Here are 6 ways that you can pull off the family trip of a lifetime, and even escape the rat race forever! We’ve used most of these strategies to fund our own family’s world travel adventure, and you can too!
The One Thing That Can Drastically Increase Your Chances of Success
Before you do anything else, start the process of paying off your credit card debt, student loans, car loans and stuff like that. If you can free yourself from all of those monthly payments, you’ll have more money to put towards your living expenses while you’re traveling the world with your family.
The only debt I’d recommend you keep is your mortgage… as long as the payments aren’t too big (Keep reading to find out why!)
And now let’s get on with it – my top 6 strategies for finding enough money to travel the world (even if you have kids along for the ride!):
Strategy #1: Sell Your Stuff and Use the Proceeds to Fund Your Trip (Plus, How to Make the MOST Money Possible!)
This is the most simple strategy by far, and depending how much stuff you have, you might end up being able to travel for a year or more.
For this to work as your ONLY strategy, you’ll need to have a few big ticket items like a newer vehicle or two that’ll sell for thousands of dollars. That could easily get you anywhere from 10-30k of cash to spend.
But even if you don’t plan on funding your entire trip via selling your things, it’s still worth it to earn at least some of the money for your trip this way.
Make More Money by Selling Seasonal Things When Demand is at a Peak
We sold our BBQ at the beginning of summer, our snowblower at the start of winter and sold Halloween Costumes a month before Halloween for top dollar! We made $700 off our snowblower this way, a sum that we’d never had gotten if we’d waited until spring to get rid of it.
Make More Money by Cleaning Up Your Stuff Before You Sell It
What would you pay more money for? The ratty, old-looking, dirty thing? Or the super duper clean one?
I’m always amazed when I see people selling used stuff that’s dirty. It only takes a few minutes to clean it up, make it look amazing, and make MORE money!
This Is How Much Money We’ve Made So Far by Selling Our Stuff
You can see from my list that we haven’t even sold any cars, furniture, appliances or electronics, yet we still made over $3000 – that’s 2 months of living expenses in SE Asia easily!
Strategy #2: Save Your Little Heart Out
Start planning several years in advance, trim your monthly spending and put every dime of leftover cash you have in a family world travel savings account.
This can really add up.
Ditch Your Expensive Cell Phone Plans
Consider the family who has what I call the super ultra deluxe cell phone plan (unlimited texting, unlimited minutes, plus a data plan) at $100 a month. That’s $1200 a year. And maybe mom and dad each have a phone, so that’s $2400/year!
Now don’t freak out when I suggest this, you really can do it (we do!)
Ditch those expensive plans and SHARE 1 cell phone that you use as a pay-as-you-go phone. For $10 a month ($120/year) we keep our phone running, and only use it for emergencies. Whoever is likely to need it more gets to keep the phone on them that day.
Savings: $1080-$2280 per year.
Scrap Your Morning Stop at the Coffee Shop
Consider the guy or gal who stops at Starbucks or Tim Horton’s every morning for a cup of coffee on his way to work. Depending on what you order, you could be spending anywhere from $2-5 a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, on coffee.
That works out to $520-$1300 a year on coffee for 1 person, or $1040-$2600 per year for 2 people!
Instead, make it at home for much less (use a thermos to bring it to work.) Or, use the office coffee maker to make yourself fresh coffee at work. Or heck, BUY an office coffee maker for 20 bucks and use that if you need to. Either way it’ll be way less expensive than buying it at the local coffee shop, and the savings will top up your trip fund..
Don’t Eat Out at Restaurants So Often
I hope you’re not buying your lunch at work every day. If you do, for the love of Pete, stop now!! Let’s say lunch at work costs you $5-$10 per day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. That’s $1300-$2600 a year on lunch!
If you want to travel, I recommend you put those spendy habits in the past and put that $1300-$2600 a year into your trip fund.
Make your lunch at home and brown bag it from here on out. And trust me, this doesn’t have to suck. Homemade lunches can be fabulous as long as you plan ahead and stock your kitchen with lots of yummy options.
How often do you eat out for supper at restaurants with your family? I bet you can cut back on this, and put the leftover money into your family world travel savings account!
7 More Ways to Save Money for Family World Travel
- Are you renting? See if you can rent a less expensive place.
- Do you own your own home? Consider renting out a room to a college student. It’s win-win – they get a homey place to live, you get money for your travel fund!
- Do you have a car loan? See if you can sell your car and buy a much less expensive one for cash – you’ll save lots of money on interest that you would have been paying, and pocket that cash instead!
- Does your family have 2 cars? Maybe you can sell one of them and make do with only 1 car. Cash from selling your car, plus savings on maintenance for the second vehicle will top up your travel fund nicely!
- Have you considered using the less expensive public transit instead of owning a costly personal vehicle?
- Skip the monthly visits to the hair salon and cut your kids hair yourself! For boys, you can buy an inexpensive hair cutter than makes it super easy to give them professional-looking haircuts (this is what we do!). For girls, all you need is a pair of hair-cutting scissors.
- Cook from scratch instead of buying more expensive convenience foods at the supermarket. No time? Use a slow cooker – they’re fast to fill up in the morning before work and when you get home you’ll have a hot and delicious meal waiting for you.
And, the most important thing you can do?
Adopt a necessities only budget (within reason of course). Focus on spending money only on those things you can’t do without: food, rent/mortgage payments, utility bills, household supplies etc. If you don’t NEED it, don’t buy it.
If you can be really hard core about this, you’ll save a ton of money. But if it makes you feel too deprived, then loosen the purse strings a bit – it’ll just take you a bit longer to save up the money you need.
