Financing your RTW Travels

by Lexa Pennington / Oct 25, 2012 /
Lexa Pennington's picture

You're planning on taking off for a year to explore the world, on a RTW (round the world) trip. You're slowing building up the essentials you need - such as time off work (create a sabbatical, move to location independent work, untether from your desk), schooling on the road for your kids, etc.
But the main question you will always get (and worry about, at night) is this:

How do you finance your RTW trip?

Well, there are many options. Take a look:

  1. Sell everything. Some people, when they choose to move toward a nomadic lifestyle, sell everything. They end up with a few suitcases (or backpacks) to take with them, a few boxes in storage in someone’s basement (thanks, mom and dad), and lots of cash to support their travels.  The downside? If and when you come back, you’ve got to start over (including your car?!). And, this is a really difficult process for most people, to pare down this way.
  2. Take out a loan. While this isn’t for everyone, if you have a stable income, utilizing bank loans can be a good option. You won’t have to worry about money, but you do need to be on time with your repayments.
  3. Work on the road. This can be with your current job, if you are able to telecommute. Or, you could find new ways to work on the road. If you have the right qualifications, you could find work wherever you’re headed, although usually you’ll need to stay in places longer than a typical RTW trip averages. You could freelance your skills, on sites such as odesk and elance.
  4. Save. Many people go this route, forgoing their daily lattes, bringing their own lunches, and eating at home more. By counting costs at home, they can finance their travels. Downside: this could take a while, if you’re eager to get going.
  5. Travel frugally. This seems to be an option for younger people, instead of families. Some travelers have been able to travel for almost nothing, by couchsurfing, WWOOFing (working on farms), and catching rides. A sense of adventure is required!

Are you planning a RTW trip? How will you finance it?