Use an Online Savings Account to Save Money No Matter Where You Travel

by Bert Maxwell /
Bert Maxwell's picture
Jan 29, 2014 / 0 comments

Once you embrace the wandering educator life, you have to accept that you may not have a steady paycheck like some of your peers. Yes, you may spend a year working for a single school in one country, but then it may be three to six months before you get your next teaching job. Or, you may choose to take some time off to travel, strapping on your backpack to see where you end up. Either way, there's one thing that's clear: savings are important.

Use an Online Savings Account to Save Money No Matter Where You Travel

How much should you save? 20% of your income -- or more

How much should you save? Well, that's a tricky question. Experts suggest that the average employed adult should save approximately 20% of his or her income, to be used in emergencies, bouts of unemployment, or -- if all goes well -- as part of a retirement fund.

The trouble is that you're not the average employed adult. You're probably a freelancer. You know that you'll have upcoming bouts of unemployment. And you may never want to retire -- you may just want to keep teaching and traveling for as long as you can.

So how much should you save? Well, in your case, as much as possible. If you can save 20%, that's great. If you can save 30%, even better. Chances are, you're living in an area where the cost of living is pretty low, so you are probably able to save more as a wandering educator than you would be able to save if you were a full-time teacher in your home country.

Why save, and not spend? Think of it this way: every bit of money you save now is an adventure you can have later. The more money you save, the longer you can keep traveling and the longer you can go between periods of employment.


Online savings accounts let you travel and still access your savings

Once you've committed to saving money, the next question is where to save your money. You want something that can travel with you wherever you go. Something that is accessible no matter which country you're in. Something that isn't tied to a brick-and-mortar location. In short: you need an online savings account.

An online savings account is nearly exactly like a regular savings account. You can deposit money directly into it, and withdraw money or transfer money into a checking account when it's time to spend your savings. There are a few key differences: first, since the account is completely online, it travels with you wherever you go. If you have an internet connection, you can access your online savings account.

The second benefit of the online savings account is the increased interest rate. The Discover Bank online savings account, for example, offers over 5X the national savings average. This means that by saving your money in an online savings account, you can earn 5X as much interest. That's more money you can put toward future adventures.

Make sure to compare several online savings account rates, to know you're getting the best interest.


How to get your money, when you need it

Once your money is in your savings account, you can transfer it to your checking account online and then withdraw it, wherever you are, from any international ATM. That's one of the great benefits of traveling today; all you need is a debit card and you can instantly get money in the local currency.

If, for any reason, you're in an area without ATMs, use a wire transfer service such as Western Union or Xoom to transfer money to yourself. Simply find an internet connection, make the transfer, and go down to the local grocery store or wire station and pick up your cash.

The one issue with having an online savings account is that you can't deposit cash. That is: if you get paid in cash for your teaching services, you won't be able to put the money into your savings account. Ask your hosts if you can get paid via PayPal instead, since PayPal accepts international payments. Then, you can transfer a percentage of your PayPal balance to your online savings account and watch your savings grow.

If you can't get paid via PayPal, then make sure you use your cash as your spending money. Keep your savings and your checking accounts intact, and only spend the cash you have on hand. If you can't deposit money into your savings account directly, consider setting aside part of your cash to put into your savings account once you reach your home country.

Saving money requires discipline; however, it's something you can do no matter where you go. Start saving now, and when you need money for your next adventure, it will be there for you.