This is sometimes a difficult topic to bring up and ask people, especially those you have recently met. There is no one answer to how to finance your world schooling, as you can imagine. The list is as long as there are jobs in the world. This holds true for the budget also. You tend to spend what you have, although some spend more, some less. This is one thing that makes us all unique. But if you’re committed to world schooling, there’s a way!!!
Common ways to finance travel:
Sell a house
Rent out your house while you are gone
Sell a business
Run a business remotely
Sell “everything you own” including cars, thus alleviating car insurance and other ancillary bills also
Tap into retirement funds with the concept that you only live once, but realizing that you are compromising your future plan
Save, live below your means, set aside a planned amount of money each month, make a budget and meet or exceed your expectations
Travel part of the year and return to work the other part of the year
Work remotely, often via internet or phone.
Work where you settle
Detailed look at each of the items on that list:
1) Sell a house
This one is pretty obvious. If you sell your home and have proceeds, you may choose to head out on an adventure with the extra money. Be careful to realize that it’s a set amount and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Then you return with no home and no savings unless you plan accordingly. Also, don’t forget the government likes a share of any big sale, so you may owe taxes on capital gains at the end of the year. But this can often be a nice source of a nest egg with which to travel if you plan well and are aware of the downsides.
2) Rent out your house while you are gone
If you are able to have a house that you can rent for more than the mortgage, you can take the excess income and use it as your travel money. Be careful to plan for contingencies – what if the tenants move out or quit paying rent? What if repairs are needed at the property (ie. Plumbing leak, AC repair, etc)? This is a nice option if it is available because you always have the comfort of knowing you have a back up savings and/or a home base to return to. The downside is definitely trying to manage a rental remotely. If you have enough cushion, a local property management company can sometimes alleviate some of the stresses of remote management.
3) Sell a business
This is a unique set of people in this position, but I’ve met a number of them out traveling. Fortunate entrepreneurs who have liquidated a business and are able to live off of the proceeds. Hats off to you. You don’t need my advice here. If you own a business that you’d like to sell, often the buyer is a larger company doing what you do on a larger scale that would like to expand. Maybe another entrepreneur who wants to step into a turn key operation? Make contacts, get the word out that you’re open to offers, and see what comes your way
4) Run a business remotely
This can be a steady stream of income, but can also be a steady stream of stress and worry. Nobody runs your business the way you would do it yourself. Sometimes you’re fortunate enough to meet an office manager who takes ownership and runs the business for you. Consider giving this person a percentage of the proceeds or something like that so that they are vested in the financial wellness and success of the business. But often times if you have a brick and mortar business (not online) you will find you need to go home to manage it and keep a finger on the pulse of it throughout your travels. But if you’re successful at it, you may be able to have a monthly income while traveling.
5) Sell “everything you own”
This is often the story you hear of world schoolers, they’ve sold everything they own for a life of learning on the road. It’s romantic and gives that sound of “all in” and “committed.” The upside of it is that you’ve now eliminated almost every bill that comes with being alive!! No cell phone bills, utilities, internet, insurances, mortgages, car payments, or any of that!! It’s soooo freeing!!! Then you don’t have to be checking the mail, managing accounts, mailing payments, and other distractions. Cons of course being that you have no investments, no ability to be contacted, not receiving payments or rents or anything, and have nothing to go back to. If this lifestyle isn’t for you, you have to start at the very beginning to start over.
6) Tap into retirement funds early
Not a highly recommended option due to the obvious financial setback that it incurs. But then again, if you have kids in or entering teen years, they may only be with you for a little bit longer before they are on their own. Maybe they’re making poor life decisions, lacking motivation or inspiration, have the wrong group of friends, etc. It may be a commitment that you as a parent needs to take seriously and act on NOW. If you feel that your child really needs a new setting, new parameters, and a new lease on life, it may be worth it!
