If your idea of retirement is to travel the world, then I have good news. You don’t have to wait. Thanks to high speed internet and availability all over the world, you can now work while you travel. As a bonus you also get to opt out of the corporate rat race and live on your own terms.
Many people are deciding that they have the skills to work for themselves and see no need to sit in an office all day and commute. Anybody can do it, but there does need to be a little bit of research to understand how things work. This way you can decide if it is even going to work for you or not.
For instance, it’s important to understand what the costs are so you can budget. Travel is expensive but there are ways of keeping the costs low so you can actually make a living. In this article, we will go over the costs involved so you know what you’re getting into.
One of the constant expenses that you’ll have to deal with is health insurance. Many countries outside the US have good healthcare systems that are paid for by taxes. Since you didn’t pay into the system you can’t access the public option in that country.
It may also be the case that you are traveling in places with poor healthcare infrastructure and the public option is not up to your standards. In either case, you’ll need to have your own insurance visitors coverage for private doctors and hospitals.
This is different than traveler’s insurance which covers you in case of a canceled flight or if there is a weather emergency depending on the types of coverage you opt for. This is for doctor’s visits and hospital stays if you get sick while on the road.
This should also be part of your budget as you have a much higher risk of needing that kind of insurance since you will be taking far more flights than the average person.
In general, plan on a few hundred dollars being spent per month if you are single and under 30 years of age. There are too many factors that go into how much you will pay so it can’t be accurately calculated.
Travel can take up a big chunk of your income if you decide to travel very often. The initial expense to get to your first country is likely to be the most expensive, however. Many initial digital nomads go to Southeast Asia to start out so a one way ticket from most US airports will cost roughly between $700 and $800. This is what you will need to get started.
Once you arrive, then how and how often you decide to travel is going to impact your budget. If you are on a tight budget since you are starting out then your best bet is to stay put for a while before moving on.
Travel between countries close together can be very cheap. Flights aren’t always necessary, either. There are busses and trains that can get you to your next destination if you plan things out well.
Your monthly travel expenses can be as little as $50 or as much as $500 depending on how you travel. Try to focus on regions so you don’t have to fly as much and stay more than a month at a location before moving on to save money.
Another big monthly expense is going to be where you stay. It’s important to have a decently furnished place to be comfortable. More important is that you have good internet if you plan to work from there, or be close to a coworking space. Being close to the center of things is a good idea since you won’t be buying a car. This is going to cost more than a place further from the center of town.
How much it will cost is highly dependent on the country and city that you’ve chosen. Think about how much you can spend per month on housing and then look for destinations that have an average price within that range. It should cost less than 30% of your income for your housing.
Cheap accommodations can be had in places like Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. There are also cheap options in South America and Africa, but the tradeoff is poor internet. In general, you can find small apartments that are comfortable and modern for between $300 and $400 a month. You could easily spend more than that and may even be able to spend less, but it all depends on how comfortable you need to be and what your budget is. That figure is a good average to keep in mind, however.
Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.