Can Travel be Cheaper than Staying at Home?
We are spending a few days in Quito, the capitol of Ecuador. We are here to not only visit one of our favorite cities, but to visit the embassies of Bolivia and Brazil in order to apply for visas so that we can visit those countries (which took several days and deserves it’s own post). Also, since it is the end of the month and we are working on our finances, we would like to take this time to share some photos of this great city and answer some of your questions.
Some of our friends and blog followers have asked us how we can afford to travel like we are doing. They think that we must be rich or have recently won the lottery. The truth is that we have found that we are spending less money traveling than we do living at home. And, what we are doing is not unique, you can do it too.
Our goal, is to travel, live better and save more than if we lived at home. It also wouldn’t hurt to put a little excitement back into our lives.
Other than to plan our first destination, a one way ticket to Cartagena, Colombia, our plan has been to have no plan. We will go where and when we feel like it. We did make a list of things we wanted to see and do in the areas we are visiting, we just don’t know when we will see and do them. We also have no plan on how long we will do this. Our only goal is to circumnavigate the world at least once, slowly.
One of the reasons we began our journey is our love of travel. We wanted to see the world while we were still healthy enough to visit the places that we have always dreamed of and to pursue our hobbies like photography, hiking and scuba diving.
We also knew that if we did it right, we would be able to travel long term while still supporting our children who are still in college.
We have been researching and reading blogs for the past two years. International Living is a good place to start. We have been reading stories of other Americans now living abroad. For some, moving overseas has allowed them to retire early, or lead a better life on less money than they spend in the United States. Many are able to live a higher standard of living than in the United States only on their social security payments.
We have read about people who have left the United States because of the high cost of healthcare and housing. They didn’t have enough money for living expenses much less money left over for travel. Some just leave for the weather or just for the sense of adventure. There are as many reasons for living outside the United States as there are people who travel.That is why all of these stories were so interesting to read.
There are tens of thousands of Americans doing the same thing we are doing. Reading these stories and blogs gave us the courage and often times the information to follow in their footsteps.
While we waited for everything to fall into place for our travels we took little steps towards our dream. We planned and researched everything from destinations, travel insurance, cell plans, internet security software, banking, travel apps, etc.
The last piece of the puzzle fell into place when we sold off some of our acreage at our home. This allowed us to pay off all of our debts. With our retirement income we are able to keep up with our bills at home and have enough money, (if managed properly) to travel long term, without using any of our retirement savings.
Our plan is to spend the majority of the year in places that the cost of living is less expensive than the United States. By doing this, we can take a few months to travel to destinations that are considerably more expensive. Living at home, all of this would have been out of our reach.
We have been on the road for nine weeks now. Our total spending averages $105 a day. This includes all of our expenses; food, transport (planes, taxis, buses), gifts, entertainment, travel insurance, visas, shipping, laundry, personal expenses, gratuities, etc.
So no we did not win the lottery, we just decided to live our dream. It took a bit of time between that mental leap and the physical one. We hope this answers some of your questions. If it didn’t, tomorrow we will write about some of the tools that have helped us on our travels.
We would like to thank all of those ex-pats and travel writers who took the time to share their stories, as it really did inspire us to take this leap. We hope that our blog is way to pay it forward and to maybe inspire others to think outside the box when it comes to living a better life on less money than it takes to live in the United States.