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Freelance Writers: How to Travel for at Least 3 Months at a Time & Keep Your Earnings Consistent

The what I call “on the go season” is upon us. I know many are still stuck in snow and ice, but spring officially arrives tomorrow and before you know it, you’ll be digging out those shorts, bikinis and flip flops. And many of you can’t wait to hit the road. I know the feeling all too well! 🙂

For the last five years now, I’ve been not only travelling, but travelling away from my main residence for months at a time. Travelling like this is a different beast altogether than going away for a few days, a week or a few weeks at a time.

Over the years, I’ve received plenty of emails from freelance writers who want to do this. So following are 10 tips on how to make that dream a reality. It’s not nearly as complicated or financially impossible as you may think – especially if you select an affordable destination, which brings me to my first tip.

Ready, Set, Go! Travel Advice for Freelance Writers Who Want to Hit the Road for a While

I. Destination

The globe is full of places to go, and you can see all of them cheaply – but it takes some skill to learn how to travel the world and get free accommodations (this is a great travel blog I found and fell in love with).

So I recommend choosing a place where the cost of living is cheap for you. As housing will be your biggest expense, if you can get this under control, you’re half way to being able to be on the road for long stretches of time on a budget.

II. Research

Use social media to do as much research as you can on places you’re thinking about visiting. Ask for first-hand info on things like where to stay, how much it costs, where to eat, crime, what the people are really like, language barriers, etc.

Read blog posts of those who’ve actually been where you want to go – don’t rely on just the word of travel articles you find in big-name publications; go to a source like you.

III. Get Home Base Covered

Start planning at least 3 to 6 months out for things like who’s going to get your mail, cut your grass, house sit, crank your car, check on your house/apartment, water your plants, etc.

IV. Travel Budget

This is very, very, very important. When I travel, I like to set a weekly spending budget. And err on the side of over-estimating because when you’re away, you just naturally spend more money – especially if you’re new to travelling.

How to Work and Live Abroad from the Caribbean: It’s Easier Than You Think to Make the Move to an Island ParadiseEven though you may rent a place with cooking facilities, don’t kid yourself that you’re going to grocery shop like you’re at home and cook every day. It just won’t happen. Trust me on this.

After all, the whole point of travelling is to see stuff, so you’ll be out more – which means spending more money.

What Your Travel Budget Should Include

Besides food and lodging, some things your travel budget should cover are:

Tourist Attractions/Activities: eg, museums, plays, sporting activities, massages, etc.

Gifts: You’d be amazed at how even things like a t-shirt here and a body oil there will add up.

Gotta Have: Have you ever been to a foreign land (or different city) and spot something unique to that place that you just “have to have?” Well that’s what I mean.

Charity: For example, I visit Jamaica a lot, where there is a lot of poverty. And sometimes I come out of pocket for things like drinks for new friends I meet; food for an elderly person I see all the time and have gotten attached to; donations to food drives; etc.

Emergencies: I’ve had an emergency root canal done here in Jamaica, as well as had to visit a doctor once for an infection I got from a bug bite. I had to pay for the visit, as well as medication.

Also, what if you lose your passport, or have your cell phone stolen, or your digital camera breaks? I call these types of expenses “accidental emergencies.”

When you’re away and living on a defined budget, every penny counts. That’s why, IMO, whatever your travel budget is — 10% of it should be slotted for emergencies.

V. Check Your Equipment

As in, make sure you have a reliable laptop/iPad … whatever device you use to get your writing done. Pack an extra battery for when you’re working in places where you can’t plug up.

If you can afford it, take an extra laptop or device you can work on just in case something happens to your main computer/laptop/iPad. Depending on where you go, replacing a dead computer/laptop/iPad can be much more expensive than where you live, so just keep this in mind.

VI. Reliable Wi-Fi

Wherever you stay, make sure it has internet, or that internet is close by and easily accessible. Gain more insight about this here.

VII. Back Up

I recommend using a cloud-based service to save your files instead of, for example, an external hard drive. Why? Because those things aren’t nearly as reliable.

My Experience with an External Hard Drive

I bought one to store my files once. I accidentally dropped it. When I did, I was never able to access my files. I had no idea they were so fragile. I mean, I dropped it on a wood floor, not concrete; it wasn’t slammed, nothing dropped on top of it – it simply slipped from my hand and voila – no more access to files.

I now use Carbonite as my backup system. If something happens to my laptop, all my files are still there. It back stuff up constantly throughout the day, so I never lose any work.

VIII: Schedule Work

Get on a regular work schedule as soon as you can after you get settled. It’ll make it that much easier to meet and beat deadlines, and still have fun without feeling stressed.

IX: Schedule Fun

Yep, schedule it. Why? Because you probably won’t be able to do any and everything. Those day trips, attraction fees and personal indulgences you want (eg, massage) cost. But if you schedule some things you definitely want to do before you leave home – and cost them out – then you can plan for them, budget for them … and fully enjoy them.

And still get your work done, which keeps your income steady. And speaking of …

X: Sign up for PayPal

Or a like online payment processing system (eg, AlertPay, Amazon Payments, Google Wallet, etc.). Over the last couple of years, I’ve had only two clients pay via check – and I convinced one of them to sign up to PayPal (I’m still working on the other one!).

Conclusion

One of the things I love about being a freelance writer is that I can work on the go – and get paid on the go. The beauty of this is, with a constant supply of funds coming in, you can extend your trip (if you want); do more activities, or simply rest easy knowing that your income doesn’t stop … just because you go!

Share Your Thoughts

Have you traveled for more than a few days at a time as a freelance writer? What travel tips can you share? Please do so in the comments section below … and happy trails!

DSC05420P.S.: Fun (and work) in the sun — train for a career as a highly paid online / SEO writer in Negril Jamaica.

–>Deadline fast approaching.
–>Limited enrollment.
–>One past student said:

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS COURSE AND YOUR BLOG. I really enjoy this work. … I finally feel like I’m tapping into something fresh, exciting and new and not just another hustle to pay the bills. [And] Thanks for being so THOROUGH [in your feedback of my course work]! It is very helpful (especially regarding niches and rates)! … Your class was worth every penny!~TS

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