How To Travel The World For Free (Digital Nomad)
People are waking up. The way we work is changing fast. Make no mistake about it, we’re going through a massive shift in our society, and for the first time in history, people can work where the hell they want if they have a laptop and an internet connection.
You can travel the world and see more exotic places in one month than our ancestors did in their entire lives. Shockingly – most people haven’t caught onto this yet. They’re still stuck in the brick-and-mortar mentality, working mundane 9-5 jobs, counting the days until their next holiday. But for people who value freedom as we do, we can enjoy it permanently. It’s a massive opportunity, and if you aren’t taking advantage of it, the best time to start is NOW.
I’ve traveled to 15+ countries as a digital nomad working with my laptop and an internet connection. Now, at this point, my business is doing pretty well financially, but it didn’t start that way. The good news is – you can do this for cheap. Do you want to sip coffee working from your laptop in Bali and go surfing in the afternoon? In this video, I will show you exactly how you can create this kind of lifestyle of radical freedom as a digital nomad. I hope your passport is still valid. You’re gonna need it.
Now, there’s one step to traveling the world that you can’t do without—generating a source of income that doesn’t require you to be in the same place AND pays well enough to support this lifestyle. You can keep costs fairly low, but I’ll get to that in a while. But first, let’s talk about how to earn money on the road.
Making money as you travel
Let me be clear to you – if you’ve been working a job for a while, you absolutely have the skills and potential to make money online and finance a digital nomad lifestyle. All you need to do is find decent location-independent work that brings your skills and qualifications into the mix. Luckily, the pandemic blew the lid off and now companies realise the benefits of remote work. It’s much easier than it used to be. Even if you don’t have the skills right now to get paid what you want, the internet has made it much easier to learn those skills rapidly. For example, you can learn a high-income skill like copywriting in less than 6 months and be getting paid damn well for it. That beats a $40,000 college degree with no job guarantee, eh? And by the way – if you move to a cheap country like Thailand or Vietnam, you can basically put a crown on your head because you’ll be living like a king out there.
So, let’s see what you could do. Think about what you’re good at. Can you write? Can you build websites? Are you a people person? Do you have great organizational skills? Ask yourself these types of questions and then come up with a list of potential jobs you could do. If you already have a job that matches your qualifications really well, see if there’s a way to make it remote by looking at remote jobs websites like remote.co, dynamitejobs.com, flexjobs.com and justremote.co. There are a bunch of others but they should get you started. Going remote could be as simple as talking to your boss or looking around the job market for similar remote positions. Regardless of how you go about it, the key is to find the overlap between your skills and the jobs that need your skills.
Once you have a list of jobs, think about which ones would be the most feasible to do from anywhere in the world. In other words, which jobs require you to be chained to one location and which jobs could you do with a laptop and a cell phone? This should help you narrow down the list and find the job (or jobs) that are digital nomad-friendly AND a good match for you.
Now, here’s a tricky part…
Should you be an employee or an entrepreneur? If you’ve watched my videos before, you know I’m a big proponent of people working for themselves. It’s the only way I was able to become fully self-sufficient and earn $4 million online so far while traveling the world since 2015. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with working for someone else. Plus, being a remote employee is a great way to get your feet wet with the digital nomad lifestyle before you graduate to being a fully fledged digital nomad entrepreneur.
You also have to keep in mind that most entrepreneurs don’t start making enough money to pay their bills until they’ve been working for at least 6 months or potentially longer. For me, I got my first sales 3 months after starting my business and about 7 months later I began traveling the world and I didn’t look back. So, this means that if you’re ready to hit the open road today, you may want to hold off on your entrepreneurial dreams until you’ve saved up a little money or are sure that you can earn a certain level of income to pay for your travels. This brings me to the extremely important issue of travel costs…
How to Keep Travel Costs Low
I’ll be completely honest with you, you can’t travel the world for free. You probably weren’t surprised by that, though. You won’t actually be traveling for free per se, but unlike a vacation where you have to pay a large amount of money to see new places, the digital nomad lifestyle allows you to work and travel and do everything you want to do without breaking the bank because you earn money from your laptop, so essentially you’re traveling for free because of the income generating system you’ve built. Naturally, in addition to a steady income from location-independent work, this will also require some clever budgeting on your part.
Whether you’ve got $100 or $10,000 in the bank right now, you should always aim to keep your living and travel costs as low as possible, especially when you’re first dipping your toes in the digital nomad pool. This way, you can gauge how well your income covers your expenses and adjust your budget later on. If you try to live a life of luxury and fly first class right off the bat, you’ll likely have to give up your digital nomad dream in a matter of weeks, if not sooner.
But isn’t traveling really expensive? The answer is no, at least it doesn’t have to be. I usually travel for pretty cheap. Oh, unless you count that time in Melbourne when I drank too much, got my phone stolen, forgot where I was staying and had to pay a taxi driver to drive me around until I found the place. *awkward pause* But ANYWAY… being a digital nomad means planning out your life meticulously, particularly when it comes to accommodations and transportation. For example, if you live in the U.S. now and want to travel the world, think about the first things you’ll need to pay for: a plane ticket and a place to stay. After that, you’ll need to worry about food, entertainment, etc., but for now, let’s just focus on those first two expenses because they are by far the most important and the most expensive.
A quick Google search will show you the kind of prices you can expect from your current location to your desired destination. And here’s a quick pro tip: when you start searching for flights and hotels, remember to put your browser in private search mode and, ideally, use a VPN. This will make it harder for airlines to jack up the prices while you shop around for a discounted ticket. You can keep that tip and thank me later.
Also, be very mindful of when you choose to travel. Every region has its peak season when prices are much higher. Generally, it’s more expensive to travel during the summer months or around the holidays, but this doesn’t apply to the entire globe. Try to travel during off-peak seasons to get the best rates on flights and accommodations. This could end up saving you hundreds or even thousands from the start. And remember that digital-nomading is all about finding the best travel deals, so if you can start accumulating reward miles or enroll in a credit card travel rewards program, do it as soon as possible. This way, every purchase you make could literally help you save money on your next travel-related expense.
If you’re not sure where you want to go yet, you should probably base your decision on the price of the ticket and the cost of living. I’ve talked to hundreds of digital nomads over the years, and most will tell you that Southeast Asia is a great place to start. While the ticket to get from the U.S. to just about anywhere in Asia can be pricey, the cost of living there is very low, which makes it easy to live, even on a meager income, the most popular destination being Thailand.
For example, the minimum salary recommended to live in Thailand is around $650 per month. That’s a little over half of what you would earn working 40 hours a week on minimum wage at home. The minimum salary in Vietnam is just a little more at $700 per month, while you could potentially get by in Cambodia for as little as $500 per month. So yeah, Asia is a very popular place to start as a digital nomad. And if you’ve never been, you’re probably going to fall in love with all of the food and culture that places like Thailand or Taiwan have to offer. There is a great website called Numbeo which can tell you all about the cost of living in different locations worldwide.
Now keep in mind that the numbers I mentioned are just the minimum figures you need to pay for rent and food. These don’t factor in the cost of actually traveling around and enjoying yourself. This is why you need to find ways to budget your life as much as possible, even if you plan to bum around the cheapest countries in Asia. A lot of people recommend house-sitting, but that practice is not common in every country you’ll visit. Plus, the language barrier could make it really difficult to find locals willing to provide you with free accommodations.
Instead, I recommend linking up with other expats and digital nomad communities online. These are the best places to meet friends, ask questions, and make sure that you’re ready for the digital nomad lifestyle. There are many Facebook groups for this, for example. And if you’re lucky, you could find someone who’s willing to let you couch surf for a few days, weeks, or months until you’ve found a place of your own. This is actually one of the best ways to save on overhead as soon as you arrive in a new country. As an added bonus, you can build a network of friends and even colleagues all over the world.
Now, once you get to your first destination, you’ll want to make sure to save a buck wherever you can. This means walking, biking, and taking the cheapest forms of public transportation as much as possible. It may be tempting to hop in a cab or call an Uber, but try to resist the urge. Instead, do everything you can possibly do to live like a local. Remember that in many countries you visit, locals are living on a salary that is just a fraction of what you’re making. So, sit back and observe. How do locals get around? What are they eating? Do they cook their own meals? How do they stay entertained on a tight budget? The more you can learn to live like a local wherever you go, the better prepared you will be to travel as much as you want.
Building Security Through Remote Revenue Streams
So far, I’ve really focused on getting started as a digital nomad. But the real joy of being a digital nomad is the freedom to travel whenever and wherever you want. Naturally, this means you’ll need to be saving and planning for travel costs in advance. If you’re sticking to a tight budget and earning at least 2x what you need to live comfortably in a given location, you should be set.
That said, you need to remember that there are a lot of costs associated with perpetual traveling that you may not have anticipated, like visas (including emergency visa runs), insurance, and the upkeep of your work equipment, just to name a few. If you’re not calculating all of these costs into your budget, your digital nomading is going to get cut short really fast. This is why I always urge people who want to become digital nomads to begin building more than one revenue stream now. If you work as an employee, you may think you’re all set with your salary, and that may be true. But if you don’t have at least 2 revenue streams, you’re honestly just leaving money on the table.
Whether you invest money and earn dividends from stocks or build a semi-passive income with a travel blog, you can make extra cash on the side to help fund your lifestyle. Over time, these revenue streams will grow, allowing you to work less and enjoy traveling more. This is when you can actually travel the world for free.
The real secret to becoming a digital nomad is planning ahead, understanding the costs, and most importantly, taking that first leap of faith. You’d be surprised how many people dream of living the nomadic lifestyle, only to give up before they even start. Why? Because moving to an unfamiliar place and living on your own can be scary. But in the end, if you can truly travel the world for free and work the way you want to, isn’t it worth it?