credit cards is even worse (which, given the type of blog this is, it looks mostly like a CC astroturf one).

    (5) Failure to follow the conditions of your visa is stupid, and I’m going to call you out on this one. Sure, they might not check to see if you have the required reserves when you enter, 9 times out of 10, but if you’re that 10th person, and you don’t have it, well, they’ll put you back on that plane to the US, and you just blew a (minimum) $800 plane fare. In other respects, if you don’t follow the visa conditions, ANY run-in for ANY reason with the police can turn into a fast deportation. That’s really unpleasant.

    The problem here is a complete lack of planning, and a complete lack of responsibility. It’s possible for most 20-somethings to travel around the world and work/adventure. But you have to be smart about it, and following the directions herein is a recipe for disaster.

    If anyone reading this is serious about this kind of lifestyle, I would strongly advise you two do three things, all of which are cheap:

    (1) Schedule an appointment with the local consulate/embassy for each of the countries you are going to, and ask them all about the particulars of what you want to do. There’s a whole lot of details that are important to know ahead of time.

    (2) Talk to a tax attorney, so you understand what the tax implications of taveling to the countries you want to explore.

    (3) Go to a financial planner, and PAY them their fee to look at your existing financial situation, and then do a budget based on the FACTUAL information you get form #1 and #2.

    Oh, and for everyone’s sake, PLEASE don’t try to use revolving credit as a way of financing your travels.

    The sunny vapidness of this blog is what’s so bad, not the concept. Life abroad is certainly rewarding for many people (both long and short-term). Proper planning is the key to keeping it so, and the level of irresponsibility exhibited in the blog borders on criminal.

    So, be smart, be informed, and plan, plan, plan with realistic numbers, and life abroad is more than worth the effort.

  8. Mike you are clearly mistaken if you think you don’t owe the US for taxes. I live abroad as well, in Indonesia, and any yearly salary above 9k means you will have to pay taxes. Erik you are spot on and Mike will find out soon enough what the penalty is for tax evasion. As far as showing up in a country with no visa, that will get you a quick ticket out of the country with possible fines or jail time. Indonesia and most Southeast Asian countries have 30 day visas, but if you’re caught working on that be prepared for the penalty.

  9. I like how you guys think you know better than the U.S. government..I’ve filed my taxes 3 years running now through H&R block..all 3 years been told the exact same thing-I don’t earn over 90k so I don’t owe anything..filed my taxes and gotten everything cleared…you can’t tell me I’m wrong when I’ve done it three years in a row through the most reputable agency and had absolutely no problems with the government. Maybe look a little further into the matter : )

  10. I think its a bit narrow minded to even suggest that travel is only for the young, thst might have been the case 20 years ago but more older people then ever travel nowadays, im 33 almost 34, and have been to 84 countries so far, and guess what, i have not been to australia or New zealand, and have dont it without earning anywhere near $1000 a week, and i have no parents and never use a credit card, the world is actually a very small place and is actually very cheap to travel, i do it on a barmans wage on a uk salary so for someone with as many options as you should really be able to do it much easier then me and i have done it pretty easy, i have sat playing with penguins in Antarctica, swam with whale sharks in mexico, scuba dived in Bali, hiked volcanos in iceland, and alsorts of crazy things around the world that most people will only ever see online, i respect that you found your way to do it but thats not the way a lot of people do it, and its not only young people……the world is a playground and is open to all those who are willing…..

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  12. yeah..ahhh I’m an Aussie and I find this hard to swallow (as have many others from reading the comments). $150 rent a week in Sydney? Yeah right, the cheapest bed in a hostel is more than that. You must have got very lucky with your job and been getting paid under the table to boot cos tax would have eaten up ur pay (or did you dodge that as well?) rather than a blog whose sole purpose bring to advertise a few companies/programs how about u share more details about where u were working, renting and in what conditions?