Strategy #3: Figure Out How to Earn Money with Nothing But Your Computer and an Internet Connection
Now before you say “but I can’t do that!”, give this some thought…
There are people who have come before us that have figured this out. If they can do it, why the heck can’t I? Why the heck can’t you?
People are making money selling their own self-published books on-line, building up a popular membership site around a niche they are passionate about, pay-per-click advertising, freelance writing (so many topics to write about!)… the possibilities are endless!
I’m not going to tell you this is going to be easy – it’ll take time, and loads of patience. But, if we can pull it off we’ll have an extra layer of insurance protecting us from having to rejoin the rat race.
THIS is one of the key strategies we’re going to pursue in order to ensure our dream of permanent travel becomes real.
Now I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I’ve made a start. I have a travel site that makes between $100-$200 per month. I know that’s nothing to brag about – but it WILL fund a month’s stay in Thailand every year, so I’ll take it! My hope is that as I improve my travel site, I’ll eventually be able to earn more money from it. And I have a few other on-line experiments that I’ve started and am looking forward to seeing how they turn out.
Strategy #4: Negotiate a Remote Work Agreement With Your Employer
If you are one of the lucky ones who has a job that’s compatible with working from home, why not ask your employer if they’ll let you?
If I were so lucky, I’d start by asking for 1 day a week, and if that worked well, attempt gradually work my way up to 5 days a week of working from home.
After that, the world is yours! What’s to stop you from doing your work as usual, and traveling the world while you’re at it?
Strategy #5: Sell Your House
If I thought house prices were likely to fall where I lived, I’d seriously consider cashing out and using the money to fund my travels.
As long as your house is worth more than what you have left to pay off your mortgage, this could be a quick and easy way to get the money you need to travel. Plus, you won’t have to worry about your house while you’re away.
Let’s say you have a house worth $250,000, and the amount left to be paid off on your mortgage is $175,000. Once you sell your house, you’d be left with as much as $75,000 cash to pay for several months or even years of family travel.
But if house prices are likely to rise in your area, or you don’t feel comfortable getting rid of your house, then there’s a better way to fund your long-term family travel dreams.
3 Reasons Why it Might Not be a Good Idea to Sell Your House to Travel
1) If house prices are likely to rise where you live, keeping yours allows you to keep an asset that is likely to continue to increase in value while we’re away.
2) Keeping your house provides you with FREE STORAGE for the stuff you’re not selling, which can save you money.
3) If you sell your house, and need to re-purchase a home in a year or more, prices might have risen and you won’t be able to buy as much house for your money compared to what you had before. Keeping your house solves this problem nicely. (In our case, we don’t plan on coming back to the 9-5 rat race. Ever. But we’re not going to sell our house, for the reasons I’ve listed. I sleep better at night knowing we have a backup plan for re-entry into suburbia. Just in case.)
Strategy #6: Refinance Your House
If your mortgage is coming up for renewal soon, and you have it partially paid off, you may qualify to refinance your home and pull some money out of it.
It goes something like this:
Let’s say you have $150,000 left to pay off on your family home which is worth $300,000. That means you have $150,000 in paid-off value (equity).
Your bank will have a minimum value that they’ll want you to have in equity (this is why they require a cash downpayment when you buy a house in the first place.) This minimum value will vary depending on the bank, but it will likely be somewhere around 20%.
So, if your house is worth $300,000, and the bank wants 20% equity to be left in the property, that means the most that they will lend you is 80% of the value in the form of a mortgage ($240,000). But you have already paid off $150,000. In this example, that would mean that if you refinanced that house, the bank would give you a new mortgage for $240,000, and send you a cheque for $90,000 (ie. $240,000 – $150,000).
Boom! Just like that you have $90,000 cash to fund some long-term family travel!
At this point, you can budget to make the mortgage payments while you’re away with that $90,000, and use the leftovers for your travel fund.
Or, and this is my favourite strategy, you rent out your house while you’re away traveling.
Renting Out Your Family Home
We are not selling our house. We’re going to rent it out and hire a property manager to take care of things while we’re traveling. We have a lot of experience in being a landlord, so we’re confident that this could work for us. The scary part for us is giving up control since we’ll have to entrust the day-to-day management of our home and tenants to a someone else. But given a choice between long-term family travel or staying home to babysit our house, we choose travel!
(If you have a mortgage, the rent you get from your house should cover the payments while you’re away. If your house is paid off, the rent you get from your house is income you can spend on your travels!)
Since I like to have multiple financial safety nets, we also opened a line of credit that we could use in the event of an emergency. If we don’t use the line of credit, we pay no interest. But if we need it, we’ll have access to cheap cash on moment’s notice. I’m not suggesting one should go out willy nilly and spend all that money. But I see it as a good “emergency fund”. You can never have too many back-up plans.
Generally speaking the interest rate on a line of credit will be a much lower
rate than the interest rate you’d pay to carry a balance on your credit cards.
Hence, I call a line of credit “cheap cash.”
You know that free storage advantage I mentioned?
You can still do this if you rent out your house.
In our case, we have 3 rooms in the basement that we will keep our non-valuable possessions in (things like furniture, extra clothing, kitchenware etc.) We’ll put a lock on the door to discourage snooping. Any truly valuable items or sensitive personal information will be kept with a trusted family member since we’re not comfortable leaving that stuff in our house with a stranger.
So What Do You Think?
Do any of these sound like something you can do?
Comment below – it would make my day, and I’d love to hear your thoughts!