I recently got back from a month-long trip in Central America. We spent four weeks traveling in Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, soaking up the sun and warm weather and skipping out on a small part of Berlin’s winter. Whenever we talked to other travelers, many were surprised that we were traveling for so long. So how do I make money online and travel so much each year?
I travel a lot
If you live in the US, you probably have 2 or 3 weeks vacation. In Europe, you probably have 4 to 6 weeks off a year. This has never felt like enough for me, so I’ve managed to carve out a life that doesn’t restrict me to a certain number of vacation days.
I’ve been working for myself for a few years now, so I don’t have to get vacation time approved. As long as I have the money for it and I’m still making time for my work, I can pretty much travel whenever I want. Also, I’m a travel blogger, so leaving home and going to see other places is part of the job.
Over the past few years, I’ve traveled at least 7 weeks per year, some years as much as 4 months of travel throughout the year. Shorter trips are usually vacation-only, but on longer trips, like when we spent the winter in Pisa and Sevilla, I worked almost as much as I would at home.
A major reason why I can travel so much is because I make it a priority. It’s important to me, so I make choices that reflect that. A big part of this is how I spend my money.
I don’t go clothes shopping often. I own what I need, and not much more. I don’t buy new clothing unless I really need something, and I pretty much wear the same pair of shoes all the time. I don’t buy shoes or purses or really anything else unless I really need to either.
This is not to say I’m overly frugal, or that I don’t have any fun when I’m not traveling. Andy and I go out to eat at least once a week, often more than that. Especially when I’m looking for new restaurants for my Berlin International Restaurant Project. Sometimes I’ll meet a friend at a cafe to hang out, or we’ll go to a meetup and have a few drinks.
But almost every purchase gets pitted against travel. I ask myself, do I really need this? How much travel could I get from the money I’m considering spending? Would I enjoy this shirt/purse/kitchen gadget as much as I’d enjoy a trip to Cyprus or Kosovo?
Usually the answer is no, I don’t need it. If you want to travel more, you have to make it a priority. If you enjoy shoes or purses more than travel, that’s fine. But it’s good to know what’s important to you and make sure that aligns with where you spend your money.
Making money online from my blogs
Earning my income online is a big part of how I can travel as much as I do. If I was still working at an office job, I’d have to stick to their rules of when I could take time off and how much time off I’d get. Here’s how I earn money from my blogs.
Advertising on my blogs: Advertising is currently the biggest source of income for me. From what I’ve read, this isn’t most bloggers’ experience, but it’s working well for me. I use a combination of an ad network called AdThrive, Google Adsense, and Amazon’s CPM ads. In some ways, making money from advertising is less work. But I do still have to keep writing useful posts and making sure I still get traffic to the site.
Affiliate commission: I earn affiliate commission when someone clicks on certain links and then buys something. Most often it’s through Amazon, so you might click on luggage I recommend for carry-on travel or this solid bug repellent I love, and if you buy that item or anything else on Amazon within 24 hours, I get a small commission.
Also, the price stays the same for you or whoever is buying through the affiliate link. I also have no idea who is buying things through my affiliate links. So if someone buys an X-rated item on Amazon (yes, it’s happened), I only see what was purchased, not who bought it or where the sale came from.
>>Learn how to start a blog!
Other location independent ways I make money
I love earning money through blogging. It’s where most of my income comes from, and it gives me a lot of freedom and flexibility. But I also make money in other ways that don’t include my websites and also don’t require me to be in a specific location.
Virtual assistant (VA) contracts: Almost two years ago, I started working as a blog assistant for another site. Then a few months ago I took on a second client, and just recently, a third. I do things like edit and format guest posts, schedule social media, make Pinterest images, and more. This is work I can do from anywhere, as long as I have internet, so technically I can work from the road if I want to. But these days, I usually choose not to work while traveling.
Freelance writing: I don’t enjoy pitching article ideas to magazines, so I’ve never put enough effort into freelance writing to be successful with it. A few years ago I had an ongoing gig that sent me loads of work every month, but that dried up about a year ago. Now I write the occasional article but I don’t go out of my way for it. For perspective, I only earned $1,370 from freelance writing in 2016.
So that’s how I make money online and travel up to 4 months a year.
It’s not easy, and I’ve worked hard to get to where I am now. But I enjoy most of what I do, and the reward is a lifestyle that allows me much more freedom, flexibility, and time to travel.
You might also enjoy:
- How Much Money I Make Online: Income Report January 2017
- How to Start a Successful Blog
- On Living a Non-Traditional Life
- Non-Traditional Interviews: Full-Time Travel with a Dog