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  14. I found this article very inspiring! I am on the same mission at the moment. Recently took the plunge and resigned from my job (for many of the same reasons you mentioned, only living in a different country). After years of slaving away I don’t have big savings to go out and see the world which is my reason to save money in the first place. Really inspiring to hear that there are ways to travel and work around the world regardless. Thanks for this! Let the adventures begin:)

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  16. Sharing stories is what life is about, to answer your question from the beginning. Last year I was shutting down a bar in St. Louis, MO thinking to myself, why have I been struggling to make myself happy in an environment that can’t produce. At that moment I made a promise to myself to change that. Along comes July and my lease is up at my apartment, I had kept myself up at night for months looking up the best cities to live, islands, even Europe! The decision came fast and for a month I couch surfed saving all I could to move away. Looks like that crappy PA job I had for year on a television show provided me with contacts and Intel in a business I thought was unattainable my entire life; the film business, August comes before I know it and I’ve decided to move to LA with $800. Before I left I found a job and was told I could start right away (life will test you). I move and the show gets canceled, I immediatley regret the move. A week later after reaching out to many contacts who didn’t even know I received a call from a number I hadn’t reached out to yet. Now I work at the Studios at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, and I won’t be stopping there. Life is short and beautiful, don’t underestimate the power we hold to make ourselves happy; don’t settle for something that isn’t shouting your name. Have a good day!

  17. Kate, Thanks for the article. That was inspiring even/especially to me who has spent every spare moment either going somewhere or planning to (seems like!) I remember meeting you in Boulder couchsurfing at Wyndham’s house. Travel keeps the endorphins firing and just reading about it makes remember and look forward to great times.

  18. Why don’t you go to grad school so that you can get a better job? I did. Alternatively you could vote for politicians who help the middle class. You know our parents got pensions, social security, and 40 hr work weeks, right?

  19. Good for you!! Sounds like you are one smart cookie!! To know what is important at such a young age and be able to pull it off without begging from others….well I say kudos to you! I Love that comment you made about working just to afford work.😊

  20. I don’t understand some people’s comments-do you not live in Australia? How does $150 a week not seem perfectly reasonable to you? I’ve lived in 4 different share houses over 4 years and am just now paying over $150 for the first time because of a bigger room and a pool in a perfect location..$150 a week is well within reason and you can very often easily do better than that

  21. Just a quick and really interesting question here. Why would people want to see the world or rather travel the world if there is so much interesting places in theier own countries to see. I mean YES, granted there is fascinating places in the world to see but just taking my home country South Africa. I am turning 48 and there is so much fascinating place in my own country that I have not seen yet. all those other worldly places just does not pull me to see them. And to top it all off if I at 48 have not seen all the places in my own country, How much of her own country did this girl see at just over 20? And it is a country much bigger than South Africa. Just a thought.

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  23. I’m in jealousy and awe of what you have done, and only wish I hadn’t been too scared to do what you did.

    You truly are living life! At 32 and with a child I’d be hard pressed to do what you did, but your post has inspired me to try :)

    I bet your having the best kind of adventures right now. I wish you all the best!

  24. You are awesome!! Love this article and am hopefully going to be embarking on my own journey after I graduate!! Thanks for the inspiring words!!

  25. Pingback: Can You Really Make A Living While Working From Home In Your 20s and 30s? | Why Telecom

  26. Hi Kate,

    Two of my friends and I are doing a very similar thing after graduation and moving to Sydney to live and work for a year. Just curious, where were you living? $150 a week sounds awesome and I would love some guidance as far as where to look, thanks!

  27. Pingback: Traveling is all I want | Creating Kimberly June

  28. Pingback: Question: How To You Truly Value Your Money? | Common Blog

  29. I’m sure you’ve been asked this a lot but I don’t feel like searching through the comments, but was your job in Australia?

  30. Pingback: Why You Need a Travel Rewards Credit Card (and Which) – currently exploring

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