7) Save a little each month
While not glamourous, this is how most world schoolers make it happen. They have downsized their lifestyle to broaden their horizons. Skip the morning latte at the coffee shop. Don’t eat out. Get out from under your mortgage, pay it off aggressively, sell it and buy something smaller, but affordable. Get an older car so you pay less in both car payments and insurance. Look into a minimalist lifestyle. Pick a budget and stick to it. Set aside a given amount each month into a separate account which is not to be touched. This will be easier if you’ve already downsized. But we tend to spend what we have available to us, so set aside this money as if it were paying a bill and cannot be interfered with. For all the consumer and creature comforts available in our world, many world schoolers have traded those in for a more simple and fulfilling existence. Of course there’s a huge range here of what people are willing to sacrifice and what they gain. Your family will find it’s sweet spot, sometimes after the pendulum has swung a couple of times.
8) Part time traveling
This is a great option for people with seasonal jobs or those who want their kids to have some traditional school and some experiential learning. Maybe you ARE a school teacher, but when your kids are off for the summer, you want to do something meaningful with them. You don’t have to travel full time to benefit from experiences. Consider renting out your house, or doing Air BnB with it. Maybe do a house swap with a family in one of your favorite destinations. There are so many options these days and we are more connected than ever. I hope you can use this site to make connections with like minded families to find win-win situations!! Usually you will save up during the year in anticipati on of the time that you will spend traveling unless you have a mobile job or your pay is evenly distributed over the months regardless of hours at work.
9) Work remotely
This is a huge category as the internet is becoming more and more widespread and more and more powerful of a resource. Find your niche!! Are you trained in IT, advertising, or sales? Can you write, blog? Can you sell stories to magazines or online newsletters? Maybe you are going to write a book about your journey to publish? Do you make jewelry, carvings, or crafts that you can sell in an Etsy or Ebay shop or on Craigslist? Maybe you can import something from your area of travel and sell it at a local swap meet or farmer’s market? Often accountants can work from home, they can be sent the numbers and compile them into forms from the comfort of their own “home”. Look at your skill set, be creative, create your “niche.” There are many blog posts about this option if you choose to do more research. Consider checking out fiverr.com, weworkremotely.com, freelancer.com, peopleperhour.co.uk or upwork.com.
10) Work where you travel
This is the ultimate in integration. Many Asian countries are looking for native english speakers to teach English and prepare for the TEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or ESL (English as a Second Language)? They may even provide room and board! The WWOOF movement is hooking up organic farmers with workers. You can work in almost any country in the world except for a few with political discourse or infertile soils. Also look into WorkAway which arranges employment in world class country clubs. You can get reciprical work visas in many countries, especially if you come with a particular set of training or skills that are in need, engineering and healthcare for instance. Do you do boat repairs, set yourself up near a marina and put up flyers. You can house sit where you travel and care for plants and animals while the people are away in exchange for rent and utilities. So while you still need money for food, a major expense is offset by the “work”. There are many options, but consider Trusted House Sitters, Care.com, HouseCarers, House Sit Match, and Rover.com. If you settle some place for awhile, usually you can set up a babysitting service, especially if you are caring for your own children, and the families will appreciate the international “flare” you bring. You can sign up to be an Au Pair, in which you usually commit to a year of service caring for a family’s children. Often the positions are live in, you if you are single, this will work great and you’ll save money. But if you’re traveling with a family, you may need to have an agreement with your host family, live in your own accommodations (consider housesitting) and make sure you show up on time. Agencies include Au Pair Care and Go Au Pair and Cultural Care Au Pair. If you need to have steady work in order to make this a reality, look at your native country’s opportunities. If you are from America, you can work in American Samoa and travel the South Pacific or consider Puerto Rico. If you are EU, there are many reciprocal agreements, and don’t overlook French Polynesia and New Caledonia as well as some African countries.
11) Finally, consult
If you have a particular skill set of knowledge base, you can work as a consultant around the world. Are you able to help start up businesses through the rough patches? Maybe you know how to optimize a business. Are you an expert at beekeeping or honey making? Do you know how to set up septic or sewer systems? Often these people have worked full time in an industry and are now able to apply their skills when they need to pick up extra income.