6 Travel Hacks and Habits that Have Already Saved Me Nearly 40k
I haven’t been a proper backpacker for the past five years of my travels. You see, I started working. I became one of those “digital nomads.” I actually found myself right in the digital-nomad bullseye, working for one of the very first travel companies to cater to the growing flock — I became a Program Leader for Remote Year’s third-ever program. For their third year-long trip around the world.
At this point, I was still traveling, but now in a community, now with a new purpose, now with a fat paycheck. Well, not fat — but it sure felt fat. After volunteering 25 hours a week for pancakes and a hammock, after laying bricks for eggs and a bunk bed, after doing whatever needed to happen to keep my travels alive for nearly four years, making an average starting salary for a U.S. company had me feeling like Scrooge McDuck backflipping into a fountain of gold coins.
In those first four years of open-ended travel (which I wrote a whole book about), I punched a new, tighter hole, in my financial belt with every overnight bus, with every new passport stamp. I was addicted to the adventure, and I knew the only thing that could truly stop me was not being able to afford the next night in a shared dorm room. I didn’t live like Buddha in the forest practicing extreme asceticism, but I definitely didn’t miss a free hostel breakfast. I was aware of each dollar, each pile of foreign change in my pocket that would be able to buy bananas or a beer for only two more days until I crossed the next border.
I began doing many simple things to save, to create bigger and bigger piles of foreign change. From these saved pesos or baht, I could buy more and more bananas, peanuts, and Oreos. From eating bananas, peanuts, and Oreos for an entire meal, I could buy another night in a hostel — I was laying the tracks in front of the train while it was rolling downhill. It worked! The train kept going. The adventure continued.
I ended up working at Remote Year for over four years, and those fat (read: average) paychecks added up. I’ve become far more financially stable than…