When I asked professional hobo Nora Dunn how she’s stayed on the road since 2006, she revealed her biggest golden egg: Bartering. By exchanging light work for lodging, she eliminates a large portion of her expenses. On an all-expense paid trip to Spain, which included three-course meals and wine, Dunn exchanged English conversation sessions with paying guests of a language program. Her only cost was her plane ticket. Reducing your overhead is the key to affording long-term travel.
Use currency differences to get more bang for your buck while traveling. If you earn money in a country with a high-value currency, leverage that value into a higher standard of living by traveling in countries where the overhead is extremely low. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself able to live somewhere exotic with a nanny, driver and house keeper for less money than you pay for rent back home.
When freelance writer Thursday Bram goes on a vacation, she tries to book for three months at a stretch. That time frame saves her money in several areas. Landlords are willing to negotiate for a lower price when leases are 30 days or longer. Also, three months is long enough to find a local buddy to show you the ropes with the public transport systems, and scope out food vendors willing to negotiate on price.
House sitting is growing in popularity for both home owners and travelers alike. People who prefer the security of a live-in person while they are away or who have pets that need care often post available openings for responsible travelers needing accommodation. Provided both parties live up to their end of the bargain, this is a win-win situation. We’ve been house sitters in Jordan, and were able to extend our stay in that country for roughly three and a half weeks. Similarly, when we traveled to Quito, Ecuador for a month, we used a house sitting service to find free care for our Labrador.
House swaps are another way to go, particularly if you haven’t sold your home prior to your long-term travel itinerary. Personally, my husband and I are hoping to do this in order to return to Bolzano, Italy, or perhaps to experience Wales for the first time. I have travel colleagues however who have used this strategy to spend six weeks in Nicaragua, several months in the Caribbean and even enjoy a mountain cabin retreat.