And there is no one answer. Every family or individual has a different approach to their budget and logistics and of course each set of circumstances is different.
Saying that, I thought I would share some of the common responses to ease the minds of those who are sitting there wishing they too could afford to get out there and see the world with their family. What works for some won’t necessarily work for others, but this list is definitely a great place to start.
Having a nest egg to fall back on is always helpful and many families literally tighten the purse strings and save, save, save. They then sit down and work out a budget, calculating how far $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 will get them, and take it from there. Some take years to save, but with hard work and dedication it is possible.
2. Sell your assets or business
As scary as it sounds, many families literally sell their homes, business or cars and set off to see the world. Of course for many this may not work as there is no security to come back when (if) you eventually do return; however for others returning to their previous lifestyle is not all it is cracked up to be.
3. Teaching English abroad
I have personally done this one and can vouch for it as a method to stay abroad for a lengthy period of time. If you Google TEFL or TESOL courses in your local area, there will be no shortage of suppliers. Sit the course and then apply for suitable posts in the country of your choice. The wage of course may not be on par with what you may earn back in the USA or Australia (or wherever you may happen to hail from), but it should enable you to live well enough in whatever country you end up in. Or at the very least supplement some of your stay or travels.
4. Volunteer abroad
While many volunteer programs these days charge for you to volunteer, sites like www.helpx.net and www.wwoof.net are making it easier to find suitable farm and hostel stays in exchange for your services. It is certainly worth having a browse and seeing what is available. Many will not accept children so check first before you apply.
Websites like www.trustedhousesitters.com, www.aussiehousesitters.com.au, www.mindmyhouse.com and www.housecarers.com, as well as others, are paving the way forward for free house-sit and pet-sit opportunities. Search your destination, check your availability and apply. Accommodation can be one of the more expensive aspects of travel, so if you can score free housing, even just for part of the trip, you can save a small fortune.
6. Couch surfing
Couch surfing of course is another option whereby the accommodation is free – again search your destination and see who is hosting in that area. Websites like www.couchsurfing.com and www.bewelcome.com are helpful in this area. Again this can enable you to save quite a bit of money especially in those destinations where accommodation does not come cheap and the locals may be able to help you cut corners on those travel bills as well.
7. Renting out the family home
For those who don’t wish to sell their home or property, renting it out is also another great option. Provided the money is not all going on paying off a mortgage, you may find that the money can help sustain quite a large portion of your travel.
8. House swap
Doing a house swap is of course another consideration – you can look to swap with another family for a designated period of time and set out to explore a new national or international destination.
Many travellers are bloggers and earn some form of income from their blogs or travelogues. Don’t expect however just to start a blog and earn a substantial income immediately. There are many income streams which can be sourced from a blog or website such as through the sale of e-books, advertising, travel articles, affiliate links through companies such as Amazon, etc.
Photography, writing (in any form), graphic design, website design or jobs in the computing industry are great mobile careers which can be done from anywhere. There are many options in these five careers alone. You can take photographs and sell them either through your own personal website or through stock websites. You can write for yourself (see blogging) or for clients. I personally am a ghostwriter and e-book publisher and usually can cover a few bills as we go. Graphic design, website design and computing work can usually be done remotely from the office and you can choose whether you wish to operate on a freelance basis or for one centrally located organisation. These careers in particular are very popular for those who wish to work on the road and earn an income.
11. Sales roles or other online business opportunities
Sales positions can generally be done from anywhere provided you have a telephone and/or the internet. As long as the work is done, it doesn’t really matter where in the world you are permanently located.
12. Travel on the pension
Many people choose to use their pension for international travel particularly as a little can go a long way in many countries these days depending on whether you wish to cut corners or budget as you go.
13. Fundraising or crowdfunding
Depending on what you are doing, you might find a crowdfunding or fundraising campaign helpful, particularly if you are looking to invest in a certain project or are heading off to volunteer, and you think people will be particularly supportive of your plans. At the very least, you don’t know until you try.
14. Create a business
Would you consider starting a business in your destination of choice to help supplement an income? We did this with a B&B in Cusco, Peru for a period of 12 months and have known others to do the same. Of course don't limit yourself to accommodation, there are many other choices including travel, retail, teaching, computing, etc.
15. Mission work
Members of churches and missions can get support from their parish or group to help fundraise their trip to go abroad and help local communities in a variety of ways.
16. All or any of the above
A combination of the items listed above – many people use multiple streams of income to support their travel, choosing to not rely on purely one income opportunity.
Note there is no right or wrong way, just whatever works for you.
If you have any more to add to the list, let me know, and I will look to make this as helpful a resource as possible.