How We Afford to Travel

One of the questions we hear most often is “How can you afford to travel so much!” It definitely seems expensive. How can we afford to travel for nine months with three children? 

Visiting Cinque Terre in 2016. One of the three trips we have been on in 9 years in which Justin hasn’t brought his laptop for work.

Working Remotely

First, and most importantly, Justin works! When in Colorado, he works remotely from home. When traveling, he continues to work a minimum of eight hours a day, five days a week. We do not have a secret stash of mountains of money. In Spain, Justin has been working 4PM-12AM to align with US time zones. He works mainly outside the apartment at a co-working space nearby. He can flex his schedule a bit if needed, or take a day off here and there if we are in transit or want to do something special.

That work-from-home/dad life.

Save and Budget

Another way we can afford to travel is by prioritizing it in our budget. We save money each month specifically flagged for travel. We live a fairly minimalist life in Colorado. We have one vehicle, and we live in a townhome whose mortgage doesn’t monopolize our income. This townhome is key to our ability to travel long-term because it is highly rentable. We are renting to university students (Lord help us) this school year. The rental income more than covers our mortgage and pads our travel savings even more each month. We started the trip with a savings of about $10k (USD), which has covered our apartment deposit and first month-and-a-half of rent, as well as plane tickets to Spain, Morocco, Malaysia, and to-and-from Australia/New Zealand, which gets us to the end of February. Of course, the travel fund continues to get fed just as it would at home.

We always fly with “lap babies” (but only one at a time!)

Get Saavy with Credit Card Points

Points! Guys, we spend a lot of money on travel. Having a credit card that rewards us for spending money is clutch. We have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, which awards us 3 points for every $1 we spend on travel (airfare, accommodations, and even restaurants). Booking hotels with these points has been the most bang for our buck, and we rarely need to pay cash for hotel accommodation.

Travel don’t vacation

Lastly, this trip is not a vacation. We live a normal, everyday life in normal, everyday accommodations; we just do it in a different, more affordable country. Staying in one place for a longer stint naturally makes our cost of traveling much lower because accommodations are cheaper and we are not entertaining ourselves they way we might on a vacation. We are renting long-term apartments where neighbors are locals and public transportation is close by. I still clean our own toilets and am constantly drowning in laundry. Sure, we may be a short walk from the beach, but we are not lounging in the sun, drinking margaritas for nine months. That would be a very unbalanced, very expensive, unsustainable way of life. That said, we do have a few of “vacations” planned this next nine months, and there is sure to be a margarita with my name on it.

Visiting the butcher at the Mercado de Cabanyal in Valencia, Spain.

Any other questions about how we made this trip possible? Ask away!

3 Comments

  • Great post! So much great information. What app or website do you go through for long term apartment rentals?